Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program

Overview

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Allergy and Immunology Fellowship is a three-year program designed to prepare pediatricians for careers in academic pediatric allergy and immunology. The first year is dedicated to clinical training. The second and third years emphasize research training in either the clinical or basic sciences.

Although there are separate programs for trainees who have completed pediatric or internal medicine/pediatricians residency through CHOP and those who have completed internal medicine or internal medicine/pediatricians residency through the Hospital of the University (HUP) of Pennsylvania, our programs work collaboratively to provide comprehensive clinical training and exposure to adult and pediatric patients.

During the clinical rotations, fellows work with our group of standing and accomplished faculty, including 19 attending allergists and seven attending immunologists. Many of these faculty members are thought leaders in the field of allergy and immunology. 

Our allergy program, WAO Center of Excellence, boasts particular strengths with clinical and research programs in food allergy (IgE mediated, FPIES, and eosinophilic GI disease), atopic dermatitis and asthma. We run the largest food challenge program in the country, and have a dedicated staff of nutritionists to assist in the management of these patients. Fellows are encouraged to participate in our multidisciplinary clinics including an allergy-integrative medicine clinic, a FPIES-focused clinic with GI and nutrition, an eosinophilic esophagitis-focused clinic with GI and nutrition, a joint allergy-pulmonology clinic for severe asthmatics, and a joint allergy, immunology dermatology clinic for patients with severe eczema.

Our Immunology Program, a Modell Center of Excellence, has clinical and research programs in 22q deletion syndrome, humoral immunodeficiencies, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), Wiskott Aldrich syndrome (WAS), disorders of immune dysregulation, immune deficiencies associated with elevations in IgE, immune disorders associated with very early onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEO-IBD), and immune reconstitution following stem cell transplant for primary immunodeficiency. Fellows are encouraged to participate in our multidisciplinary clinics, including a joint GI-immunology clinic for patients with VEO-IBD, a collaborative clinic with cardiology to assess immune function in patients after Fontan for single ventricle cardiac disease, and a joint bone marrow transplant/immunology clinic.  

Our program emphasizes the clinical experience in the first year to allow for protected research time in the later two years of the program. Fellows are expected to select a research project and mentor that meet their interests and career goals. In addition, fellows are encouraged to identify a career mentor to help them shape their experience during the second and third years to best position themselves for success in seeking the position of their choice after graduation from the CHOP Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program.

Overall, strengths of the CHOP fellowship program include a balanced clinical training in both allergy and immunology, a strong scientific tradition, and a track record of producing academic faculty.

In addition, our fellows are strongly encouraged to have an active role in national organizations, including American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and Clinical Immunology Society (CIS). Fellows are provided protected time to attend AAAAI and ACAAI in all three years of training, and are encouraged to submit case reports and research abstracts. Travel grants are also often available to support fellows to attend the conferences.

Clinical Training information by fellowship years

First year

Throughout the first year, fellows have allergy continuity clinic once a week, with one half-day session at CHOP and one half-day session at HUP. While at CHOP, the fellow's inpatient experience includes approximately two to 16 consultations and admissions per week. In addition, exposure to varied practice settings, clinical immunology laboratory testing and pulmonary function testing, and clinical research practice are emphasized.

Throughout the first year, fellows have allergy continuity clinic once a week, with one half-day session at HUP and one half-day session at HUP.

Typical first-year experience:

  • 2 Weeks Clinical Research Clinic
  • 2 Weeks CHOP Satellite Allergy Clinic
  • 4 Weeks Adult Allergy/Immunology at Hospital of University of Pennsylvania
  • 1 Week Pulmonary Function Testing Lab and Clinical Immunology Lab
  • 1 Week Conference Attendance ACAAI/AAAAI
  • 18 Weeks inpatient CHOP Pediatric Allergy & Immunology Experience
  • 20 Weeks outpatient CHOP Pediatric Allergy & Immunology Clinical Experience
  • 4-week vacation

Second year

During the second year, approximately 30 percent of the time is spent with clinical responsibilities, the remainder of the fellows’ time is protected for research projects and training. 

During this year, fellows continue to have one full day a week of continuity clinic.  This is comprised of HUP allergy continuity clinic one half-day session a week, and one half-day a week in CHOP outpatient clinics. For the CHOP outpatient continuity clinic experience, fellows are encouraged to develop a mix of allergy and immunology clinics to match their clinical interests and career aspirations.

In addition to the continuity clinic, fellows also have eight weeks of CHOP Allergy/Immunology inpatient service to round out their clinical responsibilities.

Third year

During the third year, approximately 20 percent of the time is spent with clinical responsibilities, the remainder of the fellows’ time is protected for research projects and training. 

In the third year, continuity clinic is held one-half day a week in the CHOP allergy and immunology clinic. Fellows are encouraged to develop a mix of allergy and immunology clinics to match their clinical interests and career aspirations.

In addition to the continuity clinic, fellows also have six to eight weeks of CHOP Allergy or Immunology inpatient service where they function as junior attendings with assistance/supervision from a senior attending to round out their clinical responsibilities.

Conference schedules

Weekly

Fellows in all three years of training are expected to attend once a week didactic sessions in pediatric allergy, pediatric immunology, a text-based basic immunology review, and adult allergy/immunology. In addition, during the CHOP outpatient weeks in first year and as their schedule allows in second and third year, fellows are encouraged to attend CHOP Grand Rounds, the Immunology Colloquium, and CHOP Disregulated Immune Response Team (DIRT) Clinical Conference.

  • CHOP Pediatric Allergy Conference
  • CHOP Pediatric Immunology Conference
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) Adult Allergy-Immunology Conference
  • CHOP/HUP Text-Based Basic Science Immunology Review Course
  • Immunology Colloquium
  • DIRT Clinical Conference
  • CHOP Grand Rounds

Monthly

The following educational opportunities are held on a monthly basis. Fellows in all three years of training are encouraged to attend.

  • Joint Bone Marrow Transplant-Immunology Clinical Conference
  • Fellows Association Meetings
  • Fellows Quality Improvement Project Meetings

Quarterly

  • Half Day Allergy-Immunology Topic Themed Symposia

Research expectations and opportunities

The fellow is guided through research training by the program director, together with a panel of faculty.

Although research is not typically started in earnest until the second year, first-year fellows investigate the plethora of research opportunities during the first six months of the training program. There are basic science, translational and clinical research opportunities in Allergy and Immunology.  

It is expected that by mid-way through the first year, the fellow will identify a mentor, laboratory and project under the guidance of the faculty research panel. Appropriate mentors may be selected from any school within the University of Pennsylvania or the Wistar Institute. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has an outstanding Immunology Graduate Group that can provide consultation, collaboration and mentorship of the fellow's project.

A project is approved and the fellow's progress is reviewed twice a year as part of the clinical competency committee meetings. In addition, fellows are expected to present their research to the division faculty at the quarterly Symposia.

Fellowship funding is guaranteed in the second and third years. Competitive grant awards are encouraged through multiple T32 opportunities at CHOP, Professional Association (AAAAI, CIS, PIDTC) grants and private foundation grants

Fellows are also eligible for additional training through a variety of master’s degree programs offered through the University of Pennsylvania.

Past and current fellows

Current fellows

Recent graduates post-fellowship career plans

  • Irene Fung, MD — Clinical Practice, Ontario, Canada
  • Jackie Garrett, MD — Clinical Practice, Massachusetts
  • Sarah Henrickson, MD, PhD — CHOP/Penn Faculty
  • Hillary Hernandez-Trujillio, MD — University of Connecticut Faculty
  • David Hill, MD, PhD — CHOP/Penn Faculty
  • Mike Keller, MD — Children’s National Medical Center Faculty
  • Juhee Lee, MD — CHOP/Penn Faculty
  • Solrun Melkorka Maggadottir, MD — Faculty, University of Olso, Norway
  • Megan Morshiemer, MD, MPH — NIH Intramural Research
  • Gita Ram, MD — CHOP/Penn Faculty
  • Melanie Ruffner, MD, PhD — CHOP/Penn Faculty

How to apply

The three-year fellowship seeks physicians currently enrolled in or who have completed an accredited pediatrics or internal-medicine/pediatrics residency program. 

Fellows must be able to pass the American Board of Pediatrics and/or American Board of Internal Medicine certifying examination in order to be eligible for board certification in Allergy/Immunology at the end of the fellowship training.

You should apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service by going to http://www.aamc.org/eras.

It is recommended that all applicants provide at least three letters of recommendation and that at least one of these letters is from an individual involved in the field of allergy and immunology.

A joint American Board of Pediatrics/American Board of Allergy and Immunology Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) is available. Plans to participate in the ARP must be discussed with the Pediatrics Training Program director and the Allergy/Immunology Training Program director during the first year of General Pediatrics Residency training to allow time for the application process.

Benefits

Fellows are salaried based on the established scale set by CHOP Graduate Medical Education.

All Fellows receive four weeks of vacation in addition to protected time for conference attendance.

All fellows are given a book and travel stipend to assist with needed supplies and/or cost of travel to academic conferences.

CHOP participates in a number of wellness programs to assist fellows and other employees. In addition, we encourage fellows to be self-aware of their need for sleep and periods of rest in keeping with ACGME duty hours regulations.

Moonlighting opportunities are available; they are approved through the program director on a case-by-case basis.

Fellowship contacts

Fellowship Training Program Director
Jennifer Heimall, MD
Phone: 215-590-2549
Email: heimallj@email.chop.edu

Fellows are encouraged to meet with the fellowship program director as needed to discuss clinical, research and personal concerns. In addition, scheduled reviews of the fellow’s progress are held three times a year: in September and then January and June following assessment of the fellows by the Clinical Competency Committee.

Fellowship Training Program Coordinator
Robin Cassidy
Phone: 215-590-2549
Email: cassidyr@email.chop.edu

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.