There are nine (9) required core conferences for which fellows are excused from clinical duties.
- Basic and Clinical Science Didactic Conference (Weekly) – These are didactic sessions that cover a core curriculum in endocrinology in both basic science and clinical endocrinology. Topics include cellular and molecular biology, hormone receptor interactions, genetic control of hormone function, genetic disorders and gene therapy, performance of various hormone assays, normal endocrine physiology, endocrine disorders, prevention of disease, endocrine therapies/treatment, surgery and health care delivery. The goal of this conference is to review topics, as well as questions in general endocrinology, reproductive endocrinology and pediatric endocrinology every 24 months. Additionally, the sessions aim to improve test-taking skills in anticipation of becoming board-certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. The format utilizes a major textbook such as Becker's Principles and Practice of Endocrinology, Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, DeGroot's Endocrinology textbook and the Endocrine Self-Assessment program (ESAP). The lectures are given by the endocrinology fellows and endocrine faculty. Clinical topics constitute 50 percent of this conference, with basic science the other 50 percent.
- Journal Club (Weekly) – Journal Club is held weekly to expose trainees to critical reading of endocrine literature. Following a scheduled rotation, fellows will take turns critically reviewing recent peer-reviewed original research papers that have been announced and distributed to the attendees in advance. Emphasis is placed on study design, patient population selected, specific methods and analytical/statistical methods. The major goal of this conference is to teach critical review of the literature for medical decision making. An additional goal is to keep abreast of developments in endocrinology — both basic and clinical. The faculty encourages the selection of a wide range of basic and clinical articles. Lastly, this conference allows the trainees to gain teaching experience.
- Fellows Case Conference (Twice monthly) – A clinical case conference that emphasizes in-depth investigation of pathophysiology or diagnostic and/or management issues as they relate to endocrinology. The goal of this conference is to review new advances in pathophysiology, investigative techniques and new therapies for endocrine disease. Fellows prepare 100 percent of these conferences, utilizing an up-to-date MedLine search and bibliography. Clinical topics make up 80 percent of this weekly conference, with basic science the other 20 percent.
- Endocrine Grand Rounds (Monthly) – At these conferences, members of the Phoenix VA Health Care System faculty, both from the endocrine division and other subspecialties, present hormone-related research findings from their own work or work by others in their fields. Prominent outside speakers are invited to present endocrine-related research quarterly. These conferences help fellows to criticize research design, familiarize them with state-of-the-art methods and provide an appreciation of where endocrine science is headed.
- Research Conference (Monthly) – These are held monthly to acquaint trainees with principles of research and data analysis prior to their required research rotation. The emphasis is on research study design, responsible use of informed consent, research methodology, collection and interpretation of data, medical statistics and critical assessment of new therapies and advances in endocrine research. Trainees participate in the interactive didactic sessions with a biostatistician and learn to critique research design and data analysis. Both basic and clinical research is discussed. The goals of this conference are to provide fellows with the ability for critical medical decision making at a minimum, as well as the skill and foundation necessary to embark on a research career if chosen by the trainee.
- Neurosurgery Pituitary Conference (Monthly) – This is a joint conference with Neurosurgeons from Barrow's Neurological Institute and endocrinologists in the Phoenix metro area. Trainees present cases with hypothalamic/pituitary disease for discussion of the underlying pathophysiology, imaging and appropriate surgical, as well as medical management of pituitary tumors. This conference is 100 percent clinical.
- Insulin Pump Conference (Monthly) – This is an interactive conference led by an expert in insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor therapy. Challenging and interesting cases are discussed with detailed review of their pump or CGM download. The goal is to provide recommendations for management of the patient’s diabetes.
- Thyroid/Parathyroid Surgical Conference (Bimonthly) – This is a multi-disciplinary VA conference composed of head and neck surgeons, nuclear medicine radiologists, pathologists and endocrine providers. Endocrine Surgical cases are presented for discussion of pathophysiology, imaging and appropriate surgical, as well as medical management of thyroid and parathyroid disease. This conference is 100 percent clinical.
- Pathology Conference (Quarterly) – This is a joint conference between the VA Pathologist and Endocrine providers. Fine needle aspirate specimens and endocrine anatomic pathology are reviewed utilizing a teaching microscope. Correct FNA cytologic techniques and interpretation are stressed. This conference is 100 percent clinical.