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Cardiovascular Imaging Fellowship

The Cardiovascular Imaging Fellowship program offers training in all aspects of cardiovascular imaging, including cardiac MRI, MR angiography, cardiac CT and CT angiography. Training is based at downtown Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and focuses on all technical and clinical aspects of cardiovascular MRI and CT. Fellows also have dedicated academic time and mentored support for projects in cardiovascular MRI and CT to learn research methodology.

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Program Director

Pamela Lombardi, MD

Program Coordinator

Roksana Birkos

Department of Radiology
676 N Saint Clair St. Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611
312-695-4074

Learn More & Apply

 Equipment

The Department of Radiology has 10 MRI scanners (Siemens Avanto, Espree, Quantum and Symphony) based at the in-patient facility of NMH and the adjoining outpatient imaging facility. All of the cardiac MRI studies are carried out on the 1.5T Siemens Avanto scanners. The volume of cardiovascular MRI studies has grown exponentially in recent years resulting in an average of 7 cardiac MRI studies being carried out daily. The Department of Radiology currently has one dual-source Siemens Sensation CT scanner, one 64-slice, three 16-slice Siemens Sensation scanners and three four-slice scanners. All of the cardiac CT and coronary CT angiography studies are carried out on the dual source scanner, which is located beside the MRI scanners.

 Education

The Cardiovascular Imaging fellow divides clinical time between MRI and CT, spending 40 percent of the time in cardiovascular MRI and 40 percent of the time in cardiovascular CT. The remaining 20 percent of the time is spent conducting research. The fellow is also permitted elective time in other disciplines and is responsible for protocoling and supervising all cardiovascular MRI and CT studies. Studies are read out each afternoon in the dedicated cardiovascular readout area, which has two PACS workstations, a Leonardo workstation, Vitrea and Tera Recon workstations. The fellow is assisted by a radiology resident, who rotates through the cardiovascular imaging section.

The fellow spends one day every two weeks in the affiliated Department of Radiology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where cardiac MRIs are performed under general anesthesia one day per week. This experience is invaluable for the fellow as it demonstrates the complexity of pediatric congenital heart disease and introduces the obstacles confronted when scanning the pediatric population. The fellow also gains experience in pediatric cardiovascular CT during this rotation. 

The fellow receives didactic lectures on clinical and technical aspects of cardiovascular MRI and CT from faculty members of the section of cardiovascular imaging. The lectures are given two per week for the first month and thereafter one per week. Fellows also receive hands-on training in cardiac MRI techniques by scanning at the dedicated CAMRI research facility of the Department of Radiology.

There are a number of clinical, interdisciplinary conferences that the fellow is expected to attend. There are weekly cardiac catheterization and vascular surgery conferences. There is a twice-monthly cardiovascular imaging conference, attended by faculty from different specialties, where cases from all modalities are presented. One of the objectives of this conference is to highlight discrepant findings using the different modalities. There is a quarterly inter-institution cardiovascular imaging conference attended by physicians from different hospitals in Chicago: NMH, Evanston Northshore and Children’s Memorial Hospital. There is also an “interesting case” conference twice per month where cardiovascular MR and CT cases are presented.

 Research

A secondary objective of the fellowship is to provide detailed instruction about research methodology through mentored support of research projects in cardiovascular MRI and CT. Fellows are expected to conduct and complete research projects during the one-year fellowship. These will be carried out under the guidance and mentorship of a scientific adviser and will be carried out in accordance with institutional review board guidelines.

At the end of the one-year program, the fellow should have acquired the knowledge and discipline required to successfully bring a research project to fruition. With this experience and training, the fellow will be able to embark upon a successful career in cardiovascular imaging and help further expand this growing field through innovative thought and direction.

The Department of Radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has a large cardiovascular imaging research group, composed of physician and PhD faculty. This group collaborates closely with scientists from cardiology and cardiac surgery and is supported by Siemens Medical Systems, who maintain four senior PhD scientists on site at the hospital campus. Over the past six years, the group has produced numerous seminal publications in novel techniques (1-48) and applications for cardiac MRI and includes many renowned scientists in the field within its ranks. Much of the cardiovascular MRI research is carried out at the CAMRI facility.

The cardiovascular imaging research group has office space at 737 N. Michigan Ave., which is located on the downtown university campus, about two blocks from the hospital itself. The Siemens scientists along with physician and PhD faculty and their students are all based at this facility. The facility also contains several workstations, which can be used for post-processing and analysis of data. The fellow will have office space at this facility, which will be located beside the office of the scientific adviser. It is tremendously beneficial and enriching for the cardiovascular imaging fellow to work directly with senior university and industry PhD scientists and postdoctoral students. All of the previous fellows have found this extremely educational. The center is also supported by administrative staff, a university statistician and has a full-time research coordinator.

The cardiovascular imaging research group has a number of ongoing projects, from which the fellow can choose. These include: development of cardiac MRI techniques at 3T, ultrafast cardiac MRI techniques using parallel imaging, stress myocardial perfusion at 1.5T and 3T, Time-resolved MR angiography, MR angiography at 3T, MR-guided catheter-based angiography of the coronary arteries, high-resolution CT angiography of the coronary arteries, calcium detection on replaced cardiac valves using gated CT, functional assessment of the heart using gated-CT. The fellow receives at least one dedicated research day per week. There is a research meeting one day per week, during which research personnel meet to discuss progress on the various projects.

 How to Apply

We are accepting applications for two open position to begin July 1, 2022. This fellowship program is not ACGME accredited and does not participate in the match.

Completion of a radiology residency or cardiology fellowship, USMLE steps 1-3 and ECFMG certification are prerequisites for acceptance. 

If you are interested in applying to this fellowship program, please send the following materials to the fellowship coordinator:.

  • The completed Graduate Medical Education Application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement
  • Copy of original USMLE scores (1-3)
  • Three letters of recommendation addressed to: 

    Dr. Pamela Lombardi
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
    Department of Radiology
    Cardiovascular Imaging Fellowship Program
    676 N. Saint Clair St., Suite 800
    Chicago, IL 60611

 Why Northwestern?

Housestaff training through McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University provides diverse and challenging clinical experiences and world-class education located in the heart of the beautiful city of Chicago. Learn more via the links to the McGaw website below.

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