Message from the Program Director

It is a very exciting time for us here at the UT Health San Antonio Vascular Fellowship. We are very excited to announce that Dr. Matt Sideman is our new division chief.  He is nationally known for his work with the SVS coding committee and his numerous hours with the AMA RUC fighting for more value for vascular surgery procedure RVU’s.   We also have the addition of Drs. Kevin Engledow and Jessica Mayor to the faculty roster, both outstanding recruits for our teaching and clinical portfolios.  I continue to be very proud to be the program director of this fellowship and continue to enjoy watching my outstanding trainees’ lives transition from their general surgery foundation to a graduating fellow with a master vascular surgeon skill set.  Much as a proud parent can reflect on the accomplishments of their children, I too feel very proud of our evolving and maturing fellowship that is a world-class training opportunity for those dedicating their life to the mastery of care for the patient with vascular disorders.

I have always known that the decision to do vascular surgery is a special calling to rise to the challenge to provide care for some of the most complex and sickest patients possible. UT Health San Antonio fellows have the opportunity to gain the skill sets needed such as performing advanced percutaneous interventions, standard conventional surgeries or understanding when best medical therapy might benefit a patient.

The high case volume continues (over 1200 cases last year) that the program offers a wonderful case mix of training opportunities between the three clinical partners: the VA Hospital, University Hospital and the private practice hospital locations. The VA offers classic vascular disease such as aneurysmal, extra-cranial carotid disease and general PAD.   The high acuity University Hospital also offers a unique training opportunity with a large diabetic population with complex distal tibial disease– especially in a younger group of people with limited access to health care. Advanced limb salvage is a major part of this practice. Also, with an extremely busy trauma service there is a good opportunity to gain that skill set and to work with our cardiothoracic service to treat acute aortic injuries.  The May’s Cancer Center partnership with Urology for renal cell resections (even into the heart) is an outstanding learning opportunity for our trainees as well.  Also, a wonderful addition to the roster is the opportunity that Dr. Sideman gives with his spine exposure practice.

Lastly, the opportunity to work with Dr. Toursarkissian in an extremely busy private practice setting is a gold mine of experience for any trainee, and not commonly found in academic fellowships.

Paired with the case volume is a sound didactic schedule based on the VSCORE curriculum as well as a pre-op/indications and limb salvage conferences.  The fellow participates in clinic at the VA to understand longitudinal care and in the last six months it is treated as a transition to practice rotation with them running clinic. Research is encouraged, but it is not mandatory for graduation, with many graduates participating in local, regional and national forums.   A quality improvement project along with participation in risk management sessions are required to understand that important aspect of professionalism.  The goal is to produce a rounded surgeon leader that is qualified to enter any type of practice they would like to upon graduation, academics, private or a hybrid.

The UT Health San Antonio Vascular Fellowship will provide you with a sound foundation for treating vascular surgery patients on every level expected of a modern vascular specialist.  I look forward to training the next groups of exuberant learners!

Lori Pounds, MD, RVT, RPVI, DFAVF
Program Director
Vascular Surgery Fellowship