Fellowship Curriculum

The fellowship curriculum encompasses the areas of clinical medicine, research and career development, and supports our mission to train the next generation of academic neonatologists. The academic year is divided into 13 four-week blocks in accordance with ACGME training requirements. Over the three years of training, each fellow will complete one block of orientation, 13 clinical blocks and 22 research blocks. Each fellow may take up to four weeks of vacation each year.

Orientation program

The new fellow has a four-week clinical orientation program. The program includes:

First-year fellows also participate in shadowing senior fellows on the clinical services during this period.

Research orientation is focused into a common research block for all first-year fellows. In addition to overviews of research options in the Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, and Medical School, fellows receive introductory seminars in biostatistics, epidemiology, study design and developing a research hypothesis.

Clinical curriculum

The clinical curriculum consists of practical clinical experiences and didactic seminars that supplement bedside learning. The clinical rotations include:

Clinical rotations are supplemented by a rich series of didactic experiences. Every Wednesday afternoon, fellows are relieved of their clinical and research responsibilities to attend Wednesday Didactics. The clinical components of this schedule include:

Research curriculum

In addition to meeting the subspecialty training requirements for scholarly work, the program strives to provide an in-depth research experience for each fellow in keeping with our mission to train the next generation of academic neonatologists. A high quality experience may provide a foundation for a career in laboratory or clinical investigation. It also serves to develop an evidence-based approach to patient care, and establishes approaches for the life-long assimilation of future research into clinical practices.

The most meaningful research comes from within each fellow, yet incoming fellows are often ill-equipped to identify their research interests, either by topic or methodology (clinical, translational or basic). Research orientation as described above provides a directed approach for fellows to identify a topic for research, develop a hypothesis to be tested, and develop a research plan for years two and three of training. 

Each year fellows participate in an annual review by the Scholarship Oversight Committee. The committee consists of the director of Neonatology Research, Harry Ischiropoulos, PhD; the director of Neonatal Clinical Research, Barbara Schmidt, MD; an ad hoc member of the Division of Neonatology; and an external member from the medical school campus.

Fellows Journal Club

Fellows Journal Club is a monthly seminar in Wednesday Didactics that supports acquisition of tools necessary to complete a research project, and promotes an evidence-based approach to clinical care. Directed by Scott Lorch, MD, this seminar provides didactic and practical experience in biostatistics, clinical epidemiology and clinical study design. To reinforce concepts, the group reviews a current paper in clinical research which is presented by one of the fellows.

Career development curriculum

There are diverse academic paths in neonatology, including but not limited to physician-scientist, program director, division chief, NIICU director, site investigator for multicenter trials. Despite differences in job description, they all contribute to the evolution of neonatology towards improving the care and outcomes of our patients and their families. It is difficult in the busy clinical rotations to identify for fellows the components of an academic career.

Life After Fellowship

Life After Fellowship is a seminar series in Wednesday Didactics that was pioneered by  Roberta Ballard, MD, during her tenure as program director. The topics covered in this series have included:

Because teaching and communication are integral parts of a career in academic neonatology, we require fellows to participate in seminars offered by the Offices of Faculty and Professional Development at CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that are designed to foster these skills. Each fellow is encouraged to take at least one writing seminar focused on clinical manuscript, basic science manuscript or grant writing. Other seminars are chosen based on each fellow's strengths and weaknesses, and have included:

For more fellowship information, see conference schedules.

Updated April 2012

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