Pulmonary Medicine Fellowship Program

The fellowship program in pulmonary medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia encompasses three years of training, with three fellowship positions available each year. Applicants must have first successfully completed three years of training in general pediatrics in an accredited residency program.

We seek to develop the academic leaders of the future by attracting, recruiting, inspiring, and training intellectually curious individuals to become innovators in the field of Pediatric Pulmonology.  We will do so by providing the environment for a fellow to discover and develop his or her own strengths in the fields of research, teaching, and/or clinical care.

Our program will provide the fellow with a comprehensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of pediatric breathing disorders and make the fellow familiar with the unique needs of children with chronic lung diseases. In addition, fellows are taught the scientific method of critical thought and analysis, and are trained for a career in academic pulmonary medicine.

Program Director:

Ignacio E. Tapia, MD, MSTR

Associate Program Directors:

Olufunke Afolabi-Brown, MBBS

Pelton A. Phinizy, MD

Division Chief:

Lisa R. Young, MD

Why choose us?

CHOP’s Pediatric Pulmonology Program is a fellow-centered program with a strong emphasis on achieving balance between clinical training and scholarly pursuit. CHOP provides exposure to a broad array of clinical conditions that ranges from common pulmonary diseases to highly specialized, multidisciplinary care of rare disorders. Fellows will care for patients referred from the city of Philadelphia, the surroundings suburbs, across the nation, sickle cell disease and around the world. Our Pulmonary Division is consistently ranked as one of the best programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduates of our fellowship program join an elite group of CHOP alumni whose members have included many of the current and past leaders in Pediatrics. Graduates of our fellowship program have secured positions at numerous academic institutions.

How to apply

There are three fellowship positions available for the 2019 application cycle (expected to start July 2020). Applicants must have an MD or DO degree from an accredited institution, and must be board-eligible or board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. We accept applications through ERAS. Our interviewing season will be from August to November 2019.

To apply, submit the following through ERAS:

  • MyERAS application
  • Three letters of recommendation (one from residency director)
  • Personal statement
  • Medical school transcript
  • Wallet-size color photograph
  • USMLE transcript (transmitted by the NBME)
  • COMLEX transcript (transmitted by the NBOME for DO applicants)
  • ECFMG status report (for international medical graduates only)

Tobacco-free policy

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.

Educational curriculum with sample rotations

While there are some opportunities to adapt the curriculum to the future goals of the trainee, a typical curriculum might include:

First year

  • Inpatient service: 8 weeks
  • Consult service: 8 weeks
  • Outpatient service: 4 weeks
  • Sleep medicine: 4 weeks
  • Research: 24 weeks
  • Vacation: 4 weeks

Second year

  • Inpatient service: 4 weeks
  • Consult service: 4 weeks
  • Outpatient service or sleep medicine: 4 weeks
  • Research: 32 weeks
  • Electives*: 4 weeks
  • Vacation: 4 weeks

Third year

  • Inpatient service: 4 weeks
  • Consult service: 4 weeks
  • Outpatient service or sleep medicine: 4 weeks
  • Research: 32 weeks
  • Electives*: 4 weeks
  • Vacation: 4 weeks

*Examples of electives include clinical time spent with pulmonary hypertension, critical care, adult interventional pulmonary, transplant, or another area of your interest.

Conference schedule

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine provides a wide range of patient oriented and didactic conferences each week.

Mondays: 8 - 10 a.m. — Multidisciplinary pulmonary sign-out rounds

Second and fourth Wednesdays: 9:10 - 11 a.m. — Pulmonary Division lectures series 

Wednesday: noon – 1 p.m.  — Lung Transplant Rounds (includes ILD case conference)

Wednesday: noon – 1 p.m.  — Sleep shorts

First Wednesday: 4 - 5 p.m. — NICU and Pulmonary case conference

Third Wednesday: 4 - 5 p.m. — Board Review series

First and fifth Friday: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. — Pulmonary Physiology

Third Friday: 7:45 - 8:30 a.m. — Radiology rounds

In addition, fellows are invited to attend conferences hosted by the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn-CHOP Lung Biology Institute, and the Penn Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology conferences.

Clinical and research time distribution

Clinical Training

Rotations during the fellowship consist of:

  • Inpatient rotation
  • Consult rotation
  • Outpatient rotation
  • Sleep medicine rotation
  • Research block (with potential elective time)

On the inpatient rotation, fellows will evaluate all patients admitted into the hospital on the pulmonary service, craft treatment plans, and work with the team of residents and medical students to carry out those treatment plans. There are also opportunities on morning rounds and throughout the rotation for the fellows to teach the other trainees. All of this is done under the direct supervision of an attending pulmonologist.

On the consult rotation, fellows will learn to act in a consultative role communicating assessments and treatment plans with other teams of physicians including, but not limited to, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the Center for Rehabilitation. They will also have the opportunity to work with the Lung Transplant service and the Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) consult service.

On the outpatient rotation, fellows will work closely with an attending pulmonologist to evaluate and treat patients with a variety of pulmonary disorders. The patients seen on this rotation are typically new patients to the Pulmonary Division with more urgent needs, or known patients seeking sick visits because they are acutely ill. Fellows will also have the opportunity to administer and interpret pulmonary function testing in addition to learning about the different radiographic and laboratory evaluation for patients.

On the sleep medicine rotation, fellows will become familiar with the interpretation of diagnostic sleep tests, including sleep studies (standard polysomnography, tracheostomy plugging studies, oxygen, CPAP/BPAP, and ventilator titration studies), multiple sleep latency tests, actigraphy, apnea monitor downloads, positive airway pressure adherence printouts, and sleep diaries.

Throughout the three years of training, the fellow will serve as the primary pulmonologist to a panel of patients acquired during the inpatient, consult, and outpatient rotations by following them in the outpatient office during designated office hours. These continuity clinics, held every other week, are supervised by an attending pulmonologist. The fellows will also have the opportunity to work with attendings in various multidisciplinary and subspecialty clinics, such as aerodigestive, chronic lung disease, cystic fibrosis, neuromuscular, pulmonary hypoplasia, sickle cell disease, interstitial and rare lung disease, sleep, and technology dependent.

Fellows are taught the indications for and techniques to perform flexible bronchoscopy. They are expected to perform about 100 flexible bronchoscopies during the three years of training. If interested, we also have an interventional pulmonary team, and the fellow can learn to perform interventional procedures, such as endobronchial biopsy, transbronchial biopsy, tumor debulking, and dilation using forceps, endobronchial ultrasound, cryoprobe, and endobronchial balloons. Fellows will learn how to administer and interpret standard and infant pulmonary function tests, bronchial challenges and sleep studies. Each fellow is expected to deliver several lectures in the weekly conferences designed for the pulmonary fellows and to prepare lectures for the pediatric house staff in work rounds and noon conferences.

Research expectations and opportunities

Each fellow is expected to complete a scholarly project, an example of which could be a basic science or clinical research project. He or she may research a topic and develop a hypothesis and the experimental method to test that hypothesis. The fellow is expected to conduct the appropriate experiments/research procedures, present the results at a national meeting, and write a manuscript to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. A scholarly oversight committee comprised of two members of the Pulmonary Division and one non-divisional member will advise the fellow on the progress of their scholarly pursuits.

The Pulmonary Medicine Division feels that rigorous research and scholarship is a critical aspect of fellowship training and career development, and has placed increased emphasis on this by allotting greater protected time for scholarly work throughout the three years of training. Most importantly, there is greater protected time in the first year of training for these pursuits, allowing fellows to start projects earlier and achieve more within the three years of fellowship training. Within the division, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the greater University of Pennsylvania community, there are numerous opportunities for research and scholarly pursuit.

Basic research opportunities within the division and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia include mechanistic investigations into the epithelial biology underlying Cystic Fibrosis, Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes, the microbiology and microbiome of the Cystic Fibrosis airway and gut and the discovery of the genetic basis of pulmonary diseases through the work of the CHOP Center for Applied Genomics. Leveraging access to large patient populations, studies at CHOP are focused on identifying mechanisms impacting a broad spectrum of complex childhood respiratory and sleep disorders. New interdisciplinary research programs at CHOP include focus on airway and tissue bioengineering, epithelial biology, lung development, and mechanisms of genetic and interstitial lung diseases. With the newly established Penn-CHOP Lung Biology Institute, pulmonary research across the lifespan encompasses expertise in lung development, genomics, pulmonary vascular disease, immunology, and lung injury and repair. Additional opportunities for lung research can be found on the Penn Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology website.

Translational and clinical research opportunities are also readily available. The division has a very active clinical and translational research program in Sleep Medicine, with additional resources and collaborators available through the Penn Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology. There is also a very active clinical and translational research group focused on CF Related Diabetes. We have led research programs in childhood interstitial lung disease and other rare and complex lung diseases, including a leadership role in the National Registry for Childhood Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Diseases. Additional opportunities can focus on respiratory function testing in children with chronic lung diseases, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, asthma, sickle cell disease, neuromuscular disease, interventional bronchoscopy, and lung transplantation.

Research experiences in clinical and translational areas can be enhanced by formal didactic training through the Penn Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. This training may, for successful candidates, lead to a Certificate in Clinical research or a master's degree in either Clinical Epidemiology or Translational Research.

Other collaborative research and scholarship experiences may focus on economic and societal ramifications of care for children with chronic diseases in collaboration with the CHOP Policy Lab, or training in innovative medical education through the Penn Graduate School of Education’s Masters in Medical Education Program.

Through one of these or other possible research and scholarship experiences, the division is confident that our trainees will be well positioned for fulfilling careers that will create new knowledge in, and move the field of Pediatric Pulmonology forward.

Salary and benefits

PL-4 Salary for FY2019 is $66,120.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia provides a generous benefits package, including multiple options for individual health insurance coverage that becomes available upon completion of the first 30 days of postdoctoral fellowship training. At this time, fellows may choose to purchase health insurance for a spouse or dependent(s) through one of the available group plan options. We strongly recommend that fellows continue pre-existing individual health insurance coverage through the first month of the postdoctoral training program.

Fellows will accrue 25 PTO (paid time off) days in their PTO bank to be used as needed for vacation, personal time or illness. In addition, fellows will be allowed the following seven announced holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Fellows may request additional leave for participation in professional conferences, as long as coverage for clinical responsibilities is arranged. Fellows are required to have time off approved by all supervisors at least three days in advance.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia programs for fellows

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has an Office of Fellowship Programs designed to support fellows and fellowship programs. There is a Fellows’ Resource Center where fellows can work, rest and/or dine. There is also a Fellow’s Association that provides a core curriculum of topics of interest to academic fellows. Please visit the Office of Fellowship Programs website for more information.

Continuing Evolution of the fellowship program

The fellowship team evaluates the program regularly and values input from the fellows to help make the fellowship experience the best it can be. We have quarterly meetings to discuss the program and confidential annual evaluations of the program by fellows and attendings. Fellows are involved in the program evaluation committee, which helps to steer and implement change in the program.

Based on previous fellows’ input, we have made our curriculum more flexible. Many areas can be adjusted to suit an individual’s needs. An example is that individual fellows have been able to adjust their schedules to be able to participate in classes for a master’s degree in areas such as epidemiology and translational research, or pursue electives in clinical areas in which they are looking to further specialize. Fellows also have the opportunity to “specialize” their clinic experience and attend certain outpatient clinics with subspecialty attendings.

The biggest change inspired by former fellows was to increase the amount of protected time for research that first year fellows have. This change has allowed first-year fellows to get a jump-start on scholarly activity and has been a boon to their productivity throughout the three years of fellowship. The fellows were also instrumental in driving a change to the home-call schedule that has improved learning opportunities and quality of life.

Top 7 reasons to be a pulmonary fellow at CHOP

  • The Division of Pulmonary Medicine consistently ranked among the best in the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Expert faculty and a diversity of clinical programs will expose you to the depth and breadth of pulmonary medicine
  • Divisional support to launch research protocols
  • Protected time in the first year to start scholarly projects
  • Continuity clinic with a personal panel of patients
  • Flexible curriculum that can be tailored to the individual fellow’s interests
  • Adaptable and evolving program that has made rapid changes based on fellow input