New Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program Launches in California

Partnership between UC Riverside’s School of Medicine and Dignity Health - St. Bernardine Medical Center addresses shortage of cardiologists in inland Southern California

Offering the most advanced technology, techniques and facilities, St. Bernardine Medical Center’s renowned brand of heart care is delivered by highly skilled and compassionate physicians and staff committed to making every heart a top priority. Photo credit: Dignity Health – St. Bernardine Medical Center.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of California, Riverside has announced the launch of a new cardiovascular fellowship program, sponsored by the university’s School of Medicine and based at Dignity Health – St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino, Calif. The three-year fellowship, which begins July 1, 2016, will provide accepted applicants a clinical learning environment and rigorous, comprehensive training in cardiovascular medicine.

Funded currently for three years, the program aims at training physicians to be competent and compassionate practitioners in cardiovascular medicine. Fellows accepted in the program will learn also to exercise evidence-based practice.  Areas of training to be covered in rotations include preventive cardiovascular medicine, echocardiography, vascular medicine, cardiac catheterization, heart failure, critical care cardiology and congenital heart disease.

“We have an acute shortage of cardiovascular clinicians in inland Southern California,” said Gerald Maguire, MD, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, the chair of the psychiatry program and the interim designated institutional officer of graduate medical education at UC Riverside. “The School of Medicine’s goal is to train and recruit our very own doctors so they stay and practice in our area and contribute to the overall health of the community. This fellowship program is part of a long-term plan we have developed to meet this goal.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, killing more than 600,000 people each year. Riverside and San Bernardino counties have some of the highest age-adjusted heart disease mortalities in California. One factor exacerbating the shortage of cardiologists in these counties is that their current generation of cardiologists is approaching retirement.

Dr. Gerald Maguire is the chair of the psychiatry program and the interim designated institutional officer of graduate medical education at UC Riverside. Photo credit: School of Medicine, UC Riverside.

Dr. Gerald Maguire is the chair of the psychiatry program and the interim designated institutional officer of graduate medical education at UC Riverside. Photo credit: School of Medicine, UC Riverside.

“The way we practice cardiology is changing as well,” explained Ramdas G. Pai, MD, the director of the cardiology fellowship program at St. Bernardine Medical Center, who will oversee the fellowship program. “Patients are older, with a multitude of problems.  For many of these patients, a multidisciplinary approach is needed, oftentimes requiring more than one specialist per patient.”

As a result, Pai is delighted to be directing a new generation of cardiologists in an innovative program that will train graduates to practice competently in a multidisciplinary setting and maximize continuity of care.

“This fellowship program provides excellent clinical and investigational training by a committed faculty, and is aimed directly at addressing the shortage of cardiologists in inland Southern California,” said Pai, who also is a professor of medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

Four fellows will be accepted into the program each year for three consecutive years. Once accepted into the program a fellow will train for three years.  The program has been approved to accept 12 fellows in total.

While currently based at St. Bernardine Medical Center, the program eventually may include other UCR-affiliated institutions to provide greater diversity in training.

Applicants to the fellowship program need to be licensed or eligible for licensure in California by the start of the fellowship cycle.

Dr. Ramdas Pai is the director of the cardiology fellowship program at St. Bernardine Medical Center. Photo credit: Ross French, UC Riverside.

Dr. Ramdas Pai is the director of the cardiology fellowship program at St. Bernardine Medical Center. Photo credit: Ross French, UC Riverside.

“The mission of our School of Medicine includes having more medical specialty programs for our students,” Maguire said. “This new cardiovascular fellowship program addresses this goal. Without such fellowships, many of the graduates we train could leave inland Southern California and not return to serve our region.  We are looking now into a psychiatry partnership through one of the hospitals affiliated with our school.”

The UCR School of Medicine will graduate its first class of students in 2017.  The mission of the school is to improve the health of the people of California and, especially, to serve inland Southern California by training a diverse workforce of physicians and by developing innovative research and health care delivery programs that will improve the health of the medically underserved in the region and become models to be emulated throughout the state and nation.

Serving the health care needs of the people of the Inland Empire since 1931, Dignity Health – St. Bernardine Medical Center is a 342-bed, nonprofit, tertiary acute care hospital. It offers a full continuum of services, from family care to heart surgery, treating an average of 72,000 individuals in the Emergency Department, delivering 2,100 babies and admitting more than 17,000 patients for treatment each year.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Additional Contacts

Kathy Barton, UCR School of Medicine
Tel: (951) 827-4598
E-mail: kathryn.barton@ucr.edu

Stephanie Johnson, Dignity Health - St. Bernardine Medical Center
Tel: (909) 806-1995
E-mail: stephanie.johnson3@dignityhealth.org

Archived under: Health, Inside UCR, , , , , , , , , ,

Top of Page