A Message from the Program Director

J. Michael Fuller, MD, M.Ed.


Michael Fuller, MD, M.Ed.

Program Director, Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship
Director of Faculty Development, Department of Medicine
Professor of Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

When I look back to why I wanted to become a physician, I realize that it was something I really wanted to do since elementary school.  I didn’t have anybody in my family that was a physician.  I did have some close family friends that were but I really enjoyed the sciences, interacting with and helping people and just realized that medicine was a great way to do that.  And that was only solidified and confirmed as I went through high school and college. 

One of the biggest questions facing medical education today is this:  In the setting of all the education reform and work hour restrictions, how do we provide innovative approaches to provide educational opportunities that advance knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a sufficiently broad manner.  And then how do we assess and provide the feedback regarding those proficiencies in such a way that we are able to confidently state at the end of their training that fellows are able to practice pulmonary and critical care medicine without supervision.

So, this is my challenge as I look at recruitment of fellows and faculty, develop the curriculum, and help mentor each fellow with their career choices as they evolve.

One of the advantages at Prisma Health is that our faculty has an incredible pool of knowledge.  But they also understand and foresee the changing future of medicine.  They acknowledge that much of what we teach today may be irrelevant in a few years so we really need to foster a desire for life-long learning as well.  They are able to really educate and mold learners to not only have the knowledge and skills to be a physician but to work and learn smartly and efficiently in the changing world of medicine and become great deliverers of health care.

I confidently say that we turn out as good a product or even better than any place else.

When I interview an applicant for our fellowship program, I’m really considering that I am asking them to enter into a family of sorts with us.  Fellows are going to be living and working very closely with us for several years.  By the time they are here interviewing, I already know that they have done well academically, they have outstanding letters of recommendation and they have fantastic outside interests.  So, what I am really looking for is someone who is going to fit well in the Prisma Health environment.  That they are going to be friendly, collegial, that they are going to work well with our outstanding group of students, residents and faculty — such that they are really just happy and it optimizes the learning environment for everyone.

It really is a given that we are going to train great physicians. Prisma Health provides great clinical material, very diverse patients, diverse diseases to learn from, and we have wonderful teachers.  Really the most satisfying part of my job is to watch these young physicians as they progress to become accomplished doctors and colleagues in whom I would really entrust the care of myself or my family.