The Fellows Experience: Insights from Previous Attendees
The 2019 Fellows Symposium will be here before we know it. On September 27-29, we will head to Grapevine, TX for this exclusive meeting that focuses on enriching the careers of young professionals in the field of transplantation.
To offer further insights on the meeting, I have invited past Fellows attendees, Arpita Basu, MD, MPH and Nissreen Elfadawy MD to write a guest blog post about their experiences. Since attending the Fellows Symposium, both Arpita and Nissreen have remained active with the AST and continue to develop their careers.
If you are a trainee who is interested in attending, be sure to register by August 7.
Each year, we send approximately 150 fellows to this meeting. With the help of our membership, we can add additional fellows to the 2019 Fellows Symposium roster through the Fund a Fellow appeal.
Arpita Basu, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor in Kidney Transplant, Emory Health Care
Member-At-Large, AST Public Policy Committee
For anyone embarking on a career in solid organ transplantation, the Fellows Symposium serves as the perfect stepping stone. Regardless of your organ of interest (kidney, liver, heart, etc.), or career path in transplant (clinician, researcher pharmacist, and others), the Fellows Symposium is a must attend event to strengthen your transplantation knowledge while interacting and building your transplant network-base.
This three-day boot camp spent amongst fellow colleagues and experts in transplantation equipped me with tools that I continue to use as I progress in my transplant career. Not only did I gain essential insights on important basics (immunology basics, organ allocation principles, living donation, complications seen in organ transplant), I also garnered crucial tips to help me grow in the academic arena while attending sessions on manuscript writing and career networking. I greatly enjoyed the evening socials that allowed me to interact with fellow attendees and experts in an informal setting. The advice received from Dr. Alexander Wiseman during one such informal conversation, helped me immensely to strengthen my resume and prepare for job interviews. Information on other important upcoming transplant conferences and deadlines of abstract submission provided at the Fellows Symposium allowed me to plan early to ensure timely abstract submissions. I greatly appreciated the Fellows grant I received for attending the Symposium, which helped offset the traveling and accommodation costs associated with attending this meeting.
Attending the Fellows Symposium has played a vital role in my professional career development by allowing me to build connections in the field early in my career. Since the Fellows Symposium, I have won the Young Innovator Award at the Cutting Edge of Transplantation in 2018. I am currently an Assistant Professor in Kidney Transplant at Emory University. I am also a Committee Member of AST’s Public Policy Committee and am actively involved with several Communities of Practice (COPs) within the AST.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I received to attend the Fellows Symposium and would recommend it to anyone entering into the field of transplant.
Nissreen Elfadawy, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor- University Hospitals of Cleveland –Ohio
Chair, Trainee and Young Faculty Community of Practice
I am an IMG who finished full nephrology training in Egypt and came to the USA looking for kidney transplantation training opportunities. Since then, my plans have changed, and I decided to stay and practice transplant nephrology in the USA, which mandated a full round of repeated training between kidney transplant research fellowship, internal medicine residency, nephrology fellowship, and a transplant nephrology fellowship. I have been actively participating in the AST for the past 7 years. I joined the AST in 2012 with full enthusiasm and passion as a trainee member and started exploring all opportunities within the AST.
I have attended the American Transplant Congress every year and introduced myself to the leaders in the field. I presented my research in either oral or poster format annually and was very keen on hearing feedback and constructive comments. I also actively participated in the CEoT meeting in Arizona as much as I could, where I presented my research and got to know all those highly renowned people. I was fortunate to win the travel grant to attend the amazing AST Fellows Symposium in 2013, which I consider one of the most memorable meetings I have ever been to as a trainee (delicious food too!).
During my Trainee membership with the AST, I received the “Young Investigator Award” from the World Transplant Congress 2014 and ATC 2016. I also received the “Young Innovator Award” from the CEoT meeting in 2015, 2016, and 2019.
The AST has many volunteer services and leadership opportunities that have helped me thrive throughout my career. I first served as the “Trainee Representative” in the Transplant Diagnostic Community of Practice (COP) in 2014-2015 where I participated in writing the OPTN/UNOS bylaws policy proposal and distributed a quarterly newsletter to the AST COP, outlining the meeting proposal for ATC 2016 under Dr Parmjeet Randhawa’s leadership. I also served as an “Associate Editor” in AST’s Trainee and Young Faculty COP newsletter in 2014-2016 and participated in monthly conference calls to establish an online library for this COP under direct supervision from Dr Jamil Azzi. One year later, I was elected to serve as a committee Member-At-Large for the Trainee and Young Faculty Community of Practice in 2016-2017. I was given the chance to participate in the ATC 2017 program proposal submission and was invited as a speaker to the same meeting. I still remember the day the Chair of the TYF COP, Dr Rowena Delos Santos, kindly nominated me for the Co-Chair and then Chair position for the TYF COP, a position that I currently hold. She gave me an amazing leadership opportunity that every trainee member dreamt of.
My experience with the AST has been very productive and rewarding. My active participation within the AST gave me the chance to closely interact with the transplant leaders in different fields and the AST administrative staff. I witnessed firsthand all the hard work they do to make the AST such a successful network (Kudos!). I encourage all the trainees and young faculty to explore opportunities and actively participate within the AST and its 16 highly active COPs. I am quite positive that you will find your passion in one or more.