Minimally Invasive Surgeons of Texas (MIST) Fellowship Consortium

The MIST Fellowship Consortium, directed by Drs. Erik Wilson and Melissa Felinski is composed of five unique fellowship programs (four surgical fellowship programs and one clinical obesity medicine fellowship program). Fellows from each program will spend the majority of time with their accepted faculty but all fellows will have the opportunity to rotate through the practices of other groups to obtain their unique operative, clinical and academic experiences. The strength of the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston’s Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship Consortium is the power it brings through the depth and concentrated knowledge of the faculty, all of whom bring a wealth of advanced, broad-based laparoscopic experience. The consortium has graduated over 150 fellows to date.

McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston
Advanced GI/MIS and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship Program | Houston, Texas

Program Director: Erik B. Wilson, MD, FACS | Associate Program Director: Melissa Felinski, DO, FACS

Fellowship Information

This is the anchoring fellowship program of the MIST Fellowship Consortium. Two one-year Fellowship Council accredited positions in Advanced GI MIS/Bariatric Surgery are offered annually encompassing a comprehensive fellowship program including both clinical and research opportunities. We offer diverse experiences in all aspects of advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery as well as surgical endoscopy including comprehensive training in benign foregut surgery (including primary and revisional bariatric and reflux surgery, hiatal/paraesopheal hernias, and functional disorders of the esophagus and stomach (e.g., achalasia and gastroparesis), robotic surgery, and surgical endoscopy. In addition to routine flexible diagnostic and therapeutic upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy, the fellows also receive extensive training in advanced endoluminal surgery including endoluminal treatments for reflux and bariatrics, dilation, stent placement, and endoscopic fixed and adjustable gastric band removal. Training in advanced minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery, including laparoscopic colon surgery, hernia repair, and comprehensive training in minimally invasive techniques in complex acute care (non-trauma) gastrointestinal surgery is offered through this fellowship program. We offer fellows one of the most extensive experiences available in robotic surgery by working with more than thirteen highly experienced robotic general surgeons. The program is home to the Surgical Innovation and Robotics Institute (SIRI), one of the largest training programs for robotic surgery in the country. Fellows also gain educational experience in managing our laparoscopic training lab and laparoscopic training courses. Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center is home to the Surgical Innovation and Robotics Institute, one of the largest programs for robotic surgery training in the world. Applications to this program are accepted via the Fellowship Council.

McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston
Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Fellowship | Houston, Texas

Program Director: Jonah Stulberg, MD

We offer a one-year fellowship position in Abdominal Wall Reconstruction (AWR) which runs from August 1 – July 31 annually. The AWR fellow receives extensive training in the management of complex abdominal wall pathologies, including multiply recurrent hernias, loss of domain hernias, flank hernias, diaphragmatic hernias, enterocutaneous fistulas, and chronic mesh infections. The fellowship provides training in advanced minimally invasive hernia surgery, including r-TAPP, eTEP, and r-TAR, as well as complex open hernia repairs. The fellow will have over 150 robotic surgical cases and therefore there is the opportunity for the fellow to get certified as a Da Vinci robotic surgeon. The fellow also learns adjuncts to facilitate hernia repair, such as progressive preoperative pneumoperitoneum (PPP) and truncal botulinum toxin (Botox) injection. As part of the MIST Fellowship consortium, the fellow also can participate in several electives which provide additional training in minimally invasive foregut surgery (including bariatric and reflux surgery), surgical endoscopy, and minimally invasive colorectal surgery as requested by the fellow. Training takes place primarily at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center. In addition to the clinical experience, AWR Fellows participate in the extensive ongoing hernia research to gain an appreciation of the importance of lifelong learning as part of a healthy and productive clinical career. We do not participate in the Fellowship Council match. Interested candidates should email Tayna Vazquez.

Bariatric Medical Institute of Texas
Bariatric Surgery Fellowship Program | San Antonio, Texas

Program Directors: Richard Englehardt, MD and Frank Duperier, MD

Fellowship information

Two Fellowship Council accredited positions in Bariatric Surgery are offered annually encompassing a high volume clinical bariatric and advanced laparoscopy training fellowship. The fellowship is based out of BMI of Texas, which operates out of multiple hospitals in San Antonio, Texas. The fellowship is a part of the Minimally Invasive Surgeons of Texas (MIST) fellowship consortium, a collaboration of 4 MIS and Bariatric surgical fellowships in the Houston and San Antonio areas. As part of the fellowship, fellows will spend some time at the UT Health McGovern Medical School in Houston learning some advanced skills including DaVinci robotic surgery raining. The fellow will have access to several hundred bariatric cases over the year. Historically, we have done over 900 bariatric cases per year. Over 98% of these are laparoscopic cases. Fellows will learn gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch, revision surgery, adjustable gastric band management, and both diagnostic and therapeutic upper endoscopy. The fellow will be responsible for development of ongoing as well as the genesis of new clinical research. Additionally the fellow will be able to participate in a variety of advanced laparoscopic and robotic general surgery cases including anti-reflux surgery, splenectomy, adrenalectomy, and pancreatectomy. The fellow will have the opportunity to learn from several active bariatric surgeons as well as the other surgeons involved in the MIST consortium. The fellow will learn how to organize a complete bariatric program, including business development and marketing strategies. The fellow will learn the practical aspects of setting up a surgical practice including patient recruitment, setting up insurance contracts, and billing and collecting. Applications to this program are accepted via the Fellowship Council.

Houston Colon
Advanced Colorectal Surgery Fellowship Program | Houston, TX

Program Directors: Eric Haas, MD and Joshua Coursey, MD

Fellowship information

Two Fellowship Council accredited positions in advanced (minimally invasive) colorectal surgery are offered through this program. The minimally invasive colorectal fellowship program is intended for trainees who have successfully completed or intend to complete a colorectal surgery residency program accredited by the ACGME. International medical graduates who have not completed a general surgery residency program accredited by the ACGME and are not certified by or eligible for certification by the American Board of Surgery may also be eligible for training in a Fellowship Council accredited program. Successful completion of a Fellowship Council accredited advanced colorectal surgery fellowship DOES NOT under any circumstances qualify for eligibility for certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.

This is an advanced minimally invasive surgery (MIS) fellowship specializing in the field of colon and rectal surgery. Advanced MIS colorectal surgeons are trained to perform robotic and laparoscopic colon and rectal procedures and manage perioperative care. As such, minimally invasive skills will be achieved in robotic and laparoscopic techniques for colon, rectal, and anal procedures. The surgeons will also master natural orifice-assisted surgery (NICE Procedure) and transanal video-assisted techniques. The fellows will also have the opportunity to achieve a high level of competency in diagnostic and therapeutic lower endoscopy.

The Advanced MIS Colorectal Surgery fellows will work with 5 full time attending staff: Eric Haas, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Joshua Coursey, MD, Rachel Ellsworth, MD, Jean-Paul LeFave, MD, and Matthew Weaver, MD.

The following is a representative case volume over a 12-month period: Robotic/Laparoscopic colon and rectal procedures: 500 – 750 cases; Anorectal procedures (hemorrhoidectomy, fistula, fissure): 250 – 300 cases, Specialty colorectal (rectovaginal fistula repair, J-Pouch, sacral nerve stimulation, etc): 75 – 100 cases; Diagnostic and therapeutic lower endoscopy: 850 – 1000 cases.

Our program is part of the Minimally Invasive Surgeons of Texas (MIST) Fellowship Consortium which is comprised of four minimally invasive surgery fellowship programs and one clinical obesity medicine fellowship. MIS surgeons from the four surgical programs are granted elective rotations in which one can rotate on another MIS service to gain exposure into different techniques and anatomy. In addition, the MIST consortium holds a combined Journal club, M&M and research review on a monthly basis, which affords the opportunity to interact with multiple expert faculty. 
 The MIS colorectal fellowship maintains an active prospective minimally invasive database with dedicated research fellows to assist and enable clinical research projects. Our MIS surgeons are involved in publications and presentations at regional and national conferences throughout the year.

Applications to this program are accepted via the Fellowship Council.

Houston Northwest Medical Center
Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship Program

Program Director: Philip L. Leggett, MD | Associate Program Director: Seeyuen Jane Lee, MD

Fellowship Information

The fellowship program in minimally invasive surgery at Houston Northwest Medical Center is one of the first fellowships of its kind in the country, and is the longest running of the four surgical fellowship programs in the UTHealth Houston/MIST Fellowship Consortium.

Dr. Philip Leggett, who is a well-recognized early pioneer of laparoscopy in Houston, is the program director for this program that accepts 1-2 fellows annually. This fellowship offers a busy well-rounded experience in laparoscopic general surgery with both Drs. Leggett and Lee. There an emphasis on anti-reflux and bariatric procedures, and diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy (Stretta, RFA, EMR). However there is also a broad experience in a variety of general surgery cases, including elective foregut and hindgut, hernia, and head and neck. An acute care general surgery experience is incorporated into the program to allow fellows to develop their skills with more autonomy and help develop the fellows’ independence for future practice. There is the opportunity for Da Vinci robotic surgery training and certification. Interested candidates can apply directly to this program at