June 1, 2007

VU transplant hepatologists honored

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(photo by Susan Urmy)

VU transplant hepatologists honored

Four Vanderbilt University Medical Center liver specialists recently received national recognition for excellence in transplant hepatology.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently offered for the first time a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in Transplant Hepatology. Michael Porayko, M.D., medical director of liver transplantation at VUMC, was a member of the ABIM group that wrote the certification examination.

“This certification is an acknowledgement that the physicians in our hepatology group possess specialized knowledge and skills,” said David Raiford, M.D., director of the hepatology program at Vanderbilt. “There are perhaps eight physicians in the state of Tennessee who hold this qualification. Four of them are here at Vanderbilt. It is an honor to Dr. Porayko and Vanderbilt that he was asked to help write this examination.”

Fewer than 200 physicians across the United States sat for the exam last fall. The ABIM is the board that sets the standards and certifies physicians who practice Internal Medicine and its subspecialties.

Raiford expects this new certification to become a seal of approval for liver transplant programs.

“Having hepatologists on staff with this certification will likely become a requirement to achieve and maintain certification of a liver transplant program,” he said.

Those eligible to sit for the exam must have been previously board certified in internal medicine and in the subspecialty of gastroenterology. In addition, the ABIM required verification of additional formal training in transplant hepatology or a significant practice experience in this discipline.

The VUMC physicians who now hold this certification are: David Raiford, M.D., professor of Medicine; Porayko; Joseph Awad, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and director of Hepatology at the VA Hospital; and Roman Perri, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine.