Jump to topic
The Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital features a balanced and individualized training curriculum executed in a supportive and resident-driven learning environment.
The program is ideally sized to offer a family-like atmosphere. As the only children’s hospital, pediatric intensive care unit and Level IV neonatal intensive care unit in the region, Penn State Children’s Hopsital offers a level of patient diversity, acuity and complexity that is comparable to, and may exceed that of, the largest children’s hospitals and pediatric residency programs in the nation.
Learn More about the Residency
Message from the ChairWelcome to the Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital!
Thank you for your interest in our program. Our vision is to train pediatricians for a fulfilling and sustained career improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents in Pennsylvania and beyond. Our children’s hospital has a long tradition as a collaborative and friendly group of faculty, nursing professionals and staff who bring exceptional care, medical education, research and advocacy to the central Pennsylvania region. We even have the honor of being the home to the only two academic medical center pediatricians to be named Pennsylvania AAP Pediatrician of the Year. We have opportunities for diverse local community involvement in rural, urban and suburban settings, and because we are situated only a short drive from the Pennsylvania capital, there are also opportunities to participate in Pennsylvania’s state-level commitment to children.
The medical field is changing; learning how to navigate health systems, excel in quality and safety innovation, participate in inter-professional collaborations, and be responsive to community needs are critical skills in today’s world. As interim chair of pediatrics, I am committed to ensuring that our residents are exposed to all of these important aspects of health care delivery and health advocacy. When you complete this program, you will be ready to meet the world confident and prepared, whether you are interested in joining a community practice; pursuing a career in research, advocacy or education; or continuing your training in one of our fellowships or in a fellowship at any institution across the country.
Sarah Iriana, MD
Interim Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Message from the Program Director
Thank you for your interest in the Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Our program prides itself on helping trainees develop the lifelong skills of goal-setting and self-directed learning within a curriculum that allows significant flexibility for individualization. Our residents are the driving force not only of their own professional development, but also in the continued evaluation and improvement of the residency experience with opportunities to participate in numerous committees focused on wellness, curriculum development, program evaluation, recruitment, patient safety, informatics and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Trainees are also given the opportunity to further develop their educator skills through lectures, electives and retreats offered by the Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education. No matter your interest, we will work hard to find educational opportunities to support your goals.
This is an exciting time to join the Penn State Health pediatric family. Our Children’s Hospital is currently undergoing a vertical expansion featuring a new NICU, postpartum area and expanded acute-care unit. We have been slowly increasing our residency class size during the past few years to accommodate this expansion.
Penn State Children’s Hospital was recently ranked in the top 50 for five specialties in the 2020-2021 U.S. News Best Hospitals Rankings. Penn State Health was also one of only 34 hospital and health systems named in Forbes Magazine’s 2020 “America’s Best Employers for Diversity.”
The town of Hershey, located 13 miles from the state capital of Harrisburg, is an easy and affordable place to live, where residents are able to rent apartments or purchase homes in safe neighborhoods with highly rated public schools all within a few miles of the hospital. Whether you want to ride one of the 15 roller coasters at Hersheypark, catch a country music concert at Hersheypark Stadium, laugh with your favorite comedian at the Giant Center, watch a musical at the Hershey Theater, cheer on the Hershey Bears hockey team, kayak the Swatara Creek/Susquehanna River, hike the Appalachian Trail, or relax at a local brewery, there is something in this region for everyone.
The Harrisburg/Hershey area is ranked 44th in the 2019 U.S. News “Best Places to Live” rankings. It is also within a short day’s trip to many major cities and attractions such as Baltimore (90 miles), Philadelphia (95 miles), Poconos Mountains (110 miles), Washington DC (135 miles), Shenandoah National Park (150 miles), New York City (160 miles), and Pittsburgh (215 miles). Learn more about the Hershey area here.
This is an exciting time to live and train in central Pennsylvania at Penn State Children’s Hospital, and we hope you consider joining us!
Aaron R. Shedlock, MD, FAAP
Program Director, Pediatric Residency
The program’s educational philosophy recognizes that each resident:
- Enters training with a unique array of knowledge, skills, attitudes and interests
- Develops along an individual trajectory toward competency
- Has specific personal and professional goals to achieve during residency
The curricular philosophy is to provide an appropriate balance between:
- General pediatric training and subspecialty training
- The inpatient setting and the outpatient setting
- Supervision and autonomy
- Personal responsibility/ownership and shared responsibility/teamwork
- Experiential learning and formalized classroom learning
- A mandatory curriculum and an individualized curriculum
- Time spent working and time spent thinking and reflecting
- The necessary rigors of residency and the promotion of resident wellness
The operational philosophy is that residents:
- Play a critical role in a constant cycle of program re-evaluation and improvement
- Are a leading voice in the evolution of the program over time
- Have a sense of ownership of the program
The aims of the program are to foster an effective, supportive and personalized learning environment in which each resident:
- Develops the skills necessary to be a successful self-directed learner
- Sets and achieves appropriate individualized learning objectives based on current skills as well as career goals
- Builds an individualized schedule that helps to meet their objectives
- Utilizes the support of coaches, mentors and/or program leaders to meet those objectives
- Is given the flexibility and support, and is taught the skills necessary, to achieve their wellness needs
- Feels a sense of ownership over the direction of the program
As a result, each resident should graduate as a well-trained pediatrician who is prepared for the next step in their career. Trainees are matched with one of seven expert coaches to help monitor clinical/academic progression, goal-setting and wellness throughout the entire residency.
General Application Information
Applications are considered without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The program sponsors J-1 visas only.
- Personal statement
- MSPE (dean’s letter)
- Medical school transcript
- USMLE or COMLEX scores
- Three to four letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom the applicant has worked
The program does not require a letter from the applicant’s department chair.
Interviews are by invitation only, and will be conducted from early November through January. Those who are invited for an interview will be notified by email and are asked to respond promptly so the program can best accommodate scheduling needs. The program team prefers to interview smaller groups each day in order to create a more personalized day.
All interviews will be conducted virtually during the 2020-2021 application cycle due to COVID-19.
The virtual interview day schedule may include:
- Introduction to the program (with program leadership)
- Interviews with program leadership and faculty
- Noon conference
- Program director question-and-answer session and wrap-up
Tour Penn State Children’s Hospital
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
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
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 opened in November 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
Welcome to Hershey
More About Hershey
Interested in learning more about living and working in Hershey, Pa.? See details here:
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 among residents and fellows, with multiple resources readily available.
Graduate medical education resources
The program knows that that residency can be a challenging time in any young physician’s life and so takes wellness seriously. The Pediatric Residency offers the following wellness initiatives:
- PAWS (Pediatric Administrative and Wellness Sessions) every other week focusing on the eight dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, spiritual, vocational, and financial)
- Timely debrief sessions following traumatic events such as codes, traumas or deaths
- Quarterly class wellness nights
- Biannual wellness half-days
- Semiannual residency wellness events
- Yearly class retreats
- House staff sessions every other week to discuss and address any resident concerns
- Resident families (assigned shortly after Match Day)
- Resident coaches (assigned upon arrival for intern year)
Penn State Health celebrates, embraces and supports the diversity of all patients, faculty, staff, students and trainees.
In keeping with this, the institution has an active Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with various programs, networks and resource groups, including:
- Regular talks and lectures on diversity, equity and inclusion
- Periodic town halls on topics such as eradicating racism and creating a culture of inclusiveness
- An allyship support group
- Many affinity resource network groups, including:
- Disability Affinity Resource Network Group
- Group on Women in Medicine and Science
- Interfaith Affinity Resource Network Group
- LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Resource Network Group
- Military/Veterans Affinity Resource Network Group
- Multicultural Affinity Resource Network Group
- A new organization specifically for trainees, the Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows
In addition, the institution does not tolerate discrimination, biases, microaggression, harassment or learner mistreatment of any kind, and any concerns are immediately addressed by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.
Each year, the Pediatric Residency chooses a delegate to local and national chapters of the Student National Medical Association/National Medical Association to help promote diversity initiatives and inspire resident/community engagement.
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital
500 University Dr., Mail Code H085
P.O Box 850
Hershey, PA 17033
The Pediatric Residency curriculum is designed around the educational needs of residents, rather than being dictated by the needs of the hospital.
As such, there is an appropriate balance of outpatient and inpatient experiences, and the program provides an extensive individualized curriculum that goes far beyond the minimum requirements of the ACGME.
The program’s goal is that each resident graduates as a competent outpatient and inpatient general pediatrician who is also well-prepared for the next step in their career. This balanced approach is reflected in the fact that approximately half of recent graduates went into either primary care or hospital medicine, while the other half pursued fellowship training.
In addition to clinical rotations, the resident educational curriculum includes daily noon conferences, a weekly protected academic half-day, weekly departmental Grand Rounds, a Residents as Educators lecture series and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lecture series.
Coaching Program Overview
Incoming residents are paired with one of seven expert coaches who are specially trained to listen and guide residents to success.
At minimum, residents will formally meet with leaders on this schedule:
- Continuity clinic preceptor – every week
- Chief residents – early in the fall of intern year
- Coach – three times a year
- Program director/associate program directors – twice yearly
- Director of individualized education – each winter (to choose electives)
Continuity clinic: Incoming residents are paired with a continuity preceptor to complete a three-year longitudinal primary care experience. Residents can choose this experience from one of five sites, ranging from a large academic hospital-based clinic to a more urban/underserved clinic to a more suburban/rural practice setting.
Adolescent medicine: The primary clinical site for this four-week rotation is the Milton Hershey School, a large, cost-free, private boarding school for children from families of low income and limited resources. The rotation also includes time in clinics for adolescent gynecology, opioids and eating disorders.
Community and advocacy: This four-week rotation includes clinical time at two pediatric clinics in Harrisburg, Pa., committed to serving children in under-resourced areas as well as in outpatient and inpatient child abuse settings. It also features a wide-variety of non-clinical experiences that expose residents to many community resources that can assist their patients. These experiences include spending time with:
- Lawmakers and lobbyists at the state capitol
- Penn State Law, working with a children’s advocacy program
- Children and Youth Services
- Home nursing
- Lactation services
- Pediatric rehabilitation/care coordination
- Early intervention
- Opioid clinic
- Pediatric dentistry
Also offered is dedicated time and training on how to complete a needs assessment in order to implement community-based changes benefiting the children of central Pennsylvania and beyond.
The first-year rotations are:
- Hospitalist team – six to eight weeks
- Inpatient gastrointestinal/cardiology/nephrology team – two to four weeks
- Inpatient pulmonology team – four weeks
- Neonatal ICU – four weeks
- Newborn nursery – two weeks
- Night team – six weeks (divided into three rotations)
- Acute clinic – four weeks
- Adolescent medicine – four weeks
- Community and advocacy – four weeks
- Emergency medicine – four weeks
- Individualized curriculum – six weeks
- Longitudinal continuity clinic
- Vacation – four weeks
Developmental/behavioral pediatrics: Led by one of the program’s most dedicated educators, this rotation includes time in a broadly focused developmental-behavioral clinic, plus time focused on:
- Sleep disorders
- Speech therapy
- Palliative care
- Feeding disorders
- Tic disorders
- Behavior modification
- Educational evaluation
- Brain injury
Pediatric surgical specialties: This rotation includes clinical time with cardiac surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, sports medicine, the concussion program, ENT (otolaryngology) and ophthalmology.
ED consult: This rotation is an opportunity that allows pediatric residents to be on the front lines of pediatric assessment, evaluation, treatment and care. When children in the Emergency Department represent a challenging case or will potentially need to be admitted, the ED consult resident evaluates and triages the patient, then works one-on-one with the pediatric hospitalist, pediatric intensivist and many of the pediatric subspecialists to formulate an appropriate plan of care, including:
- Admission criteria and decisions on bed placement and appropriate level of care
- Coordination with the outpatient transitional care clinic, especially for “diagnostic dilemmas” that don’t meet admission criteria but require continued workup and evaluation
- Discharge criteria and needed follow-up
The second year continues to offer a balanced curriculum, along with increased time for electives as part of the individualized curriculum. It also offers multiple early opportunities to be the senior resident leader of an inpatient team.
The second-year rotations are:
- Inpatient gastrointestinal/cardiology/nephrology team senior – two weeks
- Inpatient hematology/oncology/stem-cell transplant team – four weeks
- Inpatient pulmonology team senior – two weeks
- Neonatal ICU – four weeks
- Night team senior – six weeks (divided into three rotations)
- Pediatric ICU – four weeks
- Daytime ED consults – two weeks
- Developmental/behavioral pediatrics – four weeks
- Emergency medicine – four weeks
- Surgical specialties – two weeks
- Individualized curriculum – 14 weeks
- Longitudinal continuity clinic
- Vacation – four weeks
The third year purposefully allows for significant flexibility for residents to structure their individualized curriculum to best suit their needs before starting a first job or fellowship.
The third-year curriculum focuses on leadership opportunities and on the individualized curriculum. Although it appears as if most rotations are in the inpatient setting, most residents will spend the majority of individualized time in the outpatient setting, including a popular elective at the Milton Hershey School. The variable duration of many rotations shown here reflects a further attempt to individualize education in the program.
The third-year rotations are:
- Hospitalist team senior – four to eight weeks
- Inpatient gastrointestinal/cardiology/nephrology team senior – zero to two weeks
- Inpatient hematology/oncology/stem-cell transplant team – zero to four weeks
- Inpatient pulmonology team senior – zero to two weeks
- Newborn nursery team senior – two to four weeks
- Newborn resuscitation and procedures/NICU – two weeks
- Pediatric ICU – four to six weeks
- Resource resident – two weeks
- Acute clinic team senior – four weeks
- Daytime ED consult – zero to two weeks
- Overnight ED consult – two to four weeks
- Individualized curriculum – 18 weeks
- Longitudinal continuity clinic
- Vacation – four weeks
The ACGME requires pediatric residencies to provide 24 weeks of individualized education. The Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital places the needs of residents and their interests over the needs of the hospital and offers a total of nine and a half blocks (38 weeks) of individualized education, many of which can be broken up into two-week experiences.
In addition, variable scheduling on inpatient rotations in the third year creates another 10 weeks of somewhat individualized time.
Punit Jhaveri, MD, serves as the director of individualized education. In this role, he is given time away from his clinical responsibilities for the specific purpose of helping residents choose rotations for the following year.
The program can individualize certain rotations to coincide with the resident’s career goals. Note that the residency has purposely stayed away from “tracks” in the design of its curriculum. The program is large enough to offer virtually every possible rotation, but also small enough to design individualized programs without needing to rely on tracks.
Although there are a few rules to follow regarding the choice of rotations, most residents are simply able to take the desired rotations from this list or create and customize their own elective rotation to meet their individual goals:
- Acute clinic
- Adolescent medicine
- Complex care
- Eating disorders
- Emergency medicine
- Infectious diseases
- Life Lion
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Palliative care/hospice
- Pediatric surgery
- Private practice
- Sports medicine
- Urban primary care
- Weight management (obesity) clinic
Resident-led noon conferences occur four days a week, covering interesting clinical cases, primary care topics, journal club, research topics, quality improvement, health care disparities and board review.
An academic half-day consists of faculty-led didactics and simulation lab experiences on Thursday afternoons, with clinical coverage provided and pagers/phones held. These topics compose the core curriculum, repeating every 18 months, and are based on the board exam specification content outline of the American Board of Pediatrics.
Other educational opportunities include:
- Mock trial malpractice course, in collaboration with Penn State Law
- Residents as Educators lectures and courses (in partnership with the Woodward Center)
- Multifaceted clinical simulation center
- Global health opportunities, including institution-wide affiliation with Ghana
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lecture series and Inclusion Academy
- Research elective and mentorship, including the Physician Scientist Training Program
The multifaceted Clinical Simulation Center is a 9,500-square-foot space including some small encounter rooms, three larger bays, skills training areas and rooms for debriefing purposes.
Many educational opportunities are provided here, including a simulation instructor course (resulting in a certificate in simulation education), the Resuscitation Sciences Training Center and a standardized patient program. Along with full-bodied manikins of all ages, there are many types of clinical equipment in order to practice clinical diagnosis and treatment, as well as simulation scenarios such as procedures, surgery and trauma.
The Clinical Simulation Center is staffed for a majority of the day each weekday. The Pediatric Residency incorporates simulation lab didactics during one academic half-day each quarter.
In conjunction with Penn State College of Medicine, the Pediatric Residency offers many exciting opportunities to further trainees’ development as medical educators:
- Health Systems Science Academy (one PGY-2 trainee is chosen each year)
- Collaborative health systems science elective
- Woodward Center educator development resources and programs, including:
- Quarterly “Residents as Educators” core lecture series
- Quarterly “Teaching Champion” retreats
- Two-week cross-specialty medical education elective for residents
- Longitudinal “Hippocrates” and “Clinician Educator” medical education tracks
- Woodward Scholars program offering a 75 percent tuition discount on a graduate certificate (12 credits) or master’s degree (30 credits) in adult education from Penn State Harrisburg
The Exceptional Moments in Teaching program highlights outstanding resident and fellow teachers at Penn State Health. Residents from each class are also honored with teaching awards each year at graduation.
Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine have nationally recognized investigators with numerous grants and NIH funding in the fields of basic/bench, clinical, translational and health services research.
Through extensive individualized curriculum opportunities, residents have the ability to work alongside these researchers longitudinally and/or during research electives.
Those highly interested in a future research career can consider the Physician-Scientist Training Program to be matched with prolific research mentors and periodically meet with other budding clinical scientists to share ideas.
Approximately 50 percent of program residents participate in research during a given academic year. Residents have disseminated their research at the national, regional and local levels. Penn State Health’s Resident/Fellow Research Day is held yearly to showcase accomplishments.
Residents also have the opportunity to participate in numerous quality improvement/patient safety committees as well as complete projects with expert faculty. Lectures on quality improvement and patient safety are given throughout the year, and periodic workshops in quality improvement are offered.
Residents interested in global health have multiple opportunities at Penn State Health.
The most popular affiliation/elective is to Ghana.
- When: January or February
- Duration: Four weeks
- About the facility: The program takes place with Penn State Children’s Hospital’s clinical partner, Eastern Regional Hospital, a 350-bed hospital serving as the primary care center for the local community. It includes a six-bed ICU, lab, CT scan and X-ray. Many specialties are housed here.
- Rotation details: Experiences in NICU, pediatrics floors and pediatric outpatient clinics; upon return, participant experiences are shared during a Grand Rounds presentation before the end of the academic year
Resident Honors and Recognitions
Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center accept ongoing nominations for the Exceptional Moments in Teaching award.
The award, given monthly by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment, accepts nominations from College of Medicine students who are invited to submit narratives about faculty members, residents, fellows, nurses or any other educators who challenge them and provide an exceptional learning experience. See more about the award here.
Previous nominees from the Pediatric Residency are listed here. Click the + next to a nominee name to read their nominator’s comments.
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.
Previous presentations from the Pediatric Residency are listed here.