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Rheumatology Fellowship

Rheumatology Fellowship

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The Rheumatology Fellowship at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a two-year, ACGME-accredited program that admits one fellow per year.

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Program Details

The Division of Rheumatology, part of the Department of Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, proudly offers a fellowship designed to prepare individuals for a career in rheumatology. It is the program’s goal to achieve an optimal balance between clinical training, didactic learning and research activities.

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To Apply Expand answer

Interested applicants must apply through ERAS. The program participates in the National Residen Matching Program (NRMP) for selection of all candidates.

Each application is thoroughly evaluated by the rheumatology faculty. A limited pool of applicants is selected for interview based upon evidence of superior credentials as documented in the written application. Final selection of interviewed applicants is selected on the basis of overall perceived potential, communication skills, motivation and integrity. Interviews are invitation only.

Qualified candidates must:

  • have graduated from an accredited medical school
  • have successfully completed an ACGME-accredited residency training program
  • submit three letters of recommendation via ERAS (preferably, but not required, including one from a rheumatologist)
  • be eligible for Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine licensure
  • if on a visa, be on a J-1 visa, be ECFMG-eligible and have passed USMLE Step 3
Faculty and Staff 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 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

Learn more about Penn State Children’s Hospital

About Hershey: Benefits, Stipends and More Expand answer

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Welcome to Hershey

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

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More About Hershey

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

Wellness Initiatives Expand answer

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.

Institutional resources

Graduate medical education resources

Diversity Expand answer

Institutional Resources

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
    • NextGen
  • A new organization specifically for trainees, the Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows

Learn more about the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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.

Learn more about the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

Contact Us Expand answer

General Contact Information

Fax: 717-531-8274

Curriculum Details

First Year Expand answer

The first year of the fellowship is primarily focused on clinical training. During this year, the fellow splits their time between the inpatient consult service and the outpatient clinical experience. 

Under the supervision of a faculty attending physician, the inpatient fellow assumes responsibility for all consultations in addition to teaching medical residents and students. Consultation rounds take place daily with a team consisting of a faculty preceptor, the fellow, one or two medical residents, and one or two medical students. This arrangement provides critical longitudinal experience in rheumatic diseases, which are frequently chronic in nature.

During the months of outpatient rotation, fellows participate in daily clinics where they see a wide range of rheumatology patients under the mentorship of faculty members, as well as two half-day continuity fellow clinics a week at the main hospital, and one half-day clinic at the VA Hospital. The outpatient continuity clinic is individual-education-driven by dedicated faculty for one-on-one teaching and mentoring with the fellow.

During elective rotations, fellows participate in outpatient subspecialty clinics in rehabilitation medicine, musculoskeletal radiology, dermatology, pain management, orthopaedics and pediatric rheumatology.

During all rotations, fellows are expected to participate in regularly scheduled educational activities, which include weekly clinical conference, journal clubs, medicine Grand Rounds, a monthly radiology topics conference and a quarterly rheumatology research conference. 

Fellows participate in planning and giving talks to the department and division and participate in resident and student didactic sessions (e.g., Grand Rounds, noon conference), with additional time for this in the second year.

In addition to these clinical and educational activities, the first-year fellow is expected to develop and initiate a research and quality review project with the assistance of a faculty mentor.

Second Year Expand answer

The second year of training is divided between the inpatient service, outpatient clinical activity and lab or clinical research.

Participation in the continuity outpatient clinic remains throughout the second year. The expectation for the second year is to continue clinical learning as well as further development of research activities with the objective of presentation or publication of the results of this research.

Electives include radiology, sports medicine, lab medicine, musculoskeletal ultrasound training and others offered; electives can also be chosen by the fellow if there is a unique experience they are interested in.

Clinical Training Expand answer

Inpatient Consultation

The fellows’ activity during the inpatient rotation is providing hospital consultations requested from internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, family and community medicine and other services. 

This activity provides a broad exposure to clinical rheumatology while allowing ample time for careful follow-up reading and teaching. In particular, the fellow is routinely involved in the management of gout and other crystal arthritides, inflammatory arthritis, vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus and the initial diagnosis of suspected rheumatic disease.

The fellow is also expected to take inpatient pages and questions during the inpatient months.

Outpatient Clinics

Experience in the outpatient clinic is emphasized throughout the fellowship, since the majority of rheumatology practice occurs in the ambulatory setting. During the outpatient rotation, the fellows participate in general rheumatology clinics weekly. All are seen under the supervision of faculty attending physicians.

Three half-day continuity clinics per week will be staffed with a supervising physician, but the fellow will assume primary patient management of those patients through follow-up visits and between-visit phone calls and electronic messages. This helps to train with mentoring the expectation of being able to take care of rheumatology patients unsupervised at the end of the fellowship years in order to prepare for clinical practice.

Research Training Expand answer

Research training is a major focus of the Rheumatology Fellowship at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. While the program welcomes all well-qualified applicants, individuals with an interest in an academic career are particularly encouraged to apply. First-year fellows are introduced to the spectrum of research activities conducted within the division and by faculty members affiliated with the training program. Within the first three months of the fellowship, the fellow should be able to identify an appropriate research topic and faculty mentor. 

Fellows are expected to submit a brief research proposal within the first year in order to gain experience in devising an experimental plan. These research proposals are assembled with the guidance of the faculty mentor. Fellows may apply for extramural funding during the second year to support additional training. 

Attendance and presentations at national meetings are expected, and publications in peer-reviewed journals are anticipated.

Research opportunities for fellows range from basic laboratory bench research to clinical studies.

Ongoing research projects are examining early detection of autoimmune disease and mechanisms of action of anti-rheumatic drugs. Clinical trials in several disease areas are in progress. The division is represented in the Lupus Nephritis Trial Network and the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies Group.

Research activities are also facilitated by Penn State College of Medicine’s Clinical Trials Office and Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Conferences Expand answer

Fellow core rheumatology conference: In this weekly conference, core rheumatology topics are discussed. This is fellow-driven with faculty supervision and used for board preparation.

Journal club: In this monthly conference, relevant articles from the current literature are presented and critically reviewed with faculty and other members of the team, to include the fellow and rotating residents and medical students.

Rheumatology research conference: In this quarterly conference, members from the Division of Rheumatology or other basic or clinical divisions and departments present their rheumatology-related research data.

Radiology conference: In this monthly conference, clinical patient cases that involve radiological studies are reviewed with a musculoskeletal radiologist and findings discussed. This conference is attended by rheumatology faculty and rotating students and residents.

Patient topics conference: In this monthly conference, clinical patient cases are discussed along with a discussion revolving around management decisions with emphasis on education and evidence-based care related to chosen topics.

Quarterly quality conference: This is sponsored by the Department of Medicine.

Quarterly Morbidity and Mortality conference: This is sponsored by the Department of Medicine.

Rheumatology/nephrology conference: In this conference, the purpose will be to review cases that involve renal failure secondary to rheumatic disease. Best-practice standards as well as pathology of renal biopsies will be discussed.

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