Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

GI Education Programs Provide Unparalleled Learning Opportunities for Trainees

March 6, 2024 - Eden McCleskey

The Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders was founded in 2013 thanks to a generous gift from Houston philanthropists. Their goals for the center were to be:

  • Dedicated to the delivery of integrated care across digestive disorder specialties.
  • Committed to clinical and translational research.
  • Devoted to GI education and training of health care practitioners, students, patients and their families.


Through the integration of gastroenterologists, thoracic, gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, colorectal and metabolic surgeons, transplant hepatologists, radiologists, oncologists and pathologists, Houston Methodist provides exceptional breadth and depth of expertise for both patients and trainees who will become the GI clinicians, researchers and leaders of the future.

GI Fellowship Program

In 2014, the Underwood Center launched a three-year GI fellowship program. The program initially accepted two new fellows each year, then increased to three in 2019. To date, 12 fellows have completed the program.

During their time at Houston Methodist, fellows are exposed to every aspect of gastrointestinal care. They participate in a large volume of complex cases, and lead both clinical and translational research focused on some of the toughest challenges in digestive diseases.

"I am really proud to offer such a well-rounded program to our fellows, where they can learn from very complicated cases, and go into the world as the next generation of leaders in subspecialty care," said Dr. Bincy Abraham, director of the GI Fellowship Program at Houston Methodist.

Transplant Hepatology Fellowship Program

The advanced transplant hepatology fellowship — a one-year program for Houston Methodist GI fellows or physicians who have recently completed a GI fellowship elsewhere — was established in 2022.

Under the leadership of director Dr. David Victor, the program's goal is to train new physicians to become skilled, evidence-based and innovative experts in this growing field.

Peer Education

Chaired by gastroenterologist Dr. Alberto Barroso, a weekly CME-accredited multidisciplinary gastrointestinal conference is the longest-running clinical conference at Houston Methodist Hospital.

With active participation from medical students, residents and fellows, medical and surgical teams present interesting and challenging cases to their peers each week.

  • Clinicians participate in a monthly CME-accredited Houston GI Motility Conference, comprised of physicians from Houston Methodist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Memorial Hermann Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital, during which they discuss cases and clinical issues.
  • Quarterly meetings with the Texas Gulf Coast GI Society encompass all GI fellowship programs and practicing gastroenterologists in the Greater Houston and Galveston areas.
  • A CME-accredited, inter-institutional monthly IBD case conference featuring radiology, pathology, colorectal surgery and gastroenterology experts from local institutions provides input and insight into challenging cases presented by the teams.


Underwood Symposium

Initiated in 2015, the Underwood Symposium invites speakers from across North America who, together with Houston Methodist's own gastroenterologists, oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists, showcase clinical and research activity from the last year.

A hands-on component is presented at the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIE) to introduce trainees to advanced diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic techniques and technology in the areas of mucosal ablation and resection, tissue closure, intraluminal stenting, gastroesophageal reflux and ERCP. Participants learn to:

  • Demonstrate proper technique for endoscopic mucosal resection using multiple methods.
  • Describe important principles of electrosurgical energy as applied in the GI tract.
  • Demonstrate the use of rescue strategies for GI bleeding or perforation following advanced tissue removal in the GI tract.
  • Discuss technical differences between endoscopic submucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD).
  • Demonstrate full thickness resection of small gastric masses.
  • Discuss the advantages of per oral choledochoscopy over cholangiography in managing select biliary pathology.
  • Describe the use of lumen-apposing metal stents.
  • Demonstrate transoral incisionless fundoplication treatment of GERD.


Simulation Training at MITIE

MITIE is an innovative virtual hospital and hands-on clinical training facility for health care professionals seeking to maintain excellent procedural skills and acquire new proficiencies. The center allows clinicians to develop and integrate new technologies into their practices. Through these unique GI education and research opportunities, Houston Methodist aims to improve patient safety and deliver less invasive medical care.

Simulation labs in MITIE provide trainees with a low-risk, low-stress environment that allows them to perform a task repetitively until it is mastered. Additionally, the educator can adapt training to the level of the trainee. This environment is employed to introduce the beginner to the basics of endoscopy and facilitate the hand-eye coordination skills that are fundamental to effective and safe endoscopy.

The Underwood Center organizes simulation labs throughout the year for GI fellows, covering specific skills areas, such as polypectomy and GI bleeding. The Underwood Symposium also offers a simulation lab for more advanced procedures, allowing trainees and practitioners to learn new techniques or hone existing skills.

IBD Lecture Series

Under the leadership of renowned IBD expert Dr. Abraham and supported by Dr. Carl Schmulen and his wife Lyn Schmulen, Houston Methodist hosts an annual IBD lecture series in which prominent clinicians and researchers from around the world are invited to speak about special aspects of IBD.

Included in the two-part evening and morning event, attendees also have the opportunity to present tough cases and gain insight from the speaker.

Visit to learn more about our educational and training events.

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Gastroenterology & GI Surgery