Pediatric Residency

Program Overview

The Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital is a three-year, ACGME-accredited program that admits 13 residents per year.

Program Details

We sincerely hope that you will consider the unique combination of features that our Pediatric Residency Program offers.

Our state-of-the-art Penn State Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2013, is the only children’s hospital in central Pennsylvania. It houses the region’s only PICU, pediatric trauma program, and pediatric cardiac surgery program, and is home to the vast majority of the pediatric specialists in the region. This lack of local competition is a tremendous benefit to our residents, who are assured of caring for virtually every complex, critically ill or critically injured child in the region.

Our residents also encounter vast cultural diversity, since we are the children’s hospital for many Amish and Mennonite populations, large farming communities, the suburbs surrounding the state capital, and a number of cities with significant immigrant communities, including Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading and York.

At the same time, we are still close enough to the East Coast for easy day trips to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, each of which is located less than three hours away. Hershey also allows for very affordable living on a resident’s salary; many residents purchase homes, and those who rent often live in safe, high-quality apartments located very close to the hospital.

Given Hershey’s status as a major tourist destination and nearby Harrisburg’s position as the state capital, our area features many excellent restaurants, national concert tours, minor-league baseball and hockey teams, and the Hersheypark amusement park.

Contact Us

Program Welcome

Learn more about the Pediatric Residency from our leaders.

Department Chair’s Welcome

I welcome you to the Pediatric Residency at Penn State Children’s Hospital!

Leslie Walker-Harding, MD, Department Chair, PediatricsThank 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 State Capitol, 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 the Chair of Pediatrics, I am committed to ensuring that our residents are exposed to all of these important aspects of healthcare 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.

As the newly appointed Chair of Pediatrics, I have been impressed with the quality of our outstanding residents. They are integral to our department and have been fully engaged in helping to shape their own educational experiences.

In my short time here in Hershey, I have experienced what a wonderful community this is and how many opportunities exist here personally and professionally. I invite you to apply and see for yourself.  We are Penn State!

Leslie Walker-Harding, MD
Chair, Department of Pediatrics

Program Director’s Welcome

Our program is fortunate to operate in an excellent training environment created by a very committed faculty.

Brandon Smith, MD, Program Director, Pediatric ResidencyAlthough we do have fellowship programs, our hospital is fundamentally run by residents under the guidance of faculty members from every possible sub-specialty. Our faculty members actively participate in case conferences, give lectures, lead discussions, and prioritize the education of the residents.

As the residency director, it is my privilege to lead a dedicated team of pediatric educators who work hard to provide residents with the best possible education.

Jenn Miller (associate program director) leads our team of six “coaches” who have been given time away from their clinical duties to work especially closely with residents. The coaches, who come from a variety of pediatric specialties, are united around a common goal of helping each resident become the best possible pediatrician. The coaches meet regularly with each of their residents and also meet together as a group to learn new strategies from each other.

Debbi Kees-Folts (associate program director) leads a team of residents and senior educators who work together to evaluate and improve every aspect of the program. Residents are selected to serve on this team based on their own prior work in education or program improvement or their desire to learn those skills as preparation for a career in medical education.

Punit Jhaveri (director of individualized education) works with each resident to help create the optimal schedule based around the resident’s career aspirations as well as the resident’s current strengths and weaknesses. He is also starting to work with specific elective rotation directors to create a more individualized approach to the content of the electives.

Jody Ross (continuity clinic director) oversees the experience in our weekly continuity clinics. We are fortunate to be able to offer residents a number of different possible settings in which to have their clinic, including three academic sites, an urban under served clinic, and some private practice offices.

If you have questions about the application and interview process, please do not hesitate to be in touch with me at bsmith11@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or by phone at 717-531-5685.

Brandon Smith, MD
Director, Pediatric Residency

Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed around the educational needs of our residents rather than being dictated by the needs of the hospital. As such, we have an appropriate balance of outpatient and inpatient experiences, and we provide an extensive individualized curriculum that goes far beyond the requirements of the ACGME. Our goal is that each of our residents graduates as a competent outpatient and inpatient general pediatrician who is also well prepared for the next step in his or her career. This balanced approach is reflected in the fact that approximately half of our recent graduates go into either primary care or became hospitalists, while the other half pursue fellowship training.

Year 1 Curriculum Highlights

Underserved Medicine: This four-week rotation includes clinical time at the Children’s and Teen Clinic in Harrisburg and at two different child abuse clinics. 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:

  • Pediatric dentistry
  • WIC
  • Children and youth
  • Home nursing
  • Lactation services
  • Pediatric rehabilitation/care coordination
  • Early intervention

It also includes time meeting with lawmakers and lobbyists at the state capitol and time at the Penn State Law School working with a children’s advocacy program.

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 an adolescent gynecology clinic, at a teenage drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, and at an eating disorders clinic.

Curriculum

Traditionally, the first year of residency is focused heavily on inpatient rotations, with little time for electives. In our program, the first year is well balanced and purposely includes time for electives as part of the individualized curriculum.

In addition to four weeks of vacation, the first-year rotations are:

Inpatient

  • Hospitalist team – six weeks
  • Hospitalist team at Harrisburg Hospital – four weeks
  • Inpatient GI/Cardiology/Nephrology team – four weeks
  • Inpatient Pulmonology team – two weeks
  • Night team – four weeks (divided into two rotations)
  • Newborn nursery – two weeks
  • Neonatal ICU – four weeks

Outpatient

  • Acute clinic – four weeks
  • Underserved medicine – four weeks
  • Adolescent medicine – four weeks
  • Emergency medicine – four weeks

Individualized curriculum: six weeks

Year 2 Curriculum Highlights

Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics: Led by one of our most dedicated educators, this rotation includes time in a broadly focused developmental-behavioral clinic, plus time focused on:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiology
  • Palliative care
  • ADHD
  • Feeding disorders
  • PKU
  • Tic disorders
  • Autism
  • Behavior modification
  • Educational evaluation
  • Brain injury

Pediatric Surgical Specialties: This rotation includes clinical time with cardiac surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, sports medicine, concussion program, ENT, and ophthalmology.

Curriculum

The second year continues to offer a balanced curriculum, along with increased time for electives as part of the individualized curriculum. In addition to four weeks of vacation, the second year rotations are as follows:

Inpatient

  • Inpatient GI/Cardiology/Nephrology team – four weeks
  • Inpatient Pulmonology team – two weeks
  • Inpatient Hematology–oncology–stem cell transplant team – four weeks
  • Night team – four weeks (divided into two rotations)
  • Pediatric ICU – four weeks
  • Neonatal ICU – four weeks

Outpatient

  • Developmental/behavioral pediatrics – four weeks
  • Emergency medicine – four weeks
  • Emergency department consults – two weeks
  • Surgical specialties – two weeks

Individualized curriculum: 14 weeks

Year 3 Curriculum

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 very popular elective at the Milton Hershey School. The variable duration of many rotations shown below reflects a further attempt to individualize education in the program.

In addition to four weeks of vacation, the third year rotations are as follows:

Inpatient – 26 weeks

  • Hospitalist team – four to eight weeks
  • Hospitalist team at Harrisburg Hospital – zero to four weeks
  • Inpatient Hematology-oncology-stem cell transplant team – zero to four weeks
  • Night team – two to four weeks
  • Pediatric ICU – four to eight weeks
  • Newborn nursery – two to four weeks
  • Neonatal ICU at Harrisburg Hospital – two weeks

Outpatient – Acute clinic: four weeks

Individualized curriculum: 18 weeks

Individualized Education Philosophy

When the ACGME first announced that pediatric residency programs had to provide for six blocks (24 weeks) of individualized education, driven by the needs of the resident and not by the needs of the hospital, many programs were quite concerned. For our program, it was simply a validation of the approach we had always taken to electives. Our program currently offers a total of 9.5 blocks (38 weeks) of individualized education, many of which can be broken up into two-week experiences if desired. In addition, variable scheduling on inpatient rotations in the third year creates another 12 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. We are also currently working on how we might better individualize the experiences within certain rotations depending on the career goals of the specific resident enrolled that block. Note that we have very purposely stayed away from “tracks” in the design of our curriculum. We are a program that is large enough to offer virtually every possible rotation, but we are also small enough to design individualized programs without needing to rely on tracks.

Although there are a few minor rules to follow regarding the choice of rotations, most residents are simply able to take the desired rotations from the list below:

  • Abuse/neglect
  • Acute clinic
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Allergy/immunology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Eating disorders
  • Emergency medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Genetics
  • Hematology/oncology
  • Hospitalist
  • Infectious diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • NICU
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Palliative care/hospice
  • Pathology
  • Pediatric surgery
  • PICU
  • Pulmonology
  • Private practice
  • Procedures
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Research
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rheumatology
  • Sports medicine
  • Urban primary care
  • Weight management (obesity) clinic

To Apply

All applicants must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) by Dec. 1 and must register for a PL-1 position through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

Applications are considered without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. We sponsor J-1 visas only.

Application Requirements

  • Personal statement
  • MSPE (Dean’s letter)
  • Medical school transcript
  • USMLE or COMLEX scores
  • Three to four letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom you have worked

We do not require a letter from your department chairman.

Interviews

Interviews are by invitation only, and will be conducted from mid-October through mid-January. If you are invited for an interview, you will be notified by email, and we will ask that you respond promptly so that we can do our best to accommodate your scheduling needs. We prefer to interview smaller groups each day in order to create a more personalized day.

Interview days will begin at 7:45 a.m. and will conclude by 2 p.m.; the day will include a tour of the Children’s Hospital and lunch. There will also be an optional dinner the night before your interview at a local restaurant with some of our residents.

Faculty

Current Residents

Past Residents

Alumni from the Pediatric Residency have gone on to fellowships in several disciplines at elite institutions, including the following:

Allergy/Immunology Fellowship

  • University of Michigan – 2015
  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2014

Cardiology Fellowship

  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2016
  • LeBonheur’s Children’s Hospital – 2012

Critical Care Fellowship

  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2016
  • Rady Children’s Hospital, UCSD – 2016
  • Yale – New Haven Children’s Hospital – 2013
  • Texas Children’s Hospital – 2013
  • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at Milwaukee – 2012

Developmental Pediatrics Fellowship

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital – 2013

Emergency Medicine Fellowship

    Children’s Hospital of Michigan – 2015
  • University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital – 2014
  • Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics – 2012
  • DuPont Children’s Hospital – 2012

Endocrinology Fellowship

  • Emory Children’s Hospital in Atlanta – 2014
  • Miami Children’s Hospital – 2014
  • Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital – 2012
  • Rady Children’s Hospital, UCSD – 2012

Gastroenterology Fellowship

  • Riley Children’s Hospital Indiana University – 2015
  • Rady Children’s Hospital, UCSD – 2015>
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford – 2013
  • The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital – 2013

General Pediatrics

  • York, PA – 2016, 2015
  • Mechanicsburg, PA – 2016, 2014
  • Plymouth, MA – 2016
  • Allentown, PA – 2015
  • Miami, FL – 2015
  • Salt Lake City, UT – 2015
  • Lancaster, PA – 2014
  • Richmond, VA – 2014
  • West Chester, PA – 2014
  • Harrisburg, PA – 2013, 2012
  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA – 2013
  • Olney, MD – 2013
  • Vernal, UT – 2012
  • Inlet, SC – 2012

Genetics Fellowship

  • Children’s National Medical Center – 2013

Headache Medicine

  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2015, 2014

Hematology/Oncology Fellowship

  • Penn State Children’s Hospital – 2015, 2014
  • University of Florida – 2014
  • Primary Children’s Medical Center – 2013
  • Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center – 2013

Hospital Medicine

  • Penn State Health St. Joseph’s – 2016
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado – 2015
  • Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital UT – Houston – 2015
  • York Hospital in York, PA – 2015
  • Rockford Memorial Hospital in Illinois – 2014
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital – 2013

Infectious Diseases Fellowship

  • Children’s National Medical Center – 2015

Neonatology Fellowship

  • Yale – New Haven Children’s Hospital – 2016
  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – 2016

Nephrology Fellowship

  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan – 2012
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – 2012

Pulmonology Fellowship

  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – 2014

Rheumatology Fellowship

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – 2013

Sleep Medicine Fellowship

  • Baylor College of Medicine – 2016

Contact Us

Mailing Address

Penn State Children’s Hospital
600 University Drive, H085
P.O. Box 850
Hershey, PA 17033-0850