The Pediatrics Residency Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is the top program of its kind in the nation. In this video, CHOP Physician-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, Joseph W. St. Geme III, MD, as well as current and past CHOP pediatric residents, detail the vast breadth and depth of opportunities available to physicians who choose a career in pediatrics, highlight the strengths of CHOP’s Pediatrics Residency Program, and demonstrate the honor and joy of working with children and their families.
Say Yes to Pediatrics: The Benefits of a Pediatric Residency
George Dalembert, MD: One of the great things about CHOP is just it opens all the doors that you could ever hope to have opened.
Christina Master, MD: Being at CHOP really taught me a number of things that makes me the pediatrician that I am today.
Irene Mathieu, MD: I’m inspired by my patients, because it makes me think that if they can keep going after everything they’ve been through, then I can certainly keep going and working on their behalf.
Adam Dziorny, MD: We’re fortunate to be in an institution that has so many mentors of such a wide breadth. It’s an amazing group of people.
Joseph St. Geme III, MD: Our residency training program has been ranked the top training program in the country in pediatrics. And I feel great pride in being able to say that. And I think many across the institution share that same feeling of pride.
We have a remarkably talented group of residents. They’re talented as pediatricians. They’re talented as people. And there’s an impressive chemistry that exists among them.
Irene Mathieu, MD: CHOP residents are really a family. I think that we all realize that these three years are tough. We work long hours. We see difficult things. We deal with a lot of emotions from patients and families, and CHOP residents really look out for each other.
Adam Dziorny, MD, PhD: Yeah this is definitely a team sport. There’s absolutely no way around it. We have a fantastic team of people. And I think that’s one of the things that sets CHOP apart from other institutions is that our teamwork is just amazing.
Joseph St. Geme III, MD: The hospital is interested in ensuring that we remain the top residency training program in the country. The hospital recognizes how important the residents are to the care that we deliver to patients day in and day out, and they also appreciate that the residents are our future.
Many of our faculty were residents here at CHOP or fellows here at CHOP.
Christina Master, MD: Being at CHOP was a tremendous preparation for being a physician and a pediatrician. We see everything here in terms of clinical diagnoses. Everything under the sun. And clinical entities that other people just dream of or read about in textbooks we would see here. So our clinical experience is tremendous.
George Dalembert, MD: The training that you get here and the people that guide you through it are really the best in the world, and they’re internationally renowned. Yet you would never know it from your interactions with them, because they’re some of the most humble people that I’ve had a chance to run into, and they’re just passing on all this wisdom to you. It’s a really great experience.
Joseph St. Geme III, MD: We’re very interested in attracting a diverse group of residents. Diverse in terms of background and diverse in terms of career interests. We feel that diversity is really critical in terms of creating an environment that’s rich for learning pediatrics, rich for delivering pediatric care.
Christina Master, MD: The diversity here at CHOP spans everything. You name it, we’ve got it here. We embraced it before people required us to embrace that.
Joseph St. Geme III, MD: CHOP is where I learned to be a pediatrician in the first place. CHOP is where I learned to be an educator. There’s an impressive range of opportunities in pediatrics, which is part of the appeal of the field to me. An individual could be a general pediatrician, a primary care pediatrician, a subspecialist.
Irene Mathieu, MD: One of the reasons I chose CHOP was definitely the global health track. There’s a hospitalist track. There’s a primary care track.
Adam Dziorny, MD: We work in our emergency department. We work in outpatient clinics. We also work in our N/IICU and our pediatric ICU, on our oncology units.
Christina Master, MD: It was exhilarating to walk around these halls every day and interact with people from different disciplines who are asking all kinds of interesting and different questions, and all doing it because they care about kids and want to make their lives better.
George Dalembert, MD: There is a reward every day, kind of when you leave every room, and there’s definitely the challenges, but the rewards greatly outweigh them.
Joseph St. Geme III, MD: I’m humbled by how impressive this institution is and the work that it does to influence patient care and child health more broadly. And I feel very lucky to be a part of the institution and to have the responsibilities that I do.
Dr. Irene Mathieu's Residency Journey
Irene Mathieu, MD: I have always loved kids. I’ve always gravitated towards the youngest person in the room, and I also liked pediatrics because I want to serve as a role model. And so being a person that children can look up to was a very powerful role to me.
I'm a third-year resident in general pediatrics at CHOP. I would like to have a career in academic general pediatrics in primary care, and I’d like to do some clinical care and some global health and other academic work.
I chose CHOP for several reasons. First of all it’s a very large hospital, and it’s a freestanding children’s hospital. CHOP has a wide variety of subspecialties, so it allows you to really see the very specialized and rare diseases, but it’s also the community hospital for West Philadelphia. So we do get to see bread and butter pediatrics as well.
I really liked Philadelphia, and I wanted to be in a kind of a midsized to large city with a lot of cultural amenities and a very diverse patient population.
What I’m most passionate about in pediatrics is health equity. I’m really interested in health disparities and why some children have higher morbidity of certain diseases and some children don’t. And I’m really interested in how we as pediatricians can be advocates for policy change that make health attainable for every child.
I got involved in some global health work in college, and I went to the Dominican Republic. And CHOP’s program in the DR was actually one of the big reason that I was interested in CHOP specifically. What I like about global health here at CHOP is that there is an emphasis on quality over quantity. So our two main sites are the Dominican Republic and Botswana, but both of those sites are really fantastic partnerships that the global health team has worked very hard to cultivate.
When I see little girls of color who look at me like they’ve never seen a doctor who looks like me before, it really gives me hope that I can be the person who demonstrates to them, you can do this. This is an option for you.
So for somebody like me who’s interested in policy and advocacy, there’s the CHOP PolicyLab which is a collaborative of physicians from different specialties as well as non-physicians, PhD scientists, and they all work on different issues around health policy and advocacy. And that’s a great way to get involved in that type of work.
I am also a poet. I’ve continued writing throughout residency. And last January I had my first full-length poetry collection published. This is called a Ghazal for Twins, and it’s about a birth that I was able to attend on my N/IICU rotation. It was a delivery of twins, and when the twins came out it was as if they were carrying on a conversation that they had been having in the womb for the past nine months. They were sort of calling back-and-forth to each other.
One brother unfolded from the other where his father’s hand was missing.
One mother was opened and drained until her blood ran clear with fish.
Owls flew from the operating table, dropping white paper wishes.
The twins called out, two constellations, stars overflowing from their flesh.
A grass sky turned to fluorescent light and her open mouth,
Her hundred stitches could not stop the dawn in flight.
It came with fingers glistening, bright and born they rocked our eyes.
Who would have known to listen?
They sang their every mirrored bone.
Each was the other’s christening.
The tiny gods they are have not yet learned to flinch.
To their perfect fists and the lambent world they wield
We add nothing but our witness.
Dr. Adam Dziorny's Residency Journey
Adam Dziorny, MD, PhD: I’ve always been I guess described as a bit of a geek. Throughout high school and college I was very interested in science and science research and computers.
My undergraduate degree was in computer science and engineering, but I was also very interested in medicine. I feel like it’s a little bit cliché to say I’ve always known I wanted to do pediatrics, but, but I truly feel that way. I really enjoy kids, and I really like the idea of being able to take care of children. I came to CHOP in 2012 as a pediatrics resident. I came here for a three-year residency. I had the good fortune of being asked to stay on and do a chief resident year, which allowed me to expand a lot of different areas of my training.
Coming to CHOP I knew on the interview day that this was the place that I wanted to be, and it just felt right. The people were amazing. The people were friendly. The co-residents were a supportive group that seemed like people who worked really hard and had that intellectual curiosity, but also supported each other in a way that was – that seemed very special
Really my biggest advice that I tell medical students about why they should choose CHOP for residency is I really don’t know of a place where you can get the depth and breadth of clinical training as you can get at CHOP.
My wife is also a pediatrics resident, and we had two children before we came to residency. And so we knew when we were applying for residencies that we wanted a program that was flexible and encouraged a balance if you will of family life and residency as much as that’s possible in a – in a demanding clinical residency. And we found that at CHOP.
In 2016, I entered my critical care fellowship. And then right around the beginning of that, I decided to combine that fellowship with a clinical informatics fellowship. Being able to be in a combined program of critical care and clinical informatics, really the first of its kind in the country, has enabled me to bring all of these things together that I enjoy doing. From being in the morning sitting at the computer and working on a data model or a machine learning problem, to in the afternoon going to clinic and taking care of some of the sickest patients in the hospital, it really has been an amazing opportunity and an amazing experience.
As a resident here at CHOP, we work in many different environments. We work in our Emergency Department. We work in outpatient clinics. We deal with patients coming in who have bread and butter pediatrics problems, but we also work in our N/IICU and our pediatric ICU, on our oncology units. It’s rewarding, because this is a connection that you make with the family that I think is unlike any other connection that people can make. You’re working with these families and they’re — sometimes in their hardest and most difficult hour.
For me it all comes down to the patient that’s in front of you and the kid that you get to see growing up and-and hopefully getting better.
Now I can say that I definitely am doing what I wanted to do when I grow up.
Dr. Christina Master's Residency Journey
Christina Master, MD: I think it takes a lot to be a great pediatrician. You have to really want and love interacting with people, with parents, with children. And you also really have to have a big heart. You have to care about what happens with these kids. What happens in their daily lives when they're well; what happens in their daily lives when they’re not well; and how illness and injury affects them.
My path to sports medicine would be what I might call a journey with a lot of twists and turns. I started out as an academic general pediatrician, and so for 17 years I actually saw primary care patients, as well as worked in the residency program as the Associate and Vice Program Director, doing a lot of teaching and administrating and working with residents in training and pediatrics. About seven years ago, I developed an interest in concussion. And as a result of that, I went back and conducted a sabbatical year in sports medicine, and then have returned to CHOP now and work in orthopaedics and take care of musculoskeletal patients as well as concussion, and that’s been a great journey for me.
The rewards of being in pediatrics here at CHOP are just tremendous. I think that in terms of just the day to day, I’m very, very lucky to be able to see patients, listen to their stories, take care of them, help them through challenging or difficult times. Also walk with them during really fun times as kids are growing and developing, and helping them to answer questions about what’s going on, and being a part of their lives. I think that’s really tremendous.
Beyond that, I get to work with really incredibly brilliant, bright, smart people who ask great questions, have the same motivations about taking care of kids, and those rewards are really tremendous.
So I would have never ever predicted that this is where I would have ended up, and that I think is really one of the beauties of being in pediatrics in a place like CHOP, because you can really pursue what’s interesting to you and take it where it leads you.
Related Centers and Programs: Pediatrics Residency Program