Reflections on six years of cardiology and research training at Augusta University

Uzoma N. Ibebuogu, MD, FACC, FSCA FSCAI Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiovascular Disease Department of Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Reflecting on my six years of postgraduate residency training at Augusta University Health, the words “privilege” and “honor” describe my experience during that time in my life. I was ecstatic upon acceptance into the internal medicine residency program because of the strong foundation and rich history this particular program possesses. Following my internal medicine residency training, I continued my studies for the general cardiology fellowship training program. The decision to pursue this training became cognizant by all of the qualities that made the program exceptional. A conducive learning environment combined with cosmopolitan faculty provided the first-class training for which Augusta University Health is renowned.

This esteemed faculty included Dr. Vincent Robinson, the efficient and tireless program director, who fashioned a collegial learning environment; Dr. Deepak Kapoor inspired my interest in interventional cardiology; Drs. Mahendra Mandawat, Vishal Arora, Susan Noe and Hossain Alavi all carried a gentle approach to catheterization laboratory education, and their training nurtured my interest in the field.

Drs. John Thornton, Gyanendra Sharma and Joe Calkins enriched my knowledge of general cardiology. Drs. Sorrentino and Berman, sufficiently increased my understanding of cardiac electrophysiology; Dr. Guy Reed provided me with exposure to cardiology basic science and translational research, as well as other faculty and support staff who played a role in my cardiology education.

The collegial environment, camaraderie among cardiology fellows both inside and outside the hospital and the warm welcoming atmosphere in the city of Augusta all added to an excellent experience. Cardiology fellows routinely participated in social activities outside of Augusta University Health that fostered good relationships. The daily noon conferences by the fellows contributed immensely to the quality and depth of the training.

Drs. Amin Yehya, Uzoma Ibebuogu, Vincent J.B. Robinson, and Vishal Arora at the Kimmerling MCG Faculty and Graduate Cardiovascular Showcase 2016

My three years in cardiology training at Augusta University Health, without doubt, prepared me for my interventional and structural heart disease training at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)/Cedars- Sinai Medical Center program. The robust cardiac catheterization laboratory training at Augusta University Health offered a progressive, supervised operator independence and efficient feedback from the faculty also prepared me for the interventional and structural heart disease training program at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

After my advanced fellowship came an appointment as faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center along with director of the structural heart disease program at the Methodist University Hospital.

I have been actively involved in the transcatheter aortic valve therapeutics, transcatheter closure of atrial and post myocardial infarction ventricular septal defects, and mitral valvuloplasties. I presently oversee a successful academic and clinical program, all made possible by the strong foundation laid during my training. My cardiology training also prepared me for a career in clinical research, one of the cornerstones of Augusta University Health’s cardiology fellowship training, thanks mostly to Drs. Robinson and Reed.