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University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Iowa City, Iowa

Training program director: Ingrid Lizarraga, MBBS

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics buildingUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is Iowa’s only comprehensive academic medical
center and a regional referral center. Our breast fellowship was started in 2008 and certified by the SSO in 2103 with the aim of providing training in all aspects of treatment of benign and malignant breast disease, with a particular focus on the leadership role of the surgeon in breast cancer care.

We are dedicated to a comprehensive training and mentorship program. The fellow benefits from close interaction with our colleagues in the vibrant multidisciplinary breast oncology group, which is part of the only NCI designated Cancer Center in the state.. We participate in clinical trials coordinated by the Alliance and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project, as well as our own institutional trials and registries.

Facilities and Staff

Our NAPBC accredited breast center is housed with the Holden Comprehensive Cancer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The multidisciplinary breast oncology group includes 4 breast surgical oncologists, 4 medical oncologists, 3 radiologists, 2 radiation oncologists, 4 plastic surgeons, a breast pathologist and numerous support staff involved in patient navigation, genetic counseling, rehabilitation and research.

Clinical Rotations

The core curriculum is based on the educational objectives outlined by the SSO and is designed to provide the breast fellow with in-depth experience in all aspects of care of the breast patient. Rotations in medical oncology, radiation oncology and plastic and reconstructive surgery provide an understanding of the multidisciplinary care of breast disease, and are integrated with time spent on the breast surgery service to allow progressive maturation of surgical skills and decision making. A breast imaging rotation provides exposure to mammography, tomosynthesis, screening and diagnostic ultrasound, whole breast ultrasound, MRI and all forms of image-guided biopsy.
US-guided experience is gained in the breast clinic. Additionally, training is provided in breast pathology, psycho oncology, high-risk evaluation, genetic counseling, and rehabilitation. Fellows receive experience in oncoplastic surgery, skin and nipple sparing mastectomy and intraoperative radiation therapy. There is a strong emphasis on fostering leadership both clinically and in research. The fellow runs the breast service and is given progressively more responsibility and autonomy in evaluating, counseling, and developing and executing a management plan for our patients. He/she is expected to present patients and lead the discussion at the weekly multidisciplinary conference. Training in breast center management anticipates the fellow’s future role as a leader in the medical community.

Meetings and conferences

Teaching conferences include the weekly tumor board that is integrated with our breast cancer research interest group presentations featuring basic science and translational scientists working in breast cancer, breast imaging biopsy conference, and monthly surgical oncology and multidisciplinary breast journal clubs. Participation in quarterly Breast steering committee meetings helps the fellow understand the necessary components of a breast center, the data collection and management requirements for breast center certification, and the organization of a multidisciplinary tumor board. Didactic meetings with the breast surgery faculty to critically analyze seminal articles related to breast cancer are held monthly, and the fellow meets weekly with the breast pathologist to review current cases. An on-line Biostatistics course is provided to facilitate training in analysis, development and design of research projects.

Research and clinical trials

A surgical faculty research mentor will assist the fellow in developing and completing at least one clinical research project, which they are expected to present at a local, regional or national meeting. Research is facilitated by a robust breast tumor registry, the Breast Molecular Epidemiology Registry and a population-based breast cancer research group. The Cancer Center is a participant in a number of multi-institutional trials which allows the fellow to gain experience in the clinical trial design and patient accrual. Additionally, the many individuals actively engaged in clinical, translational, and basic science research within the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a rich environment for our fellow. There is an opportunity for those interested in pursuing additional training in laboratory-based breast cancer research to spend additional time in an NIH T32 training grant supported position.

Eligibility and Application

Applicants should be general surgery board-eligible/board-certified with the American Board of Surgery. Interested candidates should apply via the Society of Surgical Oncology. Well-qualified individuals from other countries will also be considered. For additional information, please contact the program.

Contact Information

Training Program Director:

Ingrid Lizarraga, MBBS

Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery

 Associate Program Director:

Lillian Erdahl, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery

Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery

 Program Coordinator:Brandee Baker
 Address: Department of Surgery
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA  52242
 Phone: 319-353-7227
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