Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship

Overview and mission

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a three-year training program designed to provide pediatricians who have completed general pediatric training with a broad array of training opportunities.

Our goal is to prepare individuals to excel as future leaders in the field of pediatric infectious diseases by providing a diverse curriculum that includes opportunities in clinical infectious diseases, bench and translational research, clinical epidemiology, antimicrobial stewardship, infection prevention and control, QI, medical education, and global health.

Our program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and graduating fellows will be eligible and prepared for the American Board of Pediatrics Pediatric Infectious Diseases subspecialty exam.

Program curriculum

Year 1

During the first year of fellowship, trainees spend the majority of their time expanding their clinical skill set. The goal of this clinical experience is to provide trainees with exposure to a variety of infectious diseases in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts under the oversight of experienced attending physicians. In the first year, fellows spend approximately 34 weeks on service, with about 75 percent of those weeks on the general service and the remaining on the immunocompromised service. Additionally, first-year fellows have the opportunity to follow patients in our busy outpatient clinic.

The inpatient and outpatient services are supported by several teams, including the Department of Infection Prevention and Control, the Antibiotic Stewardship Program, the Infectious Disease Diagnostics Lab, and Global Health Center. Through dedicated electives, trainees will develop expertise and key skills, including use of antibiotics, use of diagnostic testing and hospital epidemiology.

While the first year is clinically focused, fellowship leadership is committed to using this year to help each fellow build a transition plan for the more research-focused second and third years. During the first year, the fellowship director and division chief will help each fellow select a research track in clinical epidemiology, translational science or basic science and identify a mentor.

Years 2 and 3

The second and third years of fellowship training are designed to provide trainees with ample time to conduct research in a protected environment by minimizing concurrent clinical responsibilities. Fellows are provided the opportunity to pursue a focused research project, gaining experience designing and conducting hypothesis-driven research with the goal of developing publishable manuscripts by the end of year three.

Years two and three also offer fellows the opportunity to pursue educational advancement opportunities, including the clinical epidemiology or health policy master of science program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the master’s degree program at the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fellows are also encouraged to apply for funding for their second and third years, such as the Infectious Diseases NIH T32 Basic Science Training Grant. Mentors and fellowship leadership provide support throughout the application process, helping fellows to hone the skills necessary to produce a competitive grant.

Second- and third-year fellows have some clinical responsibilities, including up to eight weeks of inpatient consult service and up to 10 days in our outpatient clinic. These clinical experiences are important because they help fellows refine their clinical skills and develop increased clinical confidence and autonomy.

Mentorship

Soon after starting fellowship, fellows are paired with both a clinical and research mentor for the duration of their fellowship. These mentors are dedicated to assisting our fellows in achieving their goals. While mentors are often faculty within the Division of Infectious Diseases at CHOP, fellows are also encouraged to explore opportunities for mentorship tailored to their research interests with the University of Pennsylvania faculty in areas including but not limited to:

Your mentors will:

  • Assist you in acquiring and mastering clinical and teaching skills
  • Be available to preview/edit your lecture or case conference material
  • Help foster clinical questions to direct your research interests
  • Facilitate your ability to achieve work/life balance
  • Share areas for improvement and offer formative feedback
  • Serve as a role model for your career development
  • Assist you in identifying an important clinical question and designing a research project to address that question
  • Guide you in every phase of your research endeavors
  • Assist you in preparing to present research at national/international society meetings

Clinical experiences

Fellows will receive ample inpatient clinical exposure on the general and immunocompromised services. Each service is attended by one or two faculty members, and fellows rotate through both services a week at a time. Fellows will also have the opportunity to care for children in our outpatient clinic. All inpatient and outpatient clinical responsibilities take place on CHOP’s Philadelphia campus.

General inpatient infectious disease consult service

The general service consult team typically consists of two fellows and two attending physicians. Fellows oversee rotating medical students and residents that contribute as integral members of the team. The patient population for this service is broad, including patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), as well as the subspecialty (eg, gastrointestinal inpatient service), surgical, general pediatrics and adolescent units.

Immunocompromised (IC) inpatient infectious disease consult service

The IC service consult team typically consists of one fellow and one attending with the support of our dedicated nurse practitioners, as well as upper-year residents with a specific interest in infectious diseases or immunocompromising conditions. This service focuses on patients with any immunocompromising condition, including solid organ and bone marrow transplant recipients, cancer patients, patients with primary immune deficiencies, and patients with any other condition requiring immunosuppressive medications (eg, long-term steroids, biologics).

Outpatient infectious disease clinic

With the support of an attending physician, fellows have the opportunity to follow patients in the outpatient Infectious Disease Clinic. Patients seen in the outpatient clinic include those referred by their primary care pediatricians for infectious disease consultation, as well as patients seen for follow up from inpatient hospitalizations.

Elective weeks

To complement the infectious disease clinical experience, each fellow trainee will have the opportunity to complete a variety of elective weeks. Fellows are encouraged to explore opportunities that align with their career interests; however, a number of weeks are dedicated to elective time, including the following:

  • Clinical microbiology laboratory (two weeks in the first year)
  • Infection prevention and control (two to three weeks in the first year, one week in the second/third years)
  • Antimicrobial stewardship (one to two weeks in the first year)
  • Research planning (three weeks in the first year)

Current and graduated fellows

First year: Ross England, MD, PhD, Ashley Sobel-Leonard, MD, PhD, and Sesh Sundararaman, MD, PhD
Second year: Allison Blatz, MD, Katie Laycock, MD and Yasaman Fatemi, MD
Third year: Angela Desmond, MD, PhD, William Otto, MD and Torsten Joerger, MD

All of our fellowship graduates have gone on to embark on successful careers in pediatric infectious diseases in a variety of areas, including clinical care, hospital operations, research, epidemiology and public health, global health, and pharmaceuticals and other industries.

Fellowship graduates have earned positions at the following institutions:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
  • Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA
  • Nemours/Alfred I. Dupont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE
  • Children's Mercy, Kansas City, MO
  • Botswana-UPENN Partnership, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Merck & Co., North Wales, PA
  • Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.
  • Duke Children’s Hospital, Raleigh, NC
  • Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA
  • Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Valhalla, NY
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About CHOP

The nation’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children, CHOP has been the birthplace for countless breakthroughs in pediatric medicine since 1855. Families facing complex conditions come to CHOP from all over the world, and our compassionate care and innovation has repeatedly earned us a spot on the U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll of the nation's best children's hospitals.

The Department of Pediatrics at CHOP is highly regarded nationally and internationally, and is consistently named among the premier academic pediatric departments in the United States.

CHOP’s Research Institute continues to advance breakthrough treatments and innovations that have changed lives and pushed pediatric scientific knowledge forward.

Read more about CHOP’s history and mission, and what makes us a unique place to train.

The history, expertise and compassion that make Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia unique are also what makes it the best place for medical trainees.

The Infectious Diseases faculty are leaders in their fields and many hold prominent operational, clinical, and research roles within CHOP. Examples include the Physician-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics; AVP Systems Preparedness, Prevention and Response; Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control; Medical Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Department of Pediatrics Associate Chair of Research; and Associate Chief Clinical Research Officer.

Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a vibrant city offering a wealth of history, culture and recreation. Learn more about life in Philadelphia.

Fellowship team and contact information

Fellowship Program Director
Eimear Kitt, MBBCh, FAAP
Email Dr. Kitt

Fellowship Associate Program Director
Hamid Bassiri, MD, PhD
Email Dr. Bassiri

Fellowship Program Coordinator
Patrice Sport
215-590-2017
Email Ms. Sport

Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases: Audrey R. Odom John, MD, PhD

How to apply

Our program is seeking physicians who will have completed three years of training in an accredited residency program in general pediatrics. The Infectious Disease Fellowship Program participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Please visit the ERAS website for an application.

To apply, you will need to upload:

  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Dean’s letter
  • CV
  • Medical school transcript
  • USMLA scores
  • Graduates of medical schools outside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico will also need a valid ECFMG certificate, or one that does not expire prior to the start of the fellowship.
  • Applicants who are not citizens of the United States will also need a copy of a permanent resident card or a copy of a current, appropriate visa. CHOP will sponsor H-1B visas for select candidates.

The period for submitting applications opens July 1 and interviews typically begin after Labor Day.

The fellowship directors and division chief review all completed applications and select candidates to invite for in-person interviews. Interviews are typically one day in duration and last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interviewees will have the opportunity to meet with approximately six to eight faculty members.

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Please visit the NRMP website for more information.

COVID-19 update: Virtual fellowship interviews for 2020 applicants

A note to our prospective fellowship applicants from program leadership:
Thank you for your interest in pediatric infectious diseases, an incredibly diverse and rewarding specialty. As evidenced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pediatric infectious diseases physicians have never been more important, nor their duties more diverse. This pandemic has highlighted the wide array of career paths available to a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, which include clinical care, disaster planning, infection prevention and control, antimicrobial and diagnostic stewardship, immunology, microbial pathogenesis, vaccine development, epidemiology and public health, public relations, and social determinants of health. We need you to join this exciting profession and we are committed to helping you find your particular niche within it.

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), the PIDS Training Programs Committee, and pediatric infectious diseases program directors understand that the 2020-2021 fellowship application season falls during a complex time. We also understand that some anticipated infectious diseases clinical and research elective rotations may not have been pursued, anticipated research projects may not be completed, and previously envisioned letters of recommendation may not materialize. We assure you that we will be mindful of these realities when reviewing applications.

Therefore, we strongly encourage anyone who is considering applying for the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship to apply during this application cycle. In order to ensure that the recruitment process is fair, equitable, and socially responsible, all pediatric infectious diseases fellowship interviews for the 2021- 2022 academic year will only be offered virtually.

We look forward to meeting you and getting to know your interests within our rewarding and ever-changing subspecialty.

Other requirements

To carry out its mission, it is of critical importance for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to keep our patients, families and workforce safe and healthy and to support the health of our global community. In keeping with this, CHOP has mandated all workforce members (including trainees) on site at any CHOP location for any portion of their time be vaccinated for COVID-19. This mandate also applies to workforce members or trainees performing work for CHOP at non-CHOP locations. The CHOP COVID-19 vaccine mandate is in alignment with applicable local, state and federal mandates. CHOP also requires all workforce members and trainees who work in patient care buildings or who provide patient care to receive an annual influenza vaccine. Employees may request exemption consideration for CHOP vaccine requirements for valid religious and medical reasons. In addition, candidates other than those in positions with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey, must attest to not using tobacco products.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other protected category. CHOP is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor seeking priority referrals for protected veterans.

Our commitment to diversity

Our division values diversity among our staff, including diversity of race, ethnicity, sexual preference and gender identity. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides support to this process through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the CHOP Multicultural Physicians Alliance.