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.
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.
The first year of the fellowship is primarily focused on clinical training. During this year, the fellow splits his/her 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, the 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.
During elective rotations, fellows participate in outpatient subspecialty clinics in Rehabilitation Medicine, 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, Medical Grand Rounds, a monthly Radiology Topics conference, and a quarterly Rheumatology Research conference. Fellows participate in planning and giving talks to the department, division, and by participating in resident and student didactic sessions (e.g., grand rounds, noon conference) with additional time for this in the second year.
In addition to the above clinical and educational activities, the first-year fellow is expected to develop and initiate a research project with the assistance of an assigned faculty mentor.
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 ultrasound and others offered and chosen by the fellow.
Training opportunities in the Rheumatology Fellowship include clinical practice, research and didactic conferences.
The fellows’ activity during the inpatient rotation is providing hospital consultations requested from the medicine, surgery, OB/GYN 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.
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.
Two 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 in-between visit phone calls and electronic messages.
Research training is a major focus of our fellowship program. While we welcome all well qualified applicants, we particularly encourage individuals with an interest in an academic career 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.
Core Rheumatology Conference: In this weekly conference, core rheumatology topics are discussed. This is fellow-driven 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 of chosen topics.
Quarterly Quality Conference: This is sponsored by the Department of Medicine.
Quarterly M and M 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.
Interested applicants must apply through ERAS. Our program participates in the 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.
Deadline for applications is Nov. 1.
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)
- be eligible for Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine licensure
- if a foreign applicant, be ECFMG-eligible and have passed USMLE Step 3
General Contact Information
Penn State Health also offers
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
- Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship
- Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Fellowship
- Infectious Disease Fellowship
- Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
- Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship
- Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship
- Nephrology Fellowship
- Interventional Cardiology Fellowship
- Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship
- Internal Medicine Residency
- Interventional Pulmonology Fellowship
- General Internal Medicine Fellowship