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Infectious Disease Fellowship

Infectious Disease Fellowship

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The Infectious Disease Fellowship at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a two-year, ACGME-accredited program (with an optional third year offered on an individual basis) that admits two fellows per year.

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Program Details

The Infectious Disease Fellowship at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is fully accredited by the American Board of Internal Medicine and offers broad experience in the care of inpatients and outpatients with infectious diseases, including the care of patients with HIV/AIDS.

Hershey Medical Center is a busy tertiary-care hospital with a trauma center and stem cell and solid organ transplantation programs, which provide a wide range of infectious disease clinical case scenarios. Additionally, the patient population allows for the management of immunocompromised and critically ill patients.

The Division of Infectious Diseases, part of the Department of Medicine, is able to provide fellows with excellent clinical training as well as provide clinical and laboratory research opportunities.

The comprehensive care program for patients living with HIV follows more than 700 patients and provides services on the main campus and five satellite sites in the region. Approximately 70 to 80 new patients are seen annually. The comprehensive care clinic is a recipient of a Ryan White Part C grant, allowing the program to extend care to rural areas. Patient management is facilitated by QuickData/HIV, a comprehensive HIV data management tool developed at the medical center. This provides excellent training and management of patients living with HIV, including the provision of primary care services, antiretroviral and opportunistic infection management.

The Division of Infectious Diseases runs a busy, varied and interesting infectious diseases outpatient clinic with a wide diversity of clinical cases. The division has formed a dedicated orthopaedic infection co-management service that includes a large population of both inpatients and outpatients. Outpatients are seen in direct collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons. This provides experience in the management of a wide range of infectious disease problems, including the follow-up of inpatients and experience in the management of outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT). The OPAT program includes an innovative database tool (QuickData/OPAT) for efficient information management.

Clinical or laboratory research opportunities are available in the laboratories of several of faculty members, as well as training in infection control.

Penn State College of Medicine offers two programs, funded by NIH K30 grants, specifically designed to provide clinical research training for physicians. Second-year fellows may enroll in a one-year program leading to a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research. At the discretion of the advisory committee, this may be continued for an additional year to include a mentored clinical research project, leading to a Master of Science in Health Evaluation Sciences. A Master of Public Health program is available for fellows interested in infectious-disease epidemiology.

The program’s fellows have fared extremely well in their certifying ABIM board exams for infectious diseases. Since 2009, the pass rate for first-time takers among all graduates from the program is 94 percent (one did not pass on first try, passed on second try). The program attributes this high pass rate to the comprehensive training built into the program.

Penn State College of Medicine boasts friendly and approachable faculty members who are committed to teaching and ensuring that graduating fellows are comfortable and competent at providing world-class care for those with infectious diseases.

Flexibility exists in the curriculum to tailor clinical or research months to an individual fellow’s interests and career goals. For example, fellows are encouraged to organize elective periods overseas in developing country settings, and have traveled to Kenya and India to gain infectious disease experience in unique settings. The program is exploring the establishment of clinical electives in Panama City, Peru and Ghana.

Learn More about the Fellowship

To Apply Expand answer

General Application Information

The Infectious Disease Fellowship welcomes informal inquiries via email to Dr. Tonya Crook, Program Director, or by calling 717-531-8881

The program accepts applications only through the ERAS System.

Interview Process

Candidates selected for interview will be contacted by mid-September to arrange an interview between September and October. All interviews are being held virtually in light of COVID-19.

Faculty Expand answer
Current Fellows Expand answer
Past Fellows Expand answer
About Penn State Health Expand answer

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Virtual Tour

A new-for-2020 virtual tour showcases locations across Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

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Penn State Health

Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to improve health through patient care, research, education and community outreach.

In December 2017, the system partnered with Highmark Health to facilitate creation of a value-based, community care network in the region. The shared goal of Highmark and Penn State Health is to ensure patients in the community are within:

  • 10 minutes of a Penn State Health primary care provider
  • 20 minutes of Penn State Health specialty care
  • 30 minutes of a Penn State Health acute care facility

Learn more about Penn State Health

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine campus is seen in an aerial photo on a sunny day.

Penn State Children’s Hospital (left), Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (center) and Penn State Cancer Institute (right)

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

500 University Dr., Hershey, Pa., 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • The health system’s 548-bed flagship teaching and research hospital
  • The only medical facility in Pennsylvania accredited as both an adult and a pediatric Level I (highest-level) trauma center
  • Dedicated surgical, neuroscience, cardiovascular, trauma and medical intensive care units
  • Accredited Life Lion critical-care transport providing more than 1,100 helicopter and approximately 750 ground ambulance transports per year
  • More than 1,300 faculty members and more than 650 residents and fellows
  • Approximately 28,500 admissions, 75,000 emergency department visits, 1.1 million outpatient visits and 32,000 surgical procedures annually
  • Designated as a Magnet hospital three times

Learn more about Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Penn State Children’s Hospital

600 University Dr., Hershey, Pa. 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • A five-story, 263,000-square-foot-facility built in 2013
  • Three-floor expansion due to open in 2020
  • Level IV (highest-level) neonatal intensive care unit
  • Level I (highest-level) pediatric trauma center designation
  • Dedicated pediatric operating rooms
  • More than 150,000 pediatric outpatient visits and approximately 5,000 pediatric patient discharges annually

Learn more about Penn State Children’s Hospital

About Hershey: Benefits, Stipends and More Expand answer

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A new-for-2020 guide to the Hershey, Pa., area showcases the highlights of life in central Pennsylvania.

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Interested in learning more about living and working in Hershey, Pa.? See details here:

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Fellow wellness, including emotional, spiritual, social and physical health, is a crucial component to training and to becoming a professional, compassionate and resilient physician. Self-care is a skill which must be continually practiced and reinforced. Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health are committed to addressing wellness, with multiple resources readily available.

Institutional resources

Graduate medical education resources

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Curriculum Details

Curriculum Overview Expand answer

Each fellow meets with the program director at the start of the fellowship for arrangement of the first 12 months and preliminary discussion of the second 12 months.

The first 12 months are largely clinical, while the second can be focused in clinical or laboratory research. A third year of fellowship may be available for special projects and will be arranged individually with the program director.

Fellow Research Expand answer

These are the research expectations for fellows in infectious diseases:

  • Each fellow will be required to complete at least one clinical quality improvement project during their fellowship.
  • Each fellow will be required to complete at least one research project during their fellowship.
  • Each fellow is strongly encouraged to have completed a project during their fellowship that will eventually lead to a publication. That publication can be their research project, their clinical quality improvement project or a case report.
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Clinical Rotation Overview

The Infectious Disease Fellowship provides extremely strong clinical training in order to ensure that graduating fellows are comfortable and competent at managing complicated clinical problems.

Fellows are required to complete a minimum of 12 months on core clinical rotations. In addition, significant flexibility is present and every effort is made to provide individual fellows with the opportunity to explore their own clinical interests including at the discretion of the program director, arranging outside rotations.

Clinical Experience Overview

  • Inpatient consults at Hershey Medical Center (11 months)
  • Inpatient consults at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital (one month)
  • Outpatient infectious disease clinics (elective) (one month)
  • Inpatient/outpatient pediatrics infectious disease elective (one month)
  • Fellows’ continuity clinic (one half-day per week throughout duration of fellowship)
  • Microbiology

Inpatient Consults at Hershey Medical Center

These are the core rotations for the fellowship program and are divided into two services: General infectious diseases and transplant/orthopaedics infectious diseases.

During the course of the fellowship, each fellow will generally complete six months of general and five months of transplant/orthopaedics infectious diseases.

The general team consists of an infectious diseases attending physician, infectious disease fellow and varying numbers of medical residents and students along with members of allied health services, such as pharmacy. The team is responsible to consult on and follow patients with infectious disease problems throughout all inpatient services at the medical center, including patients with complex medical and surgical infections located in standard and intensive care beds. This includes patients with malignancy, stem cell transplant and other forms of immunocompromise, with the exception of patients with solid organ transplants and orthopaedic infections.

The transplant/orthopaedics infectious disease team rounds with both the transplant infectious disease attending and the orthopaedics infectious disease attending and consults on patients with orthopaedic infections and those who have had or will soon have a solid organ transplant.

Inpatient Consults at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital

UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital is a large community-based hospital in downtown Harrisburg, Pa., approximately 12 miles from Hershey Medical Center. Consult cases tend to be somewhat less complex but equally interesting. Fellows working on the Harrisburg Hospital infectious disease service perform in a similar way to the Hershey service.

Outpatient Infectious Disease Clinics

This rotation includes half-day clinic sessions at a variety of clinical sites that include exposure to the following groups of patients: HIV/AIDS, orthopaedic infections, travel medicine and sexually transmitted diseases. Clinic sessions take place at the East Campus (orthopaedic infections), Front Street (HIV/AIDS, travel medicine, STDs) and Lebanon/Altoona (HIV/AIDS). A hepatitis B and C clinic experience with the hepatology service may also be available depending upon availability and continuity clinic schedule conflicts.

Inpatient/Outpatient Pediatrics Infectious Disease Elective

This rotation exposes fellows to the full spectrum of pediatrics infectious diseases and includes inpatient consultations as well as selected outpatient clinics both in general pediatric infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS.

Fellows’ Continuity Clinic

Each infectious disease fellow is assigned to one half-day continuity clinic per week throughout their two years of clinical training. Patients are not pre-selected by disease type, but consist of a mix of HIV and general infectious diseases, including the follow-up of infectious disease inpatients and care of patients receiving outpatient parenteral antibiotics.

Fellows are assigned new patients and are expected to follow these patients during the entire training period. At least one new patient each week is scheduled in every clinic. Supervision of each fellow is provided by a designated faculty member who is constantly present in the clinic.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Rotation

The Infectious Disease Fellowship implemented an antimicrobial stewardship rotation for all fellows beginning in 2015, overseen and instructed by Dr. Michael Katzman, who directs the institution’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP). Dr. Katzman has become widely recognized for the organization and discipline he has brought to the ASP. He has been elected to the ranks of Distinguished Educators by Penn State College of Medicine and the program has quickly become a favorite among fellows. Fellows learn as much about infectious disease during their time on this rotation as they do while on the inpatient rotation since, in order to make judgments about the appropriateness of antibiotic use, they need to continuously review treatment guidelines and primary literature. This rotation improves year after year.

Infection Control

Fellows are required to complete the IDSA-sponsored Infection Control Lecture series online; this will generally be accomplished during a non-clinical rotation during the first year.

Fellows are also invited to attend the weekly infection control meetings that take place on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 11 a.m. Specific ongoing infection control issues are discussed and analyzed during this weekly meeting. 

Fellows are also invited to attend the monthly Infection Control Committee meetings, during which general issues of infection control policy and procedures are discussed.

Microbiology

An orientation to the clinical microbiology laboratory takes place each August for first-year fellows. Multidisciplinary microbiology rounds take place each week on Tuesday mornings, during which both faculty and fellows (those on and off clinical service) participate with the microbiology lab staff in reviewing specimens from patients on service and other interesting specimens seen in the lab each week. Rounds are conducted by the director of clinical microbiology and are considered some of the best teaching rounds in the country.

The program uses a high-definition overhead monitor connected to a microscope (to review slides) and to a dissecting scope (to review plates). Graduating fellows finish the program with a broad understanding of clinical microbiology. A separate Friday fellows-only teaching session is conducted by the clinical microbiology team.

Click here to a see a video from the American Society for Microbiology about a clinical microbiology lab.

Outside Rotations

Fellows with a particular interest in a clinical area may arrange to spend an elective period at an outside institution. For example, several fellows have chosen to spend time overseas in a developing country setting, to increase their experience with tropical infections.

Conferences Expand answer

Fellows have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of clinical and basic science research conferences in the infectious diseases and microbiology and immunology areas, and the College of Medicine and medical center as a whole, including:

Clinical Infectious Diseases Conference

4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Every fellow is expected to attend these conferences each week. This is a clinical conference during which faculty, fellows, residents and students present and discuss clinical cases or guidelines.

Journal Club

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. the second Friday of each month

Every fellow is expected to attend these conferences each month and present on a rotating basis.

Core Curriculum Conference

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursdays

Each fellow is expected to attend these conferences each week. A two-year schedule of infectious disease-related topics is covered during this conference. These topics are meant to inclusively cover all infectious disease-related topics during a two-year fellowship and to serve as a basis for board review.

HIV/AIDS Conferences

8:30 to 10 a.m. the third Friday of each month

This conference consists a schedule of HIV-related topics followed by a team meeting consisting of case presentations primarily involving genotypes/antiviral histories to determine appropriate changes to treatment, as well as interesting cases of AIDS-related complications, along with review of important HIV/AIDS literature. It is conducted by one of the HIV physicians on a rotating basis to review general topics in HIV medicine. A series of introductory lectures for first-year fellows takes place each August.

Research Conference

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. the third Friday of each month

This conference is designed for brainstorming of research and/or program improvement projects for the fellows, monitoring progress of such projects and presenting data (whether preliminary or at the polishing stage before formal presentation or submission for publication).

ACGME Core Competencies Lecture Series

7 a.m. the first Thursday of each month

The objective of the lecture series is to provide an institutionally sponsored didactic program, aimed at covering some of the core topics inherent in the ACGME competencies. These conferences should be considered mandatory. Since they are available online, they can be viewed at a later time. Learn more about the ACGME Core Competencies Lecture Series.

Fellow Honors and Recognitions

Resident/Fellow Research Day Presentations Expand answer

The annual Resident/Fellow Research Day is held each summer on and around the Penn State Health Milton S. Medical Center campus in Hershey, PA.

The intent of the event is to provide an opportunity for residents and fellows to showcase their research accomplishments to their peers in other clinical departments, as well as their colleagues in the basic sciences.

Learn more about Resident/Fellow Research Day here.

Previous presentations from the Infectious Disease Fellowship are listed here.

Latest News from the Division of Infectious Diseases

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