Postgraduate Training Details

Postgraduate Training Details

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has had an NIH-funded training program in Pediatric Gastroenterology/Nutrition since 1973. The program allows trainees the opportunity to work with members throughout the UCSF campus and affiliated institutions (e.g., UC Berkeley), utilizing the immense resources and faculty of this world-renowned university.

Clinical Facilities

Clinical training activities in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, pancreatology, nutrition, and (including an Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program and Liver and Intestinal Transplantation Services) are centered at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco. Multidisciplinary ambulatory specialty clinics are held at UCSF and at regularly scheduled outreach specialty clinics conducted in various locations throughout northern and central California.


  • Melvin B. Heyman, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Training Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology/Nutrition; Director, Pediatric IBD Program
  • Sue Rhee, MD, Professor of Pediatrics; Division Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Pancreatology and Nutrition; Director, Training Program in Transplant Hepatology; Co-Director, Pediatric Pancreas Program
  • James Bayrer, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Assistant Director of Basic Science Research, Training Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology/Nutrition
  • Hassan Hamandi, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Marjorie McCracken, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
  • Philip Rosenthal, MD, 
Professor of Pediatrics; Associate Director, Training Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology/Nutrition; Director, Pediatric Hepatology Research Program
  • Patrika Tsai, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Nutrition Support Service; Director, Pediatric Obesity Program; Director, Pediatric Celiac Program
  • Emily Perito, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology/Biostatistics; Assistant Director of Clinical Science Research, Training Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology/Nutrition; Co-Director, Pediatric Pancreas Program
  • Walter Sipe, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Kathryn Smith, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Sofia Verstraete, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Assistant Director, Pediatric IBD Program
  • Yvette Wild, MD, MPH, MAS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Director, EGID Program
  • Janet Wojcicki, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Nonacademic support staff includes pediatric nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists (specialized in parenteral and enteral feeding, pancreatology, inflammatory bowel disease, and hepatobiliary disease including liver transplant), feeding therapists, clinical nutritionists, and full-time social workers. Staff research associates and research study coordinators assist with clinical research programs.


The program offers up to 2-3 gastroenterology and 1 hepatology training positions each year. Three are funded by a NIH Training Program grant in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; other positions are funded thru other mechanisms including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Clinical Fellowships. The research activities of the program are funded by grants to individual investigators in the program and their various departments and research institutes at UCSF. A partial list of available faculty including potential research mentors is available upon request.

Training Program

This program is board-certified by the ACGME and is classified as a PL-4 program providing three or four years of training. The curriculum is oriented toward physicians preparing for academic careers in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. The program aims to promote scientific and teaching experience and necessary clinical skills to prepare the trainee for an academic career in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, pancreatology and nutrition.

Considerable flexibility is offered to allow for differences in background, interests, and experience of individual trainees and to tailor the training program to meet the needs and desires of each trainee. This also facilitates admission of qualified trainees with varying background experiences and future goals.

Applicants are encouraged to enroll for four years; preference is given to applicants willing to make this commitment. During one year, the trainee concentrates on intensive clinical training, with emphasis on diagnostic skills and systematic approaches to gastrointestinal problems. Two to three years are protected and devoted to investigative training, experience in teaching, and instruction in preparation of scientific communications and research proposals.

Clinical Training

Faculty and trainees are jointly responsible for the care of patients admitted to the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Liver/Pancreas services and participate in consultations requested by pediatricians and other subspecialists. Trainees supervise pediatric and other house officers in the care of all patients with primary gastrointestinal, liver, pancreas, and nutritional disorders and participate in consultations from outside hospitals and physicians.

Clinical training provides intensive experience in gastrointestinal, liver, pancreas, and nutritional disorders of infancy and childhood, combined with meaningful exposure to major related clinical areas. During their clinical training, trainees are stationed in the Department of Pediatrics at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco. All trainees attend one half day of outpatient clinic each week throughout their training period. Further training opportunities are also available in the gastroenterology training program in the Department of Medicine.

Standard procedures (upper and lower endoscopy, esophageal pH/impedance monitoring, liver biopsy) are performed by clinical trainees under direct faculty supervision. Specialized procedures such as polypectomy, esophageal stricture dilatations, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) placement, anorectal and esophageal motility studies, capsule endoscopy, and breath analyses are performed by the faculty with assistance from and eventually assumed by pediatric gastroenterology trainees with particular interest in the specific procedures. Other procedures such as ERCP are also available, if deemed appropriate for the training experience.

The faculty and trainees in the division conduct ward rounds daily while assigned to inpatient services, and present current instructive cases at a weekly conference to the entire medical staff of the division. Other conferences within the division include monthly formal presentations on major topics in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, pancreatology, and/or nutrition, a semiannual research seminar at which ongoing or planned projects are presented and discussed, and a weekly review of pathologic specimens obtained in management of children with gastrointestinal disorders. Pathology conferences are included in the training experience. Radiology, nutrition, and rehab experiences are incorporated into the clinical training.

Research Training

The training program is designed for candidates planning serious and productive academic careers. Accordingly, training in scientific investigation occupies a central position in the program and is designed to provide a broad scientific basis combined with practical research experience. Trainees on the clinical service are urged to define the clinical problems they encounter in terms of testable hypotheses and to concentrate on processes rather than phenomena. Trainees entering into the research phase of their training are free to initiate new projects with appropriate faculty preceptors or may choose to participate in ongoing research in any laboratory or with any investigator throughout UCSF. Each trainee is encouraged to focus on one or two major areas in the context of which he or she will acquire special expertise in advance methodology, experimental design, data collection, and analysis of results. Research training opportunities include investigations at molecular, tissue culture, organ perfusion, whole animal and clinical levels. Under this training program, the trainee will have the opportunity to focus the research training in either basic science or clinical research. The basic science opportunities vary from the cellular and molecular to the developmental biology and immunology laboratories. Clinical research may be based on patient care issues or extend into health policy and outcomes research. A unique relationship of our program with the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Institute for Health Policy Studies encourages this area of investigation. Clinical research training can be augmented and facilitated by the Master’s Degree Program in Clinical Research at UCSF. Dedicated preceptors with varying interests and expertise are available and committed in all of the research areas offered.

Trainees have the opportunity to enroll in biostatistics, ethics, and other pertinent courses in the area(s) of interest and to attend informal seminars on the basics of scientific writing, oral presentation, and preparation of research proposals.

Teaching Exercises

Trainees are actively involved in teaching undergraduate (3rd & 4th year) courses in pediatric gastroenterology, and present seminars at pediatric grand rounds, adult GI rounds, combined journal clubs, and departmental postgraduate or "advanced" courses for pediatric and family practitioners.

Admission Requirements

For our NIH-sponsored research training, United States citizenship or permanent residency is required. Completion of three years of general pediatric training and Pediatric Board certification/eligibility are expected before beginning subspecialty training. However, this is not an absolute requirement, and exceptions may be made on an individual basis (e.g. for PhDs). Applications are made thru ERAS each summer (for the Fall Match). Please note the requirement for three or more letters of recommendation. Please also submit a short description of your career goals, as noted in the application. An interview will be arranged upon receipt of the completed form and letters of recommendation. Members of under-represented minorities are encouraged to apply.

Thank you for your interest in our program. Please contact us should you require additional information.

Interested applicants - please submit applications through ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service)


Melvin B. Heyman, MD, MPH

Interview Dates

Interviews are by invitation only.