Get to know Travis Magdaleno, DO, gastroenterology fellow.

Career goal: While I’m still deciding on my career goal, I would like to become a transplant hepatologist or an advanced endoscopist.

“After six years with the health network, I see why LVHN continues to be named a ‘Top Workplace in the Lehigh Valley’ year after year.”

What makes your LVHN training program different from others across the country?

What separates us from other programs is the strong relationships we have not only amongst each other as fellows, but with our attending physicians and other colleagues as well. They really have taken us under their wings and devote a significant amount of time and effort into our education.

Additionally, if you look at the roster of our attending physicians and their respective training, you will see we are working alongside and being educated by those with a variety of backgrounds. For example, we have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland; advanced endoscopists from Mount Sinai Health System and Fox Chase Cancer Center; and hepatologists from Jefferson University, Rutgers University and many more. We also have attending physicians who joined our faculty after their fellowship at LVHN, which should speak volumes about our program.

Lastly, our program director, Anastasia Shnitser, MD, really keeps our best interest at heart. She maintains a close eye on the program and on her fellows to ensure our safety, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania, but also to ensure the quality of training and opportunities to further our education.

What has been the most unique part of your training experience so far?

Aside from training during a global pandemic, I would say a unique aspect of our training is the quantity of procedures we perform as fellows. From the first month, we are hands-on. The program sends us to an endoscopy course hosted by American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), which is geared toward first-year fellows.

Additionally, Dr. Shnitser provides us with monthly introductory endoscopy courses to get ourselves familiar with the techniques and equipment. During our first month, advanced endoscopists provide hands-on training on different techniques and tools used for biopsies, bleeding control and foreign body retrievals. At the end our first year of training, my co-fellow Anam and I had completed enough scopes to graduate with competency by the ASGE guidelines.

What is one memory you have from your training so far that will stick with you for your career?

One memory that will stick with me is the time I won a Research Project of the Year award at LVHN. I started working on a large prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT) during my intern year as a resident, and was able to see it to completion by the start of my fellowship. In addition to having my work accepted at large international conferences, I submitted the study internally at our annual resident/fellow research day competition. My study took first place in the research category. I was able to present the study to my colleagues on a local platform and was supported by my co-fellows and GI attending physicians throughout the process.

What is one piece of advice you would share with someone as they select a training program?

I know times may be a bit different this year because of COVID-19, but I would suggest looking into the quality of the faculty and their respective training backgrounds. Also, the program’s involvement with research and publications in recent years is important.

I would consider reaching out to the fellows to gauge their satisfaction and level of happiness with the program. Every program has its downsides, but the camaraderie in the workplace and adaptability will make your life and training years much more enjoyable. Nothing beats grabbing a bite to eat or a social drink after a long day in the hospital with your co-workers.

What does it mean to be a fellow at LVHN?

Being a part of the LVHN family is great. After six years with the health network, (three years in internal medicine residency, one year as chief resident and now on my second year as a GI fellow), I see why LVHN continues to be named a ‘Top Workplace in the Lehigh Valley’ year after year. Aside from focusing on patient care, the health network also takes care of its employees and trainees with significant benefits including meal stipends, free gym memberships, generous CME funds and more. Plus, the Lehigh Valley is a great place to live and raise a family.

Gastroenterology Fellowship

Learn more about LVHN’s Gastroenterology Fellowship program.

Program overview