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College of
Health Sciences

  • Mark Mahan, MD
  • Hugo Villanueva, MD


“My experience at Geisinger Medical Center as a Bariatric and Foregut Surgery fellow was beyond exceptional. Not only the incredibly high volume, but also the diverse and complex pathology we dealt with, prepared me to be comfortable taking care of straightforward and challenging cases. It also provided me with tools that I have been able to use in general and acute care surgery. The level of autonomy given helped to build the confidence needed to become an independent and proficient surgeon. The program also taught me how to run a busy practice, including not only the main aspects of patient care but also the principles of billing, coding and important aspects of practice management. I will forever be grateful for the privilege to train at the Bariatric and Foregut Fellowship at Geisinger Medical Center.”

– Gabriel Mekel-Nakhal, 2020–2021

“Doing a fellowship at Geisinger more than prepares you for life as an attending. The high volume of cases ensures that you will see all types of patients and surgical problems and learn how to deal with them. The progressive autonomy helps to transition from residency to confidence in your own practice. In addition to the excellent technical training, you learn what it takes to create and maintain a highly successful bariatric surgery program, complete with continually updated evidence-based practices and pathways. It is rigorous, but worth it.”

– Alexandra Falvo, MIS/Bariatric Fellowship, 2019–2020

“This is a very strong fellowship that consolidates two to three years’ worth of clinical and surgical experience into one year. I loved the well-balanced nature of foregut and bariatric cases and the mix of primary, complex and revisional surgeries. At the end of the year, I felt very comfortable in these cases and in the endoscopic management of post-surgical complications. I gained confidence managing and operating on bariatric and foregut emergencies, for which Geisinger is a major regional referral center. I had great autonomy on both the OR and the wards, but whenever I needed help, I felt that the staff were always available both as a physical presence and on the phone for advice and guidance. Research projects are aplenty, and all certification requirements were easily satisfied several times over by the case volume. Overall, a busy practice and a very busy year, but that was exactly what I was looking for in a fellowship and I would absolutely do it again.”

– Voranaddha Vacharathit, MIS/Bariatric Fellowship, 2019–2020

“I completed the MIS/bariatric surgery fellowship in July 2019. I felt that I received a thorough grounding in all aspects of benign foregut and bariatric surgery. After the initial introductory period getting to know how each surgeon does each operation, there was a rapid increase in our autonomy, far more than most other fellows I was in contact with at meetings, etc. It was an extremely busy and challenging year, but I certainly felt ready to get into foregut and bariatric practice by the end. I am grateful to my mentors there for the experience.”

– Robert Cunningham, MIS/Bariatric Fellowship, 2018–2019

“I attended the Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) MIS/bariatric fellowship program from 2018 to 2019, and from the get-go two things were evident: 1. This was not for the faint of heart. 2. I was going to come out of this a completely different and better trained surgeon. Both were very true, but definitely worth it. My time at GMC prepared me not only to perform complex foregut and bariatric surgeries and revisions but changed my mindset toward every type of case. I can wholeheartedly say I would not be the surgeon I am today without my time at GMC and am indebted to them subsequently.”

– Jason Kuhn, MIS/Bariatric Fellowship, 2018–2019

“I came to Geisinger's minimally invasive surgery program for the breadth of experience that was there for the taking, and I found to be more than anything I had expected. The year I spent at Geisinger has become the cornerstone of my practice both from a technical and from an organizational standpoint. The training program is structured, very hands-on, with a graduated experience that culminated with my being able to perform complex revision foregut surgery by the year’s end. This is also founded on solid fundamentals of evaluation and management of foregut pathology and metabolic surgery. The training also allowed me to be an independent surgeon from the get-go in a private practice environment, with the majority of my cases being revision surgery. The training in surgical endoscopy, including exposure to submucosal dissection, has allowed me to build an advanced surgical endoscopy program in my practice as well. The fellowship also gave me experience with billing, coding and other aspects of practice management that have proven to be extremely valuable. The fellowship is rigorous, and with that I send a special shout-out to all the fantastic staff in the office making it a highly efficient and supportive work environment! Drs. Petrick, Gabrielsen and Parker were and have continued to be excellent mentors even two years out.”

– Jai Prasad, MIS/Bariatric Fellowship, 2017–2018

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