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

A three-year ACGME accredited fellowship in child abuse pediatrics is included among Safe Place's many endeavors. The fellowship trains a pediatrician to become an academic leader in the growing subspecialty of child abuse pediatrics. The program is designed to provide the fellows with the pre-requisite training to become medical experts in all areas of child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect (supervisional, medical and nutritional), psychological maltreatment, and factitious illness by proxy.

The fellowship is targeted to physicians who intend to pursue careers in academic settings as clinicians, researchers and teachers. Fellows are encouraged to pursue formal coursework for advanced degrees in clinical epidemiology, health policy or public health at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • 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 and conducting activities and projects in consultation with the fellowship director and other faculty.

    Fellows are encouraged to pursue advanced degrees in clinical epidemiology, health policy or public health, with their masters' thesis scholarly efforts resulting in high-quality research implementation, analysis and dissemination.

    Various training grants are available at CHOP and Penn to provide the Child Abuse Pediatrics fellow with ample resources to be successful in these formative research training years.

    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 expected to enhance research skills with the expectation that he or she will obtain a master's degree in clinical epidemiology, health policy or public health. The fellow will be expected to publish in a peer-reviewed journal and write case reviews/chapters in the first and second year, and complete an experimental research by the end of the third year of the fellowship program.

  • 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 October 31, 2013. An interview may be scheduled after receipt of the above documentation during the months of September and October. Our program will participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for fellowship beginning July 1, 2014. The timetable for the Web-based match is as follows (refer to NRMP website for any changes/updates in timetable):

    • Match registration opens: August 7, 2013
    • Rank order list system opens: September 25, 2013
    • Rank order list system closes/final deadline: November 6, 2013
    • Match Day/Results: November 20, 2013

    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