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Fellowship Information

Rheumatology Fellowship Program Statement

The primary mission of the of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin is to provide clinical and research training to fellows who wish to study in an interdisciplinary environment and desire to achieve intellectually stimulating careers as productive rheumatologists.

The program, two years in length, provides an opportunity for in-depth study and research of rheumatic diseases. The experience will result in trained physicians who ultimately can be academic or private practice rheumatologists with knowledge to practice, teach, and perform research.

Clinical Experience

The patient population consists of 45% adults over 65 years of age and 55% 18-64 years of age at two venues: MCW Rheumatology fellows and staff

Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital (FMLH), a large academic medical center, and Zablocki VA Medical Center, an affiliate of the Medical College of Wisconsin. The fellows are exposed to inpatients and outpatients of diverse backgrounds and disease processes. Rheumatology fellows have weekly continuity clinics at FMLH and VA hospitals. They rotate on inpatient consultative service at both locations 6 months (3 month at each site) in both years of their training. There is also a required rotation at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin where fellows work with prominent pediatric rheumatologists (link to Children's Hospital).


The Rheumatology Fellowship Program teaches fellows clinical procedures associated with specific diseases. A major focus is the multitude of diagnostic laboratory testing procedures utilizing our dedicated rheumatology lab for evaluation of various rheumatic diseases. Diagnostic testing and procedures include but are not limited to: arthrocentesis and therapeutic injection, synovial fluid analysis, interpretation of results of specific rheumatologic laboratory tests, and assessment of radiographs of normal and diseases of joints. There are monthly musculoskeletal ultrasound workshops teaching the basics of ultrasonography over the course of the two year fellowship. The fellows participate in a weekly injection clinic which allows further practice of learned ultrasound techniques.


Weekly conferences include fellows’ curriculum series, journal clubs, case conferences, radiology conferences, and research conferences. There are monthly rheumatology board review discussions. In addition to this, there is a quarterly M&M, combined ortho-rheum, and adult-peds rheum conference.


The fellows learn the necessary research techniques involved in the successful completion of their basic and clinical research projects. Each fellow is expected to complete a research project based on the fellow’s and mentor’s interest resulting in abstract, presentation and/or publication. Fellows have the opportunity to participate in a formal research methodology course.

Faculty Involvement
Extensive one-on-one faculty/fellow interaction occurs daily through outpatient and inpatient experiences. Faculty is also available for discussions to clarify issues. Fellows have a continuity clinic at both locations (FMLH and VA) where they have close faculty supervision. Fellow involvement in a specific patient's care evolves as the fellow's knowledge and ability increases.

Faculty members involved in the training program include:

Dr. Ann K. Rosenthal, Chief of Rheumatology, participates in clinical and research fellow training including but not limited to pyrophosphate crystal deposition disease, gout, pseudogout, and other rheumatologic diseases. She has NIH and VA funding to support her research. Dr. Rosenthal is a fellows’ preceptor in outpatient clinic and inpatient rotation at the VA hospital.

Dr. Irina Konon, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Fellowship Program Director. Dr. Konon has special interest in rheumatoid arthritis and early inflammatory arthritis. She plays active role in curriculum and education as well as fellows’ evaluations. Dr. Konon attends on the inpatient consultative service at FMLH.

Dr. Lawrence M. Ryan, Professor of Medicine, a winner of multiple teaching awards, shares his extensive knowledge of rheumatology and general internal medicine. He has special interest in crystal disease and osteoarthritis. Dr. Ryan mentors fellows in the rheumatology clinic and precepts on inpatient rheumatology consultative service at FMLH. He mentors fellows’ clinical projects.

Dr. M.E. Csuka, Professor of Medicine, has a special expertise in scleroderma and osteoporosis. Fellows have the opportunity to rotate in her subspecialty clinics. Dr. Csuka has many ongoing clinical projects and trials. She includes fellows in many of her projects.

Dr. Mary E. Cronin, Professor of Medicine, a winner of the Murphy clinical excellence award, is a superb clinician with special interest in systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory myopathies. She holds leadership roles in Lupus Foundation, WI chapter and American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Cronin precepts fellows in outpatient clinics at both FMLH and VA hospital and attends on consultative service at FMLH. Dr. Cronin has many ongoing clinical trials.

Dr. Neal R. Nygard, Assistant Professor of Medicine, spends the majority of his time at the Zablocki VA Medical Center. He interacts with fellows in the clinic and on the consultative service at the VA. Dr. Nygard shares with the fellows his extensive expertise in immunology.

Dr. Richard Hariman, Assistant Professor of Medicine, a winner of the “teacher of the year” award presented by the internal medicine residents, is active in curriculum development for residents and students. He has a special interest in musculoskeletal ultrasound and osteoporosis. Dr. Hariman acts as an attending in outpatient rheumatology fellows’ clinic and inpatient consults.

Dr. David J. Gazeley, Assistant Professor of Medicine, is a recent addition to the faculty, with a special interest in retroperitoneal fibrosis. Dr. Gazeley participates in weekly teaching conferences and attends on the inpatient rheumatology consult service.

Contract & Benefits Information:  Please use the following link to access information about the terms, conditions and benefits of employment:   http://www.mcw.edu/GME/BenefitsMainPage.htm


Fellowship Coordinator Information: 
Brooke Lessmiller – Rheumatology Fellowship Program Coordinator
Department of Medicine – Educational Programs
Medical College of Wisconsin
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 805-0516


© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/03/2014