Montefiore Einstein Department of Medicine

Dr. Barry Fomberstein to Assume New Rheumatology Role

Dr. Barry Fomberstein Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Barry J. Fomberstein, MD

On October 15, 2014, after 22 years of service as Associate Program Director and Program Director of the Montefiore Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Wakefield Campus, Dr. Barry Fomberstein will transition program leadership duties to Dr. Grace Kajita.

Dr. Fomberstein is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine (Rheumatology) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a practicing rheumatologist at Montefiore Medical Center. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1976, and did his residency and fellowship at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Prior to arriving at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in 1992, he was a full time attending for nine years in the Department of Medicine at St John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, where he first became actively involved in the process of residency training. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), as well as a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology (FACR).

Following are a few of Dr. Fomberstein’s thoughts on his years spent leading the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

The Growth of a Program

I came to the Wakefield Campus as Associate Program Director in 1992, back when it was known as Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, and I became Program Director in 1996. So much has changed since then, it’s hard to know where to begin, but there are a few things that stand out to me about our residency program now.

We continue to draw very highly qualified applicants, and our numbers have risen significantly—last year, we had over 3500 applications for about 30 spots. 

Our residents’ career choices are changing. Years ago, most of our trainees went on to internal medicine or a subspecialty practice. Fewer and fewer go directly into subspecialty now directly after completing their residencies; many now work as hospitalists initially, and some may move on to fellowship positions later on in their careers. This is reflective of residency programs in other parts of the country as well—“traditional” general internal medicine practice as we knew it several decades ago is becoming far less common.

We were one of the first residency programs to implement a performance improvement (PI) rotation, which began in July 2007 with formalized training to assess and prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as well as monitor the management of pneumonia, myocardial infarction and heart failure (the so-called “core measures”) in all Department of Medicine hospitalized patients. In the performance improvement elective, data is collected on an ongoing basis, and analyzed to identify performance patterns where opportunities for improvement might be present. Additionally, the PI data were expanded to included immunization status (pneumonia and influenza), as well as the presence of Advance Directives.

Our Strengths

Our residency program is user friendly. Unlike some programs where the residents don’t have many opportunities to meet directly with program leadership, we have a policy of transparency and “open doors”. No matter how senior our positions, our residents can talk to us any time and we will go out of our way to accommodate them.

We have an excellent teaching program. Our faculty members are strongly committed; many have been working here for a long time. We know each other well, and that makes for a very pleasant work environment. We also have a high board pass rate: over the past decade, nearly all of our residents have passed their boards on their first attempt.

World-Class Travel—Without Leaving the Bronx

One of my favorite aspects of leading our residency program has been the opportunity to talk with prospective residents during the recruitment process. Many of our residents come from overseas; though I don’t often travel myself, I have learned so much about India, the Middle East, the Far East, and Eastern Europe by listening to our applicants talk about their cultures and the enormous sacrifices they made to leave their homes in order to have the opportunity to train in the United States. These individuals’ dedication to furthering themselves, their families, and the field of medicine has always been remarkable to me.

My Next Step

While there are many things I will miss about leading the residency program here at the Wakefield campus, I look forward to the opportunity to become more deeply involved in my subspecialty, rheumatology. As a full-time attending physician in the Division of Rheumatology, I will spend much of my time here at the Wakefield campus, while I will also be practicing at Bronx East on Westchester Avenue and at the Moses clinic.  Although I will have a different role, I assure everyone that I will maintain a presence at the Wakefield Campus, which has truly been my second home for more than twenty years, and hopefully for many more to come.

Click here to log in