Child Abuse and Neglect Fellowship

In 2001, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia inaugurated Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health. Safe Place coordinates the Hospital's many support services to further enhance the protection and health of maltreated children by establishing innovative and effective initiatives. Safe Place provides comprehensive, accessible and high-quality healthcare to children who have been maltreated and those in substitute care. Through a multidisciplinary team model, the center promotes safety, health and developmental well-being in the lives of vulnerable children. In addition to quality patient care, the center provides an organizational structure that fosters professional collaboration in research, education, patient care, prevention and advocacy.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia identifies and treats more victims of child abuse than any medical institution in Pennsylvania. Abused children are referred to the Hospital from physicians, hospitals, law enforcement and social service agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the state of New Jersey. The Children's Hospital Child Abuse Team was created in 1974. This multidisciplinary team consists of physicians, social workers, nurses, psychologists and other Hospital personnel who have a long-standing interest and extensive experience in diagnosing and providing intervention for maltreated children.

About the Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship Program

The primary goal of our program is to train fellows to become academic leaders in the growing subspecialty of Child Abuse Pediatrics. We define academic leaders as those who are excellent clinicians, who are skilled in the diagnosis and management of primary and secondary clinical manifestations of child maltreatment, and who are advancing the field by participating in research and/or education.

The Fellowship Training Program in Child Abuse Pediatrics at CHOP is a three-year program that provides trainees with strong clinical and research experience and prepares them to qualify for the subspecialty boards in Child Abuse Pediatrics. In the first year of the program, trainees focus on developing clinical expertise in the field. In the second and third years, trainees focus primarily on scholarly activities and on completing the academic training necessary to become a skilled clinician-scientist.

  • Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship Program faculty

    Fellowship Program Director and Safe Place Director

    Philip V. Scribano, DO, MSCE
    Division of General Pediatrics

    Fellowship Associate Program Director/Research Director

    Joanne N. Wood, MD, MSHP
    Division of General Pediatrics

    Chair, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention

    Cindy W. Christian, MD
    Division of General Pediatrics

    Division Chief

    Louis M. Bell, MD
    Division of General Pediatrics

  • Specific information by years and/or rotation

    Year one

    The first year is a clinical year, with the fellow focusing on ambulatory and inpatient care as well as participating in all clinical activities associated with the fellowship.

    Developed to ensure the ACGME core competencies are achieved within each rotation, the fellow will develop an emerging expertise in the evaluation and management of a diverse array of child maltreatment conditions. Knowledge gained through practice-based learning will enable the fellow to understand and determine a comprehensive differential diagnosis for these conditions. Multidisciplinary team meetings, with progressive responsibility in leading those meeting discussions provide the fellow with substantive systems-based practice and communication skills.

    Years two and three

    The fellow continues to engage in clinical activities, with the added concentration of research training. Research participation is one of the requirements for certification in Child Abuse Pediatrics. It also helps us meet our goal of producing graduates who will become academic clinician-scientists. During the second and third years of the fellowship, each fellow will undertake a specific research project or projects under the guidance of a mentor. The program director and research director will help each fellow select an appropriate project and mentor. The fellow will attend project-specific conferences and the standard clinical case conferences, safety and quality improvement conferences, and research conferences.

    Throughout the fellowship, the fellow will achieve mastery in presenting to small and larger groups using various teaching methods and formats to develop her/his teaching skills as an academic physician. Didactic presentations, journal clubs and case-based teaching to medical students, pediatric and surgical residents, allied health professionals, law enforcement personnel, social workers and lawyers in the area of child maltreatment will foster this important skill.

  • Research expectations and opportunities

    The fellow is provided training to enhance research skills either through our certificate program or in formal coursework to obtain a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology, health policy or public health. The fellowship goal is for each fellow to submit at least one manuscript describing his or her research experience to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. Additionally, book chapters, case reports and other scholarly activities are often completed by our fellows. 

  • General information on outcomes of fellows

    Past trainees continue their active involvement in the field and many have become nationally recognized for their work with abused children. The fellowship has provided a diverse child-abuse-pediatrics faculty as clinician-educators, advocates, researchers, and policy experts. Our graduates have had a significant influence in the field as national leaders through their ongoing scholarly activities.

  • Multidisciplinary conferences and meetings

    The fellow is involved with a variety of multidisciplinary teams, including:

    • The Philadelphia Children's Alliance was developed to provide joint police and social service interviews and mental health evaluations for children who are victims of sexual abuse. The fellow participates in biweekly case conferences of children seen at the PCA.
    • Bucks County and Montgomery County Child Advocacy centers: These centers provide service to the outlying counties of Philadelphia. Our faculty provides medical evaluations to children referred from these centers and the fellow participates in the care and monthly case reviews.
    • The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research: The Field Center brings the many resources of the University of Pennsylvania together to integrate policy, research and practice toward the goal of preserving children's developmental potential and assuring that America's children are safe and secure in their own homes and communities. The fellow participates in ongoing initiatives of the Center.
    • Philadelphia Child Fatality Review Team/Act 33: The team was developed in 1993 and provides multidisciplinary evaluations of all children who die or experience near fatality in Philadelphia County. The fellow participates in monthly meetings held at the Medical Examiner's Office.
    • Medical Legal Advisory Board on Child Abuse: The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office brings together pediatricians, pathologists, radiologists, law enforcement agents, lawyers and other professionals to improve state legislation regarding child abuse. The board reviews difficult abuse cases to improve the prosecution of individuals who abuse children. The fellow attends meetings, participates in reviewing cases and learns about the politics of child abuse work.
    • Subcommittee on Children in Substitute Care of the Children's Health Coalition: This Philadelphia-wide policy collaborative addresses system-wide barriers to health services of children in substitute care in order to improve the city's response to children's needs.
  • How to Apply

    Applicants to the Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship are selected through the National Resident Matching Program with applications processed through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS System). The fellowship program begins on July 1.


    • Graduate of a United States or Canadian medical school
    • If not a graduate of a U.S. or Canadian medical school, have completed one year of formal training in a U.S. hospital accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
    • Completion of residency training in a program approved by ACGME
    • Eligible for board certification in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics

    Application requirements

    The following must be received prior to consideration of your application:

    • A completed application form through ERAS
    • Current photograph
    • Medical school transcript
    • Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate number and visa information, if a foreign medical graduate
    • Three letters of recommendation from physicians familiar with your professional work
    • Curriculum vitae (as part of ERAS application)
    • USMLE scores. Successful applicants must have passed all three portions of the USMLE prior to beginning the fellowship
    • Personal statement (one page)

    All application materials must be received through ERAS by the Fall match deadline listed by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). An interview may be scheduled during the months of September through November after the timely receipt of application materials.

    Our program will participate in the NRMP for fellowship each year unless otherwise listed on the NRMP website. The timetable for the Web-based match changes slightly each year. Refer to NRMP website for each year’s timetable. The Fall match will occur in the month of December.

  • Tobacco-free hiring policy

    To help preserve and improve the health of our patients, their families and our employees, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a tobacco-free hiring policy. This policy applies to all candidates for employment (other than those with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey) for all positions, including those covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    Job applicants who apply after July 1, 2014 will be expected to sign an attestation stating they’ve been free of nicotine or tobacco products in any form for the prior thirty (30) days. They will also undergo a cotinine test as a part of the Occupational Health pre-placement drug screen administered after the offer of employment has been accepted but before the first day of hire.

    Exemptions: Attending physicians (excluding CHOP physicians in the Care Network), psychologists, principal investigators and/or Penn-based faculty are exempt from this process to better align with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Reviewed on February 25, 2014