Mother Child W Physician

Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship Program

The Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin/Children’s Wisconsin is highly dedicated to not only maintaining the tradition of excellence within our training program but also leading the way in clinical, scholarly and educational offerings for our trainees.  All of us at MCW/Children's have made a promise to our patients to remain lifelong learners so we may always provide the best and safest care possible.  We also promise to foster the growth and development of our trainees by providing them with a truly exceptional, well-rounded educational experience while constantly re-examining not only what we teach, but how we teach it.  
Fellows 5

Leadership Statement

As Fellowship Director, it is my privilege and honor to foster the ongoing growth and development of the next generation of Pediatric Critical Care providers. Recognizing that leadership is truly a relationship built upon reciprocated respect and trust, we strive to provide our adult learners with an immersive educational experience that provides graduated autonomy. In the ever-advancing medical field, it is our mission to remain at the forefront of innovation while respecting the importance of securing a strong foundation in the core principals of Pediatric Critical Care.

Tara Petersen, MD, MSEd

 

Tara Petersen, MD, MSEd
Fellowship Director, Pediatric Critical Care

 

 

 




Pediatric Critical Care Fellow Tour

See the spaces and places you will spend time in as a pediatrics critical care fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

As a fellow, you will...

  • Experience a 36-month curriculum that is divided roughly into 16 months of clinical work and 20 months of research activities.   
  • The first year of fellowship is divided into 2- and 4-week blocks.  This first year of Critical Care Training is highly clinically focused with exposure to a diverse patient population across the medical, surgical/trauma and cardiac pediatric ICUs.  All first-year fellows receive PALS and ATLS certification as well as attend the National Pediatric Critical Care First Year Fellow Simulation Bootcamp.
  • Clinical service during the second and third years is done one week at a time, which allows for increased time dedicated to your scholarly project and ongoing career development including the opportunity to attend classes scheduled at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, programmatic development, allowance for increased blocks of time in the laboratory, etc.  Second year fellows attend the Clinical Research Course at the semi-annual Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators (PALISI) Conference.  Third year fellows attend the National Pediatric Critical Care Senior Fellow Simulation Bootcamp which is hosted right here at MCW/Children’s Wisconsin.
 

Details

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About the Program

Our fellows receive the majority of their training at Children's Wisconsin. Our 72-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit has approximately 2,000 admissions per year.

The 36-month curriculum is divided roughly into 16 months of clinical work and 20 months of research activities as follows:

The first year is conducted in four-week blocks. Clinical service during the second and third years is done one week at a time, which allows for increased time dedicated to your scholarly project and ongoing career development including the opportunity to attend classes scheduled at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, programmatic development, allowance for increased blocks of time in the laboratory, etc.

First Year

  • PICU – 25 weeks
  • Anesthesiology – 8 weeks
  • Research – 16 weeks
  • Transport – 2 weeks
  • Transport Medical Control – throughout the year
  • In-house call frequency, average – Every fifth night
  • Number of call nights/month – 5–6

Second Year

  • PICU – 14 weeks
  • Electives Available: bronchoscopy, neuro-critical care, procedural sedation, toxicology
  • Research – 34 weeks
  • Transport Medical Control – throughout the year
  • In-house call frequency, average – Every fifth night
  • Number of call nights/month – 5–6

Third Year

  • PICU – 15 weeks
  • Electives Available: bronchoscopy, neuro-critical care, procedural sedation, toxicology
  • Research – 36 weeks
  • Transport Medical Control – throughout the year
  • In-house call frequency, average – Every sixth night
  • Number of call nights/month – 4–5

Mentorship during fellowship is considered very important. Mentors offer unique guidance because they have been in your position and are using their experience for your benefit. Throughout the pediatric critical care fellowship training you will work closely with faculty members who will offer advice, guidance and feedback along the way.

Once you start your research rotation you will have scholarly meetings. This is a multidisciplinary meeting where you have the opportunity to talk about your interests and projects you would like to pursue. Based on your interest, you will be encouraged to meet up with several faculty at MCW who have common goals. Ultimately, you and your team will highlight someone as your primary research mentor. This is someone who shares a similar research interest who can offer guidance in the planning phase of your research project. They will help to keep your research project on track and will meet with you during your research time to collaborate on ideas and progress. Each Fellow also has one of the primary administration faculty as their go-to resource throughout fellowship. They will be present at faculty meetings as well as semi-annual reviews. Although all of the primary administration directors are involved with the progress of each Fellow, this is someone who is dedicated to knowing specific details of your fellowship experience. This is your Advisor who not only helps to ensure you are meeting all of the criteria for graduation but helps to keep your long-term goals in consideration.

Educational Conferences

In addition to practical clinical experience we provide other structured opportunities for learning, including:

Critical Care Section Conferences:

  • Core Conference
    A foundational weekly conference including didactics and group discussions with multiple disciplines on core principles within basic and advanced pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapeutics.

  • RESCQ Conference (Research, Ethics, Safety, Career Development and Quality Improvement)
    Weekly presentations/discussions on Research (such as: study design, statistics, databases, organization and interpretation of literature, manuscript writing and editing, oral and poster presentations, evidence-based medicine, journal club, and research in progress updates), Ethics (including: clinical, professional and research), Patient Safety Science, Career Development for Fellows (such as: work-life balance, career longevity, resiliency, how to choose a mentor, career selection panels) and Quality Improvement (including project updates, QI methodology, etc.)

  • Code Conference
    A monthly multidisciplinary, faculty mentored/fellow- and advanced practice provider-led objective data-driven review and discussion of the previous month’s Code Blue Activations within the Pediatric Critical Care Unit.

  • Neuro-Critical Care Conference
    A monthly multidisciplinary (critical care, neonatology, neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, infectious disease and physical medicine and rehabilitation) case-based discussion focused on highlighted our shared Neuro-Critical Care patient population.

  • Systems Improvement Conference
    A monthly, faculty mentored/fellow-led discussion focused on practice-based medicine, quality improvement, patient safety science and system-wide improvement opportunities within Pediatric Critical Care.

Additional Conferences:

  • “Tuesday Conference” - A rotating schedule comprised of:
  • PICU Bedside Rounds
    Case-based discussions with fellows and local "experts," occurs in the medical/surgical ICU twice per month

  • CICU Bedside Rounds Lecture Series
    Case-based discussions with fellows and local "experts," occurs in the Cardiac ICU twice per month

  • Fellow’s Simulation Lab
    These are monthly hands-on learning sessions focused on a fellow’s development of critical thinking skills including crisis resource management and awareness of situational and cognitive biases that we all hold in some regards. Additional multi-disciplinary simulation offerings occur throughout the year during in-situ mock codes and procedural workshops. First year fellows also receive funding (through a grant from the Wisconsin Dairy Cares Foundation) and service coverage to attend the National Fellowship Bootcamp where several of our faculty members and nurse practitioners are instructors!
  • PICU Fellow Board Review
    A monthly, faculty mentored/fellow lead session comprised of a brief didactic followed by practice of sample questions from American Board of Pediatrics: Pediatric Critical Care Board Exam and an in-depth team discussion of answers. These sessions assist in not only building one’s fund of knowledge but also on solidifying test taking skills.

  • Cardiac Cath Conference
    Weekly multidisciplinary review of upcoming cardiothoracic surgery procedures, presented by cardiologists and surgeons.

  • Joint Fellowship Curriculum (JFC)
    A required monthly presentation of topics for academicians-in-training from all disciplines.

  • Multidisciplinary Surgical Conference
    Bi-monthly fellow-led conference for critical care, general surgery, and anesthesiology.

  • Pediatric Grand Rounds
    Weekly lecture for staff physicians, trainees, and students.

  • Professor Rounds
    A weekly, interactive hospital-wide clinical case presentation conference presented by a senior pediatric resident. A beloved tradition at the Children’s Wisconsin!!

  • Trauma Grand Rounds
    Monthly lecture on trauma-related topics.

Other Conferences and Meetings:

  • Fellow Administrative Meeting
    Required monthly meeting directed by the Fellowship Director. The objective is to learn and practice administrative and leadership skills, focusing on issues that impact the fellowship.

  • Lunch with the Leaders
    Informal meeting over lunch with the Fellowship Leaders (Program Director, Associate Program Directors and Fellowship Research Directors). Discussions vary from career development, to getting to know your team members and more!

  • Other Committee Meetings
    Second- and third-year fellows may be appointed to a committee relevant to their clinical or research interests by the Section Chief or Fellowship Leaders.
In the Life of a Critical Care Fellow

OVERVIEW/THROUGHOUT FELLOWSHIP

  • We have 3 multidisciplinary units:
    • West 3: The cardiac ICU where you will manage pre- and post-operative patients with congenital heart disease and complex airway malformations, patients with cardiac transplants, various ventricular assist devices, and ECMO (VV and VA).
    • West 4: Focused on trauma/surgical ICU care where you learn post-op management for variety of post-op patients with neurosurgery, general surgery, ENT, and solid organ transplant (predominantly liver and kidney)
    • West 5: Focused on sepsis and oncology including bone marrow transplant/hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients
  • Work directly with residents and nurse practitioners in teams on each floor
  • Respond to Code Blue alarms throughout the hospital and actively participate in the trauma bay resuscitation
  • Develop skills in triaging admissions and transport patients through our “3939” pager
  • Develop presentation skills through journal club, systems improvement conference, etc

TYPICAL DAY

  • 7:00 am receive sign-out from the overnight team
  • 12:00 pm conference mostly on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesday
  • Board review on some Fridays
  • There are some other opportunities for conferences other days of the week
  • 4:00 pm sign out to the overnight team

FIRST YEAR

  • Get immersed in clinical care for gaining comfort and confidence in the PICU early
  • Begin learning and mastering routine procedures: arterial lines, peripheral IVs, central venous lines, chest tube placement, and intubation both in the unit and on 2 months of anesthesia
  • Travel with our transport team to various regions during a 2 week rotation

SECOND YEAR

  • Clinical time is significantly decreased to allow for time to focus on your research project
  • Participate in a quality improvement project
  • Gain more autonomy during your service weeks
  • Twice monthly transport shifts where you may go by ground or air
  • Serve as members of committees such as Code Review, Death Review, etc
  • Get involved in activities that achieve personal goals and professional development such as facilitate mock codes, teach PALS (pediatric advance life support) or PFCCS (pediatric fundamental critical care support)
    -
    THIRD YEAR
  • Work on finishing your research project and/or completing additional projects
  • Present your research at a conference
  • Twice monthly transport shifts where you may go by ground or air
  • Consider electives such as Neuro-Critical Care, bronchoscopy, procedural sedation, palliative care, or toxicology. Past fellows have also spent extra time with cardiology in cath lab, echo, or EP
  • Supervise residents, NPs, and junior fellow’s procedures
  • Transition to becoming an attending
  • Continue to serve in committees and get involved in activities that achieve personal goals and professional development
Our Faculty
Our experienced, talented faculty are excited to support you throughout your fellowship.

Meet Our Faculty

Thoughts from Our Fellows

"'Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.’ Without question, I can say that there are so many great teachers here at Children's that I think even an entire fellowship is a short time to learn from all of them.”

"I think that, in addition to our high volume and acuity exposure, we have unique experiences with our transport and trauma involvement."

"Training to become a pediatric intensivist at Children's has been a great adventure. One of the primary reasons that has made fellowship such a positive experience has been the leadership and support of the fellowship program. Being a critical care fellow comes with several challenges that go well beyond taking care of the critically ill child. While I knew I would receive excellent clinical experience here at Children's as the foundation of my training, the fellowship program has really helped me grow in ways that go beyond these clinical aspects. Areas of focus, such as professional development, mentoring, critical thinking, and work-life balance are not just discussions that get you through one day to the next but lessons that perpetually push me to grow in ways that are both unexpected and genuine. I am truly grateful to be the part of this process at Children's and feel better prepared to be a pediatric intensivist in more ways than I ever imagined because of it."

“The program here has such a wide variety of pathology among its patients as a fellow you feel prepared to care for all patients following your time here. The support from faculty in regard to clinical experience and research is the best, ultimately preparing you for nothing but success in future endeavors.”

“Working with faculty from different training backgrounds helps develop familiarity with different practices and management approaches.”

“The fellowship training has high patient volume, exposing you to a variety of disease processes and medical complexity. There are also multiple institutional affiliations, which create a wide array of research opportunities.”

“My favorite thing about the PICU fellowship program here at Children's is definitely the people I work with. It’s more like a family than anything. I consider myself extremely lucky to have such and amazing leadership, faculty, co-fellows, NPs and nurses.”

Living and Training in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets and a prime location for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s main campus. A one-of-a-kind city with a vibrant and diverse culture, this charming, yet metropolitan must-see is just 90 minutes north of Chicago and nestled on the coast of Lake Michigan. Whether you’re catching a show at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, immersing yourself in the old world charm of the Historic Third Ward or taking in the sights and sounds of one of the many cafés, beer gardens or restaurants that line the city’s riverbank and shoreline, Milwaukee never disappoints. Find out why MCW students, faculty and employees take pride in calling Milwaukee home.

Where do the current fellows live?

  • Brewer's Hill in downtown Milwaukee
  • Wauwatosa
  • Oak Creek
  • Third Ward
  • Brookfield
  • Lower East Side

Favorite places fellows have visited in Wisconsin:

  • Devil’s Lake near Madison
  • Whetherby Cranberry Company
  • Lakefront
  • Summerfest
  • Door County
  • Two Rivers
  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Sunrise at Cave Point County Park
  • Wisconsin State Parks

Favorite restaurants in Milwaukee:

  • Odd Duck
  • Elephant Cafe
  • Ca’lucchenzo 
  • Carnevor 
  • La Masa 
  • Anmol
  • Stella Van Buren
  • Celesta
  • Amilinda
  • Dorsia
  • The Original
  • Kin by Rice and Roll

MCW is a great choice for your work. And your life.

More about Milwaukee

I find immense value in the ability to work as a multidisciplinary group within the PICU. Our institution has many great minds and leaders in their respective fields. The opportunity to have an open and collegial discussion with other subspecialties regarding not only patient care but ongoing research and education has been instrumental in my growth and development as a fellow. There is a great respect for the fact that our hospital is a teaching institution on many levels and faculty take every opportunity to teach and mentor trainees.”

A former Fellow

Our Third Year Fellows (2018-2021)

Moodakare Ashwini Bhat, MBBS

Bhat M Ashwini 201821

Medical School: Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute
Pediatric Residency: Harlem Hospital Center

Favorite ice cream: Chocolate Chip
Favorite hobby: Reading
Favorite Disney movie: The Lion King

 

 

 

Ali Hemyari, MD

Hemyari Ali 201821

Medical School: University of Virginia School of Medicine
Pediatric Residency: Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Favorite ice cream: Chocolate
Favorite hobby: Camping
Favorite Disney movie: Lilo and Stitch

 

Palak Shah, DO

Shah Palak 201821

Medical School: A.T. Still University – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
Pediatric Residency: Advocate Children’s Hospital - Park Ridge

Favorite ice cream: Cookies and Cream
Favorite hobby: Puzzles
Favorite Disney movie: The Lion King

 

Kellie Snooks, DO

Snooks Kellie 201821

Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University
Pediatric Residency: Advocate Children’s Hospital - Oak Lawn

Favorite ice cream: Strawberry
Favorite hobby: Softball pitching lessons
Favorite Disney movie: Beauty and the Beast

 

Our Second Year Fellows (2019-2022)

John Benson, MD

Benson John Bill 201922

Medical School: Creighton University School of Medicine
Pediatric Residency: Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas

Favorite ice cream: Cookie Dough
Favorite hobby: Music
Favorite Disney movie: Star Wars Episode V Empire Strikes Back

 

Kathryn Higdon, MD

Higdon Katy 201922

Medical School: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Pediatric Residency: Spectrum Health - Michigan State University

Favorite ice cream: Ben & Jerry's Half Baked
Favorite hobby: Dancing
Favorite Disney movie: Beauty and the Beast

 

Vickren Pillay, MD

Pillay Vic 201922

Medical School: Medical University of the Americas – Nevis
Pediatric Residency: Louisiana State University Health Science Center

Favorite ice cream: Cotton Candy
Favorite hobby: Spending time with twin girls
Favorite Disney movie: Winnie the Pooh

 

Kelsey Wehrenberg, DO

Wehrenberg Kelsey 201922

Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University
Pediatric Residency: University of Florida at Orlando Health

Favorite ice cream: Jeni's Brambleberry Crisp
Favorite hobby: Scuba Diving and Running
Favorite Disney movie: Mulan

 

Besma Jaber, MD

Jaber Besma 201923

Medical School: University of Minnesota Medical School
Pediatric Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals

Favorite ice cream: Leon’s Butter Pecan 
Favorite hobby: Makeup Artistry
Favorite Disney movie: Aladdin

 

Our First Year Fellows 2020-2023

Fatima Ajmal, MD

Ajmal Fatima 20200701

Medical School: University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Residency: AdventHealth Orlando

Favorite ice cream: Stracciatella
Favorite hobby: Painting
Favorite Disney movie: The Lion King

 
 

Cameron Kasmai, MD

Kasmai Cam 20200701

Medical School: Meharry Medical College
Residency: Spectrum Health/Michigan State University/Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

Favorite ice cream: Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip
Favorite hobby: Golf
Favorite Disney movie: Robin Hood
 

 

Christena McBride, MD

McBride Christena 20200701

Medical School: Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Residency: Oregon Health & Science University

Favorite ice cream: Mint Chocolate Chip
Favorite hobby: Skiing
Favorite Disney movie: Coco

 
 

Merritt Tuttle, MD

Tuttle Merritt 20200701

Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin

Favorite ice cream: Peanut Butter
Favorite hobby: Hiking
Favorite Disney movie: The Emperor’s New Groove

Our Team

Tara Petersen, MD, MSEd

Tara Petersen, MD, MSEd

Director, Fellowship Program

Shilpa Narayan, MD

shilpa-narayan

Associate Director, Fellowship Program

Maggie Reichertz

Reichertz Maggie Professional Portrait

Fellowship Coordinator

 

Contact Us

Department of Pediatrics

Critical Care
9000 W. Wisconsin Ave. MS 681
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Maggie Reichertz

Fellowship Program Coordinator
Pediatrics Critical Care
(414) 337-6773
mreichertz@mcw.edu