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Rheumatology Fellowship Program – Program Description

Clinical experience

The first year is focused on learning rheumatology through didactics and intensive closely precepted exposure to patient care with an emphasis on an abundant continuity experience that aims to foster rapid acquisition of independent skills and experience in the care of patients with complex rheumatic diseases. Fellows participate in 4 outpatient continuity clinics a week and the inpatient consult service 9 months/year. They also rotate through clinics in Orthopedics, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Dermatology (including a clinic devoted to autoimmune and rheumatologic diseases), Pain Management, Ophthalmology (Uveitis clinic), and Lyme disease. Starting this past year, fellows have had the opportunity to attend a community based clinic and have provided very positive feedback on this experience. During the first year, fellows initiate their research projects through discussion with the faculty within the division and institution. Mentorship during the first year is primarily provided by Dr. Robert Kalish. The intimate nature of the division promotes close working and the development of mentorship relationships with other faculty as well.

Research experience

The second year provides clinical continuity (2-3 clinics/week, 3 months inpatient consults), a dedicated monthly ultrasound clinic in which two patients are seen for diagnostic or therapeutic ultrasound investigation, and the opportunity for a meaningful research experience tailored to the interest of the fellow. Drs. Tim McAlindon, Will Harvey, Shanthini Kasturi, and Steven Vlad provide overall mentorship of the research education. Second year fellows take on increasing administrative and teaching responsibilities including coordination of the rheumatology conference schedule, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives and didactic presentations to the residents and medical students. A focused experience in musculoskeletal ultrasound is provided through a dedicated monthly ultrasound clinic in which patients are seen for diagnostic or therapeutic ultrasound investigation. Starting this academic year we are pleased that this clinic will be led by Dr. Jurgen Craig-Muller who has a high level of experience and expertise in the use of ultrasound in both his rheumatology practice and as an instructor in the USSONAR program.

Fellows are encouraged to apply for and complete the USSONAR program and we have been pleased that about half of our recent fellows have successfully completed this. The second year fellow also gains exposure to the rheumatic diseases of childhood through attendance at the Pediatric Rheumatology clinic at Tufts Medical Center at Tufts Medical Center once each month for 6 months under the direct supervision of the Pediatric Rheumatology division’s clinical faculty.

Fellows may elect to complete a third year of fellowship dedicated to research that is not an ACGME-approved slot. Fellows participating in this research training year take classes in aspects of clinical research methodologies, undergo research ethics training and develop and deploy an involved research protocol. Fellows who complete a third year are supported through the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) through which they obtain a Master’s degree.

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