Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship

Overview and mission

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Training Program is a three-year fellowship program designed to prepare pediatricians for a career in academic pediatric infectious diseases. The first year is dedicated to clinical training. The second and third years are focused on research training in clinical epidemiology, basic science or translational research. The goal of this fellowship program is to prepare graduates to be effective clinicians and independent physician scientists.

Fellowship leaders

Fellowship training program director
Audrey R. Odom John, MD, PhD

Fellowship training associate program director
Hamid Bassiri, MD, PhD
Email Dr. Bassiri

Fellowship training program coordinator
Patrice Sport
Email Ms. Sport

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

Program goals and objectives

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) provides pediatricians who have completed residency training with a three-year educational experience to allow them to pursue a career in pediatric infectious diseases. Specifically, this program is designed to:

  • Expand the trainee’s medical knowledge of the pathogenesis and appropriate treatment of pediatric infectious diseases
  • Augment the trainee’s clinical skills in the accurate diagnosis and management of infectious diseases; and
  • Provide training in either clinical epidemiology, laboratory-based or translational based investigations related to pediatric infectious diseases.

Program curriculum

Year One

During the first year of fellowship, the trainee will spend the majority of his or her time in clinical arenas. The goal of the clinical experience is to provide the trainee with exposure to common and uncommon infectious diseases, in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts. With the oversight of experienced attending physicians, fellows care for patients on the general infectious disease consultation service or the immunocompromised infectious disease consultation service. Additionally, fellows will see patients in our busy outpatient clinic. Specific details about clinical training are included in the clinical services section.

The inpatient and outpatient services are supported by both the Department of Infection Prevention and Control and the Antibiotic Stewardship Program. With this support infrastructure trainees are expected to develop expertise in the:

  • Judicious use of antibiotics
  • Appropriate use of diagnostic testing
  • Infection control and hospital epidemiology

While the first year is clinically focused, there is a parallel goal of establishing a smooth plan for the transition to research endeavors at the beginning of the second fellowship year. The first year fellow will meet with the fellowship director multiple times during the first year to discuss research options and interests. Ultimately, trainees are expected to identify a mentor in their area of research interest by the conclusion of the first year.

Years Two and Three

The second and third years of fellowship training are designed to provide the trainee with ample time to conduct research in a protected environment by minimizing concurrent clinical responsibilities.

Trainees with an interest in bench science are encouraged to explore suitable mentors at any location on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Trainees with an interest in clinical research will often pursue the Clinical Epidemiology or Health Policy Master of Science Programs at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Finally, trainees with an interest in translation research are encouraged to consider pursuit of a master’s degree at the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Matriculation in any of the masters programs is contingent on funding opportunities.

Second-and third-year fellows will have some clinical responsibilities including:

  • Approximately 6 to 8 weeks a year of inpatient consult service
  • 7 to 10 days a year of outpatient clinic

These clinical experiences are paramount to refine the clinical skills and to develop increased clinical confidence and autonomy.

Clinical services

Trainees will receive ample inpatient clinical exposure on one of two inpatient infectious disease consultation services at CHOP:

  • The general infectious diseases service
  • The immunocompromised infectious diseases service (commonly called “IC” service)

Fellows rotate through both services, with any given week dedicated to only one of the services. Each service is attended by one faculty member. Trainees will also have the opportunity to care for children in our outpatient clinic. All inpatient and outpatient clinical responsibilities take place at CHOP’s Main Campus.

General inpatient infectious disease consult service

The general service consult team consists of two fellows and one attending physician. The 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 Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), as well as the subspecialty (e.g. gastrointestinal inpatient service), surgical, general pediatrics, and adolescent units. 

The general service pager is a critical component of the clinical educational experience while on the general service. This pager receives questions from physicians throughout the CHOP network and also clinicians at other centers. The incoming questions are varied but include vaccine inquiries, post-exposure management, returning traveler issues and more. Overnight and on weekends the antimicrobial stewardship inquiries (“the approval pager”) also come through on the general service fellow pager. Fielding the outside calls and stewardship calls ensures that graduating fellows are adept at answering common pediatric ID issues and helps them establish an extensive knowledge of all available anti-infectives. 

The two general service fellows split the pager coverage, leaving some weekday nights pager-free. On-service fellows also split weekend service, so each fellow that is on service has a weekend day off. Fellows that are not on service do not typically have any weekend clinical responsibilities.

Immunocompromised (IC) inpatient infectious disease consult service

The IC service consult team consists of one fellow and one attending. Additional members of the IC team include 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, all cancer patients, patients with primary immune deficiencies, and any other condition requiring immune suppressive medications (i.e. long-term steroids, biologics).

In order to provide some balance between the two inpatient services, the IC service covers all of the inpatient cardiology and two general pediatric floors. The IC pager is less busy, so while the IC fellow covers the pager all week, evenings are less busy than with the general service pager. When a first-year fellow is on service, the attending will cover one weekend day by him or herself to provide the first-year fellow with a weekend day off in order to ensure duty-hour compliance. Upper-year fellows cover both weekend days when they are on this service because they only do one service week at a time.

Outpatient Infectious Disease Clinic

Patients are seen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the Infectious Disease Outpatient Clinic located adjacent to the main hospital. Fellows see patients in clinic, under the supervision of an Infectious Disease attending physician, on Tuesdays (first-year fellows) and Fridays (second- and third-year fellows). 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.

In the first year, fellows spend approximately 40 weeks on service, with about 75-80 percent of those weeks on the general service and the remaining on the IC service. Upper-year fellows typically have six to eight weeks of service, with a greater percentage on the IC service. The goal is to have an overall balance of two-thirds general service and one-third IC service.

Elective Weeks

To complement the infectious disease clinical experience, each fellow trainee will have the opportunity to complete a variety of elective weeks.  During the first year, eight weeks are dedicated to elective time including the following:

  • Clinical microbiology laboratory (2 weeks)
  • Clinical virology laboratory (1 week)
  • Infection prevention and control (1 week in the first year and 1 week in the second or third year)
  • HIV, Immunology, and/or Health Department Tuberculosis Clinic (3 weeks)
  • Research planning (3 weeks)

The elective schedule is reasonably flexible. First-year trainees are allowed to establish their own elective schedule with oversight from the fellowship director.

Research training and opportunities

During the first year, the fellowship director and division chief will help the fellow select a research track in clinical epidemiology, translational science or basic science. Once a track is chosen, research mentors are considered. Appropriate mentors may be selected from any school within the CHOP Research Institute or the University of Pennsylvania.

The second and third year should provide the fellow with the opportunity to pursue a focused research project. During this time, the fellow is expected to gain experience designing and conducting hypothesis-driven research. Ideally, the chosen research project should be achievable within the fellowship training period and at the completion of the project should result in a manuscript or manuscripts suitable for publication.

In addition to completing the research project, fellows are also encouraged to apply for funding so they can develop the skills necessary to produce a competitive grant. Many fellows will submit an F32 or K-award during their third year of training.

The following links include important potential resources for clinical epidemiology, health policy, translational science, or basic science research tracks:

Conference schedules

  • Monday, noon to 1 p.m.: pediatric infectious diseases clinical conference
  • Tuesday, 8-9 a.m.: clinical microbiology and virology rounds
  • Thursday, 8-9 a.m.: fellow didactic session
  • Thursday, noon to 1 p.m.: Infectious Disease Division Journal Club
  • Friday, 8-9 a.m.: adult infectious diseases clinical conference

Current fellows

Outcomes of past of fellows

Over the past 10 years, 28 physicians have completed the fellowship training program in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. A majority of our graduates pursue careers as independent researchers. Of the 28 recent fellows, 11 have received federal funding to continue their research activities beyond the period of fellowship training.

Some past fellows have pursued positions with balanced clinical and research efforts or have leveraged their research training to pursue opportunities in the private pharmaceutical sector.

Fellowship graduates have earned positions at the following institutions:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Mercy Children’s Hospital, Kansas City, MO
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA
  • A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital, Wilmington, DE
  • Botswana-UPENN Partnership, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • Merck & Co., North Wales, PA
  • Children’s National Health System, Washington D.C.
  • Duke Childrens, Raleigh, NC
  • Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA
  • Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Westchester, NY
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

How to apply

Our three-year fellowship seeks physicians who will have completed three years of training in an accredited residency program in Pediatrics. Prospective fellows wishing to pursue an accelerated research track after two years of pediatric residency are also considered. The Infectious Disease Fellowship Program participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Please visit the ERAS website for an application.

The following information should be uploaded into this program:

  • Completed on-line ERAS application
  • Personal statement
  • At least three letters of recommendation
  • Dean's letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Medical school transcript
  • If a graduate of a medical school outside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico, valid ECFMG certificate or one that does not expire prior to the start of the fellowship
  • If not a citizen of the United States, copy of permanent resident card or copy of current, appropriate visa. CHOP will sponsor H1B Visas for select candidates.

The following are important dates in the application process:

  • July 1: First day that the ERAS system will accept an application for Infectious Disease Fellowship
  • July 15: First day that the fellowship program directors can view applications of prospective fellows
  • Our interview season typically opens after Labor Day and continues through the end of November

The fellowship director 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 an opportunity to meet with approximately 6-8 faculty members, have lunch with current fellows, and receive a tour of the Hospital and main campus.

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

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.

More information

To learn more, please contact Patrice Sport, fellowship training program coordinator, at 215-590-2017 or by email.

Attn: Patrice Sport, Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship Coordinator
3615 Civic Center Boulevard
Abramson Research Building
Room 1202
Philadelphia, PA 19104