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Graduate Testimonials


Alvaro Alonso Aparicio, MD (2010 graduate, interventional cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA): I’d rate my fellowship at UMass as one of the best professional and educational experiences I’ve had. It gave me a very strong foundation for my subsequent career. I was first struck by the collegial atmosphere, which was conducive to a fruitful educational experience. While I was busy clinically, there were also plenty of classroom education opportunities. I enjoyed the global teaching disposition of the attendings. There were also various research opportunities. The fellows have a great exposure not only to high acuity ER patients but also to tertiary referrals, providing a balanced experience. I graduated with enough experience and competence to perform and interpret studies and care for complex cardiovascular patients. I went on to do an Interventional Cardiology fellowship, also at UMass, which also proved to be very strong. After a subsequent Vascular/Endovascular fellowship in Boston (and 8 board certifications later), I joined Tulane as faculty. While I practiced mostly as Interventional/Vascular, I was also responsible for Echo, TEE, nuclear, and clinical service, demonstrating that UMass had provided me with a broad level of education that surpassed that of many other programs. Perhaps it was a no brainer that I decided to return to UMass as faculty when the opportunity arose. I can see in my daily interactions how the UMass Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship program has become even stronger over time.

Owusu Asamoah, MD (2018 graduate, interventional cardiologist, Roanoke, VA): I cannot speak highly enough about the Cardiology Fellowship at UMass Memorial Medical Center.  The faculty is committed to providing excellent, evidence-based clinical care while promoting fellow education through bedside teaching and lectures. I also learned from my motivated, talented co-fellows during case-based conferences.  Not only is the program committed to the fellows’ education, but it also promotes empathy, compassion, and well-being among colleagues.  Due to its broad catchment area, UMass has a complex, diverse patient population, guaranteeing a well-rounded fellowship experience.  The program also offers fellows a wealth of research opportunities. The faculty members are eager to involve fellows in their research and provide them with invaluable mentorship. The program provides funding for fellows to present their work at national meetings.  Under the mentorship of Dr. David McManus, I studied the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and associated risk factors among African Americans in a community-based study. I was also involved in translational research, investigating how obesity is associated with increased epicardial fat and left atrial remodeling in aged mice with Dr. Timothy Fitzgibbons. I feel immensely grateful for my cardiology fellowship training at UMass which has been instrumental in shaping how I practice cardiology. 

Rebecca Baumann, MD (2014 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Peoria, IL): An ideal mix of large-volume clinical experience, world-class academic expertise in all areas of cardiology, and unsurpassed cameraderie both among the fellows and between the fellows and faculty are the hallmarks of the Cardiovascular Fellowship at UMass.  As a woman in this field - still a minority but ever-growing - I greatly appreciated the chance to be part of a department that included several exemplary female role models and that embraced women in a progressive way.  My experience at UMass served not only to give me a confident start to my career but also to help me balance work and family.  Finally, living close enough to Boston to take advantage of all that this wonderful city has to offer without having to pay to live there and battle the downtown traffic every day cannot be overstated!

Joseph Bouchard, MD (2009 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, UMass-Marlborough Hospital, Marlborough, MA):  My cardiology fellowship training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School was exceptional. I have been working as a general cardiologist over the last ten years, first as an attending at the University Campus and now at our Marlborough Campus. UMass is uniquely positioned as the only tertiary care center in Central Massachusetts. As a result, our fellows learn to take care of patients with common cardiac conditions as well as the more uncommon cardiac conditions. At UMass, you get the best of both worlds, and this will provide a great foundation to whatever career you decide to pursue within cardiology. UMass is a high-volume center, and this will allow you to be well trained in a variety of areas. By the time I was finished with fellowship,  I was well trained in clinical cardiology, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, CCU and diagnostic cath.  What truly sets the program apart are the physicians and nonphysicians that make up our cardiology family.  I promise you will not find a better group of people anywhere. I have no doubt that this is why four of the six fellows that I graduated with remain on faculty. 

Jorge Escobar Valle, MD (2019 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Augusta, ME): One of the things I loved about the UMass cardiology fellowship program was the balance I found in my training. All the cardiology subspecialties had great mentors. As a general cardiologist, I found I had a well-rounded training. The first 2 years ensured that I had enough exposure to all areas of cardiology due to the high patient volume and the autonomy I was granted by my attendings. I found that Dr. Botkin was very flexible and supportive in helping me structure my third year based on my career plans. As a non-invasive cardiologist, I feel fortunate to have had one-on-one teaching from amazing echo attendings like Dr. Aurigemma and Dr. Tighe, who teach at the ASE board review courses. Training in a supportive environment with great role models and high volume helped me get ready for real life cardiology.

Bryon Gentile, MD (2015 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA): I trained in general cardiology at UMass between 2012-2015.  UMass provided an excellent, collegial clinical training environment with exposure to all the major cardiovascular subspecialties allowing me to develop a career path best tailored to my interests.  During my third year, I became interested in guiding structural heart interventions with transesophageal echocardiography.  At the time, advanced fellowships in this area were not widely available.  The program was incredibly flexible, allowing me to spend additional time developing the skillset necessary to guide these procedures.  As I look back 5 years later, my fellowship at UMass was an enjoyable experience where I received excellent clinical training, mentorship, and education that has shaped the cardiologist I am today.         

Aline Iskandar, MD (2016 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Lewiston, ME): When I think back on my cardiology training at UMass, I have to say, this was the most enjoyable time of my medical training. The faculty was excellent as well as friendly, creating the perfect framework for a successful fellowship. Being a non-invasive cardiologist with a great love for echocardiography, I could not imagine getting better training anywhere else.  When I started my attending job, which is a hybrid position between working at the largest tertiary medical center in our state as well as in a smaller community hospital, I was able to jump right into my responsibilities without any difficulty. 

Renee Dallasen Muchnik, MD (2017 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Canandaigua, NY): UMass prepared me well for the life of an attending cardiologist.  My training was well rounded and provided a plethora of opportunities for learning.  I was able to experience continuity of care in the outpatient setting while my inpatient experiences were broad, ranging from the “bread and butter” to caring for the critically ill.  In the cardiovascular ICU, I was able to build confidence in my procedural skills such as placing temporary pacing wires and Swan-Ganz catheters.  Likewise, in the cardiac cath lab, attendings encouraged us to perform diagnostic angiograms from start to finish.  Finally, the echocardiography lab was the highlight of my training. Highly dedicated and knowledgeable attendings helped me to become a proficient echo reader which has served me very well in my career.  I am grateful for the excellent training I received from my UMass cardiology fellowship and would recommend UMass to any aspiring cardiologist!

Giorgio Napoli, MD (2019 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Milford, MA): The cardiology fellowship at the University of Massachusetts is second to none. The clinical exposure is broad and comprehensive, the attendings are kind, approachable and always there for you, and the program prepares you extremely well to deal with the dynamic world of Cardiology. A true focus of the program is in helping build your confidence and clinical acumen, all while scaffolding a sense of independence, responsibility and leadership. In addition, there are plenty of academic and educational pursuits available, and the support from your professors and the administration, from the top down, is unparalleled. Finally, I think the biggest draw for me was the personality of the department: the camaraderie amongst co-fellows and attendings, and the spirit of the fellowship, which is interested in supporting you to become not just the best cardiologist you can be, but also the best version of yourself. I am fortunate to still work in the area, and it’s an honor of mine to call my former mentors and professors not only colleagues, but also friends.

Sheena Sharma, MD (2007 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Webster, MA): As a non-invasive cardiologist in private practice, the education I received through my Cardiology Fellowship at University of Massachusetts has provided me with the critical foundation required to be able to succeed in practice. The robust background in Echocardiography, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac Catheterization, and inpatient and outpatient clinical Cardiology as well as exposure to Adult Congenital Heart Disease has been invaluable in my practice over the last 12 years. I also credit my many fantastic mentors with not only the clinical pearls they imparted, but also the life advice they bestowed - which inevitably continues to impact me today.  I am very proud of, and thankful for, my Cardiology Training at UMASS.

Glenn Stokken, MD (2017 graduate, electrophysiologist, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA): Coming out of residency, a lot of uncertainty remains regarding a cardiology fellow’s future and how one will transition to real life afterwards.  The general cardiology fellowship at UMass has excellent leadership in place that adapts to a constantly changing cardiology practice.  Rotations are continually being created, removed, and modified to stay current with the times, with a goal of giving the fellows the best practical education and exposure to real life academic practice and preparing one for general practice. What’s more, the faculty at UMass is not only dedicated to education but is also genuinely fun to work with. Prior to fellowship, I hadn’t realized how one could strike such a balance of hard work and genuinely having fun and enjoying it. I left UMass fellowship feeling more than adequately prepared for practice and will always be a part of the UMass family.

Ara Tachjian, MD  (2017 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, Warwick, RI and Foxborough, MA): I was very fortunate to pursue cardiology fellowship training at UMass, where we had the perfect balance of autonomy and supervision. UMass has a strong and dedicated cardiology fellowship program led by Dr. Botkin. The entire staff, including the department chair, were committed to providing excellent patient care and education. The attending cardiologists were always eager to teach and support us. Regarding research, there are always opportunities available and fellows are strongly encouraged to present posters at conferences as well as to publish articles. As a large tertiary care center, we had the opportunity to take care of complex patients with a variety of cardiac pathologies. During fellowship, I also enjoyed working in the echo lab under Dr. Aurigemma's leadership. I am deeply grateful to my mentors who shared their knowledge and provided me the opportunity to be well prepared for my career as a non-invasive cardiologist.

Rishi Vohora, DO (2009 graduate, noninvasive cardiologist, UMass-Marlborough Hospital, Marlborough, MA): Since graduating fellowship in 2009, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a broad spectrum of general cardiology. I have worked at the medical center dealing with the sickest of the sick in our cardiac ICU, performed many diagnostic catheterizations, and was actively involved in noninvasive imaging and fellowship training. More recently, I’ve shifted gears to a community setting managing a small practice and developing our footprint at our satellite hospitals. Thankfully, UMass was able to provide me with an excellent foundation for these myriad roles. My training, coupled with the support I received from my mentors both while in fellowship and as a junior attending, have allowed me to hit my career running. Add on top that I also made some lifelong friendships and I can say with extreme confidence that UMass was the right fit.