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Welcome to the Medical College of Wisconsin Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship!

We believe that we have an outstanding fellowship program designed to prepare graduates to be outstanding clinicians, productive scholars, and effective leaders in the academic pediatric rheumatology community. One year of clinical training is followed by two years developing knowledge and skills in a specific scholarly activity, all under the close mentorship of a supportive, enthusiastic and experienced faculty.  
Fellowship office door

A Message from our Program Director

The combined experience and expertise of our group of pediatric rheumatologists covers the entire spectrum of pediatric rheumatology including clinical care of children with rheumatic, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal ultrasound, basic and clinical immunology research, translational research, clinical trials, quality improvement, and educational scholarship. Our graduates have obtained academic faculty appointments around the country, are emerging leaders of the pediatric rheumatology community, and have held national committee positions with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Rheumatology, the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, and the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group.

Our goal is to train you for an enjoyable, rewarding, and academically productive career as a pediatric rheumatologist. We hope you will explore our website further and learn more about all that our fellowship training program can do for you.

Danielle Fair, MD
Assistant Professor and Fellowship Program Director

Fellowship Overview

Watch this overview presentation to learn more about our Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship!

A Conversation with Our Fellows

Two fellows discuss their experience as part of our Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship with our program director.

Meet Our Faculty 

MCW Pediatric Rheumatology faculty discuss our fellowship program, our institutions and Milwaukee.

As a fellow, you will...

  • Learn to care for patients with conditions that span the entire spectrum of rheumatic, autoimmune, autoinflammatory, and musculoskeletal disease within a large, tertiary-care, free-standing children’s hospital and clinics
  • Identify and develop your personal scholarly interest(s) with close mentorship from faculty
  • Attend and ideally present your scholarly activity at regional and national conferences
  • Develop your skills teaching patients and families, residents, and medical students
  • Learn with other fellows within the department by participating in a joint fellowship curriculum which teaches skills and knowledge common to all subspecialties
  • Work within a division and department that recognizes and supports the well-being and personal needs of fellows, residents, and medical students

About Our Fellowship

The Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin is a three-year program designed to educated and train individuals for a career as an academic pediatric rheumatologist. The program was initially accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2003 and has maintained continuous, full accreditation since that time.
Clinical Experience

Fellow Ultrasound

During the first year of the fellowship, fellows will receive an intensive and thorough clinical experience with the goal of learning to diagnose and manage the rheumatic diseases of childhood.  Fellows will attend three half-day ambulatory clinics each week, including their own continuity clinic, and will evaluate patients on the in-patient and consult service every weekday and two weekends each month.  Fellows are responsible for the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of children representing the entire spectrum of rheumatic, autoimmune, inflammatory, and musculoskeletal disease including Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Juvenile Dermatomyositis, Scleroderma, and Vasculitis.  Fellows work very closely with all faculty who provide guidance, education, support, and supervision throughout the duration of the program. Fellows will also rotate for two half-days in the Ophthalmology Clinic with one of the pediatric ophthalmology uveitis specialists. First-year fellows are on call from home three weeknights each week and two weekends per month, always with a supervising faculty member.

Fellows in the second and third years attend two half-day ambulatory clinics each week, including their own continuity clinic.  In addition, there are scheduled clinical ambulatory rotations in the Nephrology Clinic, Dermatology Clinic, and Sports Medicine Clinic where fellows will evaluate patients under the supervision of faculty in those disciplines.  Two months of additional clinical elective time is available, and fellows also have the option of attending Immunodeficiency Clinic if interested.  The third-year fellow functions as a “Junior Attending” during one month on the in-patient and consult service, remaining under the supervision of faculty but provided with sufficient autonomy to learn to become comfortable as the primary responsible provider and consultant.

In the second and third years, fellows are on call from home one weeknight each week and one weekend each month, always with a supervising faculty member.

All fellows learn musculoskeletal ultrasound with scheduled hands-on educational time beginning in the first year.  Interested fellows are also encouraged to participate in the USSONAR year-long ultrasound course during their second or third year.  All fellows learn to perform ultrasound-guided joint injections under the supervision of faculty who have completed the USSONAR course.

Fellows attend a weekly rheumatology section case conference where all patients evaluated in the ambulatory clinic the previous week are reviewed and discussed by faculty, nursing, fellows, and ancillary staff.  First-year fellows are expected to present one of their cases with a literature review each month at weekly Journal Club. Quarterly conferences are held with the adult rheumatology section where interesting patients and topics of mutual interest are discussed.
Scholarly Experience
Nissim Lab for Website_2

The second and third years of fellowship are primarily dedicated to the development of scholarly activity. Fellows identify their area(s) of interest, typically during their first year, and then begin planning their scholarly activity during the first year, with implementation of the plan throughout the second and third years. Four tracks are available, which include specific curricula designed to enhance the fellow’s knowledge and skills in a specific scholarly area. These tracks are Clinical/Translational, Quality Improvement, Basic Science, and Educational. All fellows are expected to complete at least one full scholarly project, which ideally will result in presentations at national conferences and eventual publication. There is the opportunity to pursue Master’s degrees for those who are interested, both here at the Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate School and potentially at other institutions. All fellows will have a primary mentor for their scholarly activity, and all will also form a Scholarship Oversight Committee, consisting of three faculty who are then responsible for guiding the fellow, providing constructive assistance for their scholarly project, and ensuring that the fellow will meet the scholarly requirements of the American Board of Pediatrics by the completion of the training program.

Throughout the three years of the training program, fellows participate in a joint fellowship curriculum within the Department of Pediatrics for all subspecialty fellows, which provides education and training in scholarship and other topics common to all subspecialty fellows.

All fellows participate in the quality improvement activities of the rheumatology section and fellows are expected to also attend at least one additional educational activity designed to improve their knowledge and experience regarding quality improvement concepts.

Fellows also attend the Children’s Research Institute weekly scientific conference and the Department of Pediatrics K-Club Research Conference.
All fellows attend the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, the Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium (PRSYM), and the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) meeting.

Fellows are expected to teach the students and residents participating in electives with the pediatric rheumatology service. During a weekly teaching conference dedicated to the students and residents, the fellow is expected to lead discussions regarding the major rheumatic diseases of childhood. This is done under the supervision of faculty, who help guide the fellow in their teaching activities and provide constructive advice regarding their teaching activities.

Fellowship Conference Schedule

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Pediatric Rheumatology Journal Club/Invited Speakers




Rheumatology Case Conference




Pediatric Rheumatology Teaching Conference




Department of Pediatrics Professor Rounds




Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds




Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow Board Review




Department Joint Fellowship Curriculum




Pediatric/Adult Rheumatology Conference




Rheumatology Adverse Event Safety Conference




Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Practicum




Children's Research Institute Conference




Department of Pediatrics K-Club Research Conference




Immunology Review

Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)

Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)

Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)



The curriculum is intentionally heavily weighted toward clinical experience in the first year, allowing the first-year fellow the opportunity to learn to evaluate a large number of patients, with a wide variety of rheumatic, musculoskeletal, autoinflammatory, and autoimmune conditions. The first-year fellow will thereby quickly and consistently improve their knowledge of rheumatic diseases, their understanding of the principles of management of rheumatic diseases, and will also develop excellent diagnostic and technical skills. The second and third years intentionally provide a large amount of time to develop and implement a scholarly project. During these two years, fellows focus on developing the skills and knowledge that will allow them to be successful academic pediatric rheumatologists. Fellows choose to complete specific curricula in one of four scholarly activity tracks: basic research, clinical and translational research, quality improvement, and education. The specific curricula within each track serve to enhance the fellow’s education in a specific scholarly area, further preparing them for an eventual academic career. Throughout the three years, there are multiple and frequent didactic conferences which supplement the clinical learning that occurs while providing patient care.

Year 1

Clinical Experience

  • 49 weeks: Ambulatory Clinics Three half-days each week (includes Fellows Clinic which is intended to develop continuity of care with Fellow as primary provider)
  • 47 weeks: In-patient Consult and Rheumatology In-Patient Rounds
  • Two half-days: Ophthalmology Clinic

Scholarly Activity

  • One half-day every other week from October through June and one 2-week block in January is protected time dedicated to develop scholarly interests, meet with scholarship mentors, establish scholarship oversight committee, and plan for activities in years 2 and 3


  • Weekly Journal Club
  • Weekly Learn-to-Teach Conference
  • Weekly Board Review
  • Bi-weekly Immunology Review (second half of year)
  • Bimonthly Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Review (Practical Hands-On Instruction)
  • Quarterly Combined Medicine-Pediatric Rheumatology Conference (Case Discussions)
  • Semi-Annually Adverse Event/Safety Conference
  • Semi-Annual Department Joint Fellowship Conference (all subspecialty fellows)

Year 2

Clinical Experience

  • 49 weeks: Ambulatory Clinic Two half-days each week (includes Fellows Clinic)
  • Nephrology Clinic (over a 3-month period fellow will attend clinic to evaluate selected patients identified in advance; average of 1 patient per week over the 3-month duration)
  • Sports Medicine Clinic (Six half-days over a 3-month period)

Scholarly Activity

  • 49 weeks: Fellow chooses a specific track: see Scholarly Tracks below


  • Weekly Journal Club
  • Weekly Board Review
  • Bi-weekly Immunology Review (second half of year)
  • Bimonthly Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Review (Practical Hands-On Instruction)
  • Quarterly Combined Medicine-Pediatric Rheumatology Conference (Case Discussions)
  • Semi-Annually Adverse Event/Safety Conference
  • Semi-Annual Department Joint Fellowship Conference (all subspecialty fellows)

Year 3

Clinical Experience

  • 49 weeks: Ambulatory Clinic Two half-days each week (includes Fellows Clinic)
  • 1 month: In-patient Rheumatology patients and consults (“Acting Attending”)
  • Dermatology Clinic (Six half-days over a 3-month period)

Scholarly Activity

  • 45 weeks: Continuation of Track Curriculum; completion of specific project; potential manuscript preparation and submission


  • Weekly Journal Club
  • Weekly Board Review
  • Bi-weekly Immunology Review (second half of year)
  • Bimonthly Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Review (Practical Hands-On Instruction)
  • Quarterly Combined Medicine-Pediatric Rheumatology Conference (Case Discussions)
  • Semi-Annually Adverse Event/Safety Conference
  • Semi-Annual Department Joint Fellowship Conference (all subspecialty fellows)

Scholarly Tracks

There are 4 distinct Scholarly Tracks from which each fellow may choose. In addition to the common curriculum above, there are specific expectations for fellows in each track during Years 2 and 3 of the program and these are outlined below.

Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Basic Research Track Curriculum

Track Director: Calvin Williams, MD, PhD

The Basic Research Track is designed to develop the fellow’s knowledge and skills in basic science research, and is designed for those with an interest in a pediatric rheumatology career focused on laboratory research. The goal is to train the fellow to become an independent and productive grant-funded research scientist.

Year 1

  • Meet with prospective laboratory mentors
  • Identify a project and finalize a mentorship team
  • Limited directed reading in preparation for year 2

Year 2

  • Take American Association of Immunologists Basic Immunology course (optional)
  • Audit MCW Basic Immunology course (optional)
  • Begin laboratory work
  • Write K08 application if appropriate
  • Complete outline of manuscript by the end of year 2

Year 3

  • Take AAI Advanced Immunology course (if appropriate)
  • Audit MCW Immunology minicourses (optional)
  • Focus on laboratory work
  • Re-submit K08 application if appropriate
  • Submit manuscript by the end of year 3

Year 4 (optional)

  • Hire as Instructor or Assistant Professor (successful K08 + paper published)
  • On-call responsibilities (no more than 4 weeks per year)
  • Clinic – ½ day/week clinic
  • Focus on laboratory work (> 75% protected time)
  • Re-submit K08 application if appropriate

Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Clinical/Translational Scholarship Track Curriculum

Track Director: James Verbsky, MD, PhD

The curriculum of the Clinical/Translational Scholarship track is designed for fellows who wish to pursue a research career that involves patient care, patient interventions, or research based on patient samples. This requires a strong understanding of the regulatory issues involved with the study of human subjects. In addition, with the advancement in genetic technologies and their ever-increasing use in patient care, this track will also provide a background on the interpretation of genetic testing.

Year 1

  • Completion of the CITI training program
  • Determine specific fellowship project
  • Meet with prospective mentors
  • Prepare and submit proposal to IRB before end of year
  • Attend quarterly Clinical and Translational Education Sessions (discuss practical scholarship-related issues such as IRB, HIPPA compliance, informed consent process, etc.)
  • Join Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and attend conference calls related to specific interests and annual meeting

Year 2

  • Implementation of fellowship project utilizing patient data or samples
  • Completion of MCW-sponsored Personalized Medicine/Personalized genetics course
  • (Optional) Pursuit of MCW Master’s in Clinical and Translational Science (if funding available through department)
  • Attendance at quarterly Clinical and Translational Education Sessions
  • Attend CARRA and conference calls and yearly meeting
  • Monthly meeting with Dr. Verbsky to discuss topics related to genetic testing interpretation (e.g., case reviews, recent literature, practical issues related to genetics)

Year 3

  • Completion of fellowship project utilizing patient data or samples
  • Continuation and completion of MCW Master’s curriculum (if enrolled)
  • Attendance at quarterly Clinical and Translational Education Sessions
  • Attend CARRA and conference calls and yearly meeting
  • Participate in MCW DOP Grant writing workshop
  • Monthly meeting with Dr. Verbsky to discuss topics related to genetic testing interpretation

Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Quality Improvement (QI) Track Curriculum

Track Director: Danielle Fair, MD

The goal of the QI track curriculum in pediatric rheumatology is to provide education and experiences for pediatric rheumatology fellows interested in developing knowledge and skills to prepare them for further scholarly activity in the area of QI. A completed QI project is expected, and it is desirable for this project to be the scholarly focus of the fellow. The following activities will constitute the curriculum for this track during the three years of fellowship training:


  • Completion of IHI on-line open school Basic QI safety and quality certificate (13 modules)
  • MCW Scholars in Patient Safety and QI Improvement Program –participation in years 2 and 3 for completion of project
  • QI monthly journal club: monthly discussion of journal articles with Dr. Fair
  • Assigned readings on QI with discussion with Dr. Fair every other month
  • OPTIONAL: Children’s Wisconsin QIP Program-participation in years 2 and 3


  • Engage in national Pediatric Rheumatology QI activities:
  • Pediatric Rheumatology Care and Outcomes Improvement Network (PR-COIN)
    • QI essentials courses will be completed
    • Twice yearly learning sessions and monthly participation with national teams
    • Fellow will be a leader of MCW site team
    • Fellow will complete a scholarly project
    • Fellow will participate in CARRA QI workgroup

Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Educational Scholarship Track Curriculum

Track Director: Jay Nocton, MD

The curriculum of the Educational Scholarship Track of the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program is designed to prepare individuals for careers in which education and educational scholarship will be a focus of their scholarly activities. Gaining additional teaching experience in various settings will enhance the teaching skills of the fellow. Developing and implementing a specific scholarly project related to education and participating in MCW's faculty development programs will help the fellow to improve their educational scholarship skills. The following activities will constitute the curriculum for this track during the three years of fellowship training:

Direct Teaching Activities and Instruction (Fellow will teach)

  • Small group teaching of residents/students (along with other fellows)
  • Resident Noon Conferences (large group teaching)
    • The evaluation of joint and extremity pain in children
    • Rheumatic Diseases of Childhood 1: JIA, reactive arthritis, inherited disorders of connective tissue
    • Rheumatic Disease of Childhood 2: SLE, JDMS, Rheumatic fever, fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis
  • Resident Board Review presentation (large group teaching)
  • Clinic-based teaching of residents and students: One-on-One

Curriculum Development

  • Develop Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Board Review PowerPoints for each section of Board Review
  • Develop/Update Reading List for elective rotations (students and residents)

Assessment Development

  • E.g. Checklists for direct observation of history and exam performance by residents and students

Educational Research Project

  • Example: Direct observation of learners performing history and joint exam with checklist and questionnaire regarding self-confidence; administer pre- and post-intervention with intervention being a detailed demonstration of joint examination and discussion of essential history
  • Example: Create on-line (ideally) teaching modules for common pediatric rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions; might include video of actual patients and physical findings; interactive with questions interspersed (storyline 360-articulate is software—would need funding); Might randomize learners and administer pre-and post-tests.

Assigned Readings/ Med Education Journal Club: discussion with Dr. Nocton monthly

Participation in MCW Faculty Development Programs (2-yr program preferable)

Optional: pursuit of Master’s of Medical Education online degree


Throughout the three years of the pediatric rheumatology fellowship training program, fellows are evaluated and receive feedback regarding their progress in a number of ways.  Fellows also have multiple opportunities to evaluate the faculty and the program.  These evaluations are listed below.

Evaluation of Fellow

  • Quarterly written competency-based evaluations of all fellows by all rheumatology faculty
  • Semi-Annual written evaluations of fellows by patients/families
  • Semi-Annual written evaluations of fellows by clinic nurses
  • Annual self-evaluation with Individual Learning Plan
  • Semi-Annual Milestone and Entrustable Professional Activity evaluations of all fellows by faculty
  • Annual American Board of Pediatrics In-Training Examination
  • Semi-Annual discussion with Program Director to review all the above

Fellows Evaluate Faculty

  • Semi-Annual written evaluation of faculty
  • Annual MCWAH Survey
  • Annual ACGME Survey
  • Annual confidential discussion with Cardiology Fellowship Program Director

Fellows Evaluate Program

  • Annual MCWAH survey
  • Annual ACGME survey
  • Annual confidential discussion with Cardiology Fellowship Program Directory
  • Annual Program Evaluation (along with faculty)
Progression of Responsibilities
Pediatric rheumatology fellows are given significant responsibility beginning on the first day of fellowship training and continuing throughout the three years of fellowship. Fellows provide direct care to patients admitted to the hospital on the Rheumatology attending’s service, in-patients on whom the rheumatology service provides consultation, and patients seen in the ambulatory clinic. Fellows are responsible for evaluating patients, making diagnoses, developing and implementing management plans, communicating with patients, families, consultants and other providers, and documenting all encounters and interventions in the patients’ records. This is all performed with direct guidance and supervision of faculty. A faculty member will see all patients who are seen by a fellow, both in the ambulatory clinic as well as in the hospital, and all patient care decisions will be discussed and agreed upon.

When on-call, fellows are the first to respond to all calls. Fellows are entrusted to provide advice and recommendations and to use their discretion to determine if calls need to be discussed with the attending. The attending is always available and encourages discussion when necessary. This discussion may occur immediately, during the call, or following the call, depending on the urgency, the specific concern, and the level of comfort that the fellow has with the clinical question.

For patients in the hospital on the rheumatology service, fellows, in conjunction with rheumatology faculty, supervise the activities of residents who are also providing care to these patients. The fellow functions as an “extension” of the attending, supervising the resident in the daily management of in-patients, but also confirming all plans directly with the rheumatology attending. Similarly, fellows are the first point of contact for any requested rheumatology consults and will evaluate consults independently at first, followed by discussion with the rheumatology attending and then communication with the primary providing physicians.

Fellows immediately assume primary responsibility for all patients seen in weekly Fellows’ Clinic. Faculty supervision of patients seen in this clinic is shared by the faculty, therefore the fellow provides continuity for patients and families in this clinic. The fellow is responsible for reviewing all laboratory and imaging studies performed, communicating results to families, arranging follow-up, coordinating care with other providers, requesting consultations from other providers when necessary, and fielding phone calls and questions from these families throughout the three years of fellowship. As with all elements of patient care, faculty are always available to discuss these patients with the fellow and the fellows are encouraged to do so.

As the fellow gains experience and knowledge, it is anticipated that their independence and comfort with patient evaluation and management will increase, such that common problems may be discussed and managed without immediate discussion with supervising faculty, and that this discussion may occur at a later time. Increasing independence of the fellow when making clinical decisions will be consistently encouraged, however the faculty will remain always available for immediate discussion when necessary, and a fellow will never evaluate a patient without faculty also seeing each patient and discussing the care of the patient with the fellow.

In Year 3, the fellow will have the opportunity to be an “Acting Attending” for 1 month. During this month the third-year fellow will supervise the first-year fellow as they care for any patients in the rheumatology service and provide in-patient consultation to other providers. The third-year fellow will assist the first-year fellow in evaluating patients, developing management plans, rounding with the resident teams, and consulting with others. All patients will continue to be seen by faculty and the fellows will continue to discuss all decisions with faculty, with the third-year fellow having the initial opportunity to provide supervision, make decisions, and develop management plans as if they were the attending of record.
Pediatric Joint Fellowship Curriculum
The Joint Fellowship Curriculum (JFC) at the Medical College of Wisconsin is a series of longitudinal educational experiences designed to cover topics required for all pediatric fellows. While specialty-specific education is covered within each section, the JFC endeavors to cover the remainder of topics that are common to all fellowship trainees. Fellows not only gain insight on these topics from campus-wide experts, but also do so in a collaborative learning environment with their same level fellow peers from across the pediatric enterprise.

Learn More

Diversity and Inclusion

At MCW and within the Department of Pediatrics, we have several programs and resources focused on fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Our departmental and institutional focus is confronting negative perceptions and welcoming our community. Below is just a sampling of the efforts across our institutions to embed the principles of diversity and inclusion into our culture.

  • DOP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council | Our Diversity Council, led by Dr. Mike Levas, the DOP Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion, and comprised of faculty, staff, administration, and trainees, is focused on connecting with partners across our system and within the community to ensure the DOP is a diverse, equitable and inclusive employer.
  • DOP Fellowship and Residency Diversity and Inclusion Committees | In a city filled with its own diversity and rich cultural history, our fellows and residents recognize the importance of addressing diversity, health equity, and inclusion within our programs. As such, the program is proud to recognize the presence and work of its Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • DOP Unconscious Bias Training | The AAMC has partnered with Cook Ross, Inc., a leading consulting firm, to create training focused on the science behind unconscious bias to help academic medical staff and faculty mitigate disparities. Seven members of our team have earned a certification as unconscious bias trainers through Cook Ross. These trainers have translated what they’ve learned into a two-hour training for our faculty and staff. By learning how to identify and confront unconscious bias, it is possible to mitigate the impact and promote respect for all groups.
  • Trauma-Informed Workplace Training | This committee has undertaken actions including a department-wide survey and the creation of four online training modules sharing the principles of trauma-informed approach and how to recognize signs and symptoms of trauma in ourselves and others. This group started as part of Fostering Futures, a state-wide initiative aimed at infusing a trauma-informed approach into all the systems and organizations that touch the lives of Wisconsin citizens with the goal of expanding across the state to make Wisconsin the first trauma-informed state in the nation.
  • Office of Diversity and Inclusion | Established in March 2016, the MCW Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) partners within MCW and with community partners to foster and drive inclusion excellence as an effective, empowering enabler of MCW mission and strategic goals.
  • Spring Festival of Cultures | The annual Spring Festival of Cultures encourages an increased awareness and celebration of the visible and non-visible identities among our MCW community. This three-day event is an opportunity to promote the fostering of diversity, inclusion and unity at MCW.
  • President’s Diversity and Inclusion Award | MCW’s President's Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, residents, trainees, and community members in contributing to diversity and inclusion through exemplary leadership.
  • Institute of Health and Equity | The Institute for Health & Equity is focused on researching the root causes of health disparities in our communities, and advancing the best ideas to foster health equity throughout the world. We target populations with abnormally high rates of disease and injury – urban and rural alike – and then we find out why. Partnering with community health collaborators who live and work closest to the most vulnerable populations, we are making an impact on reducing those disparities, one community at a time.
  • GMF-MCW Partnership | Through their overall partnership, MCW and GMF will bring complementary expertise on a range of strategies to invest in the health, equity and economic well-being of people across Milwaukee, beginning with the neighborhoods adjacent to the new development. Guided by community priorities and data, the GMF-MCW Partnership will be a catalyst for additional investment and community impact. Together, the partners will:
    • Engage resident and community partnerships
    • Improve social determinants of health
    • Catalyze change that leverages resources and investment

Learn more about MCW's Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Day in the Life of a Fellow

KK Window

  • Fellows are provided with a dedicated semi-private workspace within the Pediatric Rheumatology section offices, which are located in an office building across the street from the Children’s Hospital and Clinics
  • Free covered parking is available adjacent to the section offices
  • Underground tunnels connect the office building with the hospital, research buildings, and clinics building (5-10-minute walk between buildings)
  • Several cafeterias, coffee carts, and other food services are available throughout the medical complex
  • Morning ambulatory clinics begin at 8:30 a.m. and finish at noon; afternoon ambulatory clinics start at 1 p.m. and the last patient scheduled is approximately 4 p.m.
  • In-patient rounding and in-patient consults, when necessary, occur either in the mornings on non-clinic days or following clinic
  • There are typically 1-2 patients on the rheumatology in-patient service per month and 2-5 in-patient consults per week
  • First-year fellows typically start the day at approximately 8 a.m. and finish by 6 p.m.; hours are flexible and sensitive to the needs of the fellow
  • Fellows in the second and third years, when not on any clinical service, have very flexible schedules without a determined daily start time or completion time
  • Typical weekend rounds last 1-2 hours; the remainder of the day is call from home
  • Electronic health record and medical library access is available on-site and remotely
  • Fellows have access to the hospital physician’s lounge where food and beverages are available, along with workspaces, newspapers, and television
  • The clinic area includes food storage areas, coffee maker, and microwave
  • Fellows are offered discounted membership at a local fitness center
Our Faculty

Our pediatric rheumatology faculty have a great breadth and depth of clinical and scholarly experience, covering the entire spectrum of pediatric rheumatology. We conduct basic immunology and clinical translational research, we participate in multicenter clinical trials of new therapeutic agents, we collaborate on quality improvement initiatives, and we have been educational leaders within the department, medical school, and nationally. In our fellowship program, you will have an opportunity to practice with and learn from faculty who combined have over 75 years of experience in pediatric rheumatology.

Meet our Faculty

Our Current Fellows

Kaitlin Kirkpatrick, MD 2021-2024  

Hometown: Carmel, IN
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin 
Residency: Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Medical College of Wisconsin
Research/Scholarly Project:  Exact project still TBD but hoping to either focus on the Transition Care Process or Adolescent Compliance. 
Mentor: Dr. Sara Sabbagh 
Scholarly Interests: Transition care particularly for Lupus patients, difficulties with adolescent compliance with treatments/medications 
Why did you choose MCW for fellowship: I loved that all of the faculty at MCW had such a broad array of interests and yet were all still so supportive of each other. It was nice to see some spent the majority of their focus on clinical care which is more of my interest but also to see others spend so much time in the lab and know that they could provide me a unique experience to learn an aspect of research with which I was less familiar. The patient population also drew me in as it is very diverse in Milwaukee and there's a great mix of the more bread and butter peds rheum cases with the rarer more complex conditions. Finally, everyone in the program is also just so warm and welcoming to anyone who rotates with them from a young 3rd year medical student to a graduating senior resident, and you can tell that they all love to teach which just truly cemented my decision in wanting to stay here for fellowship
Advice for Applicants: Try to get a sense of how the attendings and fellows interact at your interview. It can be hard when it's over zoom and your day is mostly just looking at a screen, but if the fellows and attendings are together at lunch, it's a great way to get that vibe if the fellows truly feel like part of the department and connect with their attendings. Also look for places where there are faculty more clinically driven in addition to those more lab research driven. You might not know exactly what you want to research in fellowship and by having both types of people available to you, it will open so many more doors and give you a chance to really pursue anything you might be interested in. 

James Bistolarides for websiteJames Bistolarides, MD | 2022-2025

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Medical School:  Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Residency: University of Chicago
Research/Scholarly Project: Clinical Features, Treatments, and Outcomes of a Large International Cohort of Childhood-onset Takayasu Arteritis 
Mentor: Dr. David Cabral, Dr. Vidya Sivaraman, Dr. Linda Wagner-Weiner, Dr. Marija Jelusic, Dr. Jay Nocton 
Scholarly Interests:  Quality Improvement, Impact of new diagnosis and active disease on patients, their siblings, and families; more generally, will hope to find and fill a niche to help improve care in the world of rheumatology – how is TBD!
Why Did I Choose MCW? It was a program that came recommended by rheumatologists whom I sought mentorship from, and chance encounters with alumni of the program.  It checked all the boxes as a place with supportive faculty and strong culture, broad clinical exposure, and opportunities to explore different academic interests.  In the end, the geography also fit my family’s needs. 
Advice for Applicants:  Try to figure out where you are most comfortable.  This could be interpreted in a variety of ways, but I think of it most broadly as choosing a program where you feel supported and will have the freedom to learn.  Some programs may come with a particular reputation for being renowned in “X,” “Y,” or, “Z.” I personally believe that overall many (or all) programs you may interview at are excellent places to train. You may find yourself best able to reach your individual goals if you plant yourself in soil that gives you the energy to develop and pursue your interests.

Jimenez Barquero Amandarheum2023NEWAmanda Jimenez, MD | 2023-2026

Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
Medical School: University of Medical Sciences (Universidad de Ciencias Médicas, UCIMED)
Residency: Michigan State University/Sparrow Hospital
Research/Scholarly Project: Rheumatology History Taking Tool for Learners
Mentor: Dr. Emma Austenfeld
Scholarly Interests: Medical Education, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
Why did you choose MCW: I had done an observership with MCW prior to residency and was already fond with the place, but the amount of detail Rheumatology faculty and staff put into the recruitment process left an even greater impression in me. My goal was to train in an academic place in an amicable environment with accessible faculty, and I found it!
Advice for applicants: Most rheumatology programs are excellent. Have your priorities clear as to what you want in a program: location, research opportunities, work-life balance and choose the program that best fits you. Your fellowship program might turn into a long-term opportunity, and you want to be in a place where you’re happy.

Fellowship Program Graduates

Emma Austenfeld, MPH, MD | 2020-2023
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Medical College of Wisconsin; Milwaukee, WI

Nissim Stolberg, DO | 2018-2021
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
University of Illinois-Chicago; Chicago, IL

Danielle Fair, MD | 2017-2020
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Medical College of Wisconsin; Milwaukee, WI

Edward Oberle, MD | 2012-2015
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Ohio State University School of Medicine; Columbus, OH

Julia Harris, MD | 2011-2014
Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Kansas School of Medicine
Kansas City, MO

Elizabeth Kessler, MD | 2010-2013
Pediatric Rheumatologist
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
Grand Rapids, MI

Dominic Co, MD, PhD | 2009-2012
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

Grant Syverson, MD | 2008-2011
Pediatric Rheumatologist
Sanford Health
Fargo, ND

Eli Eisenstein, MD, PhD | 2006-2008
Pediatric Rheumatologist
Hadassah University Hospital–Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem, Israel

Sheetal Vora, MD, MS | 2005-2008
Associate Professor, Pediatric Rheumatology, Levine Children’s Hospital/Atrium
Clinical Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Charlotte, NC

The Milwaukee Medical Campus

Rheum Clinic Photo


Most of the patients evaluated by our rheumatology service are seen in our ambulatory clinic. Here, approximately 2,500 children each year are evaluated for potential musculoskeletal, inflammatory, autoimmune, and rheumatic diseases. The clinic staff consists of a research nurse specialist, administrative assistants, a certified nurse practitioner, and two dedicated clinical nurses with many years of experience in pediatric rheumatology.

 2 Craig Yabuki Tower Lobby


Children’s Wisconsin, founded in 1894, has 306 beds, a Level 1 Trauma Center, a 72-bed critical care unit and a 69-bed neonatal intensive care unit. The pediatric rheumatology service will serve as the admitting service for select patients with known rheumatic diseases, and these patients will be admitted to one of the acute care floors. The rheumatology service also provides in-patient and emergency room consultation for patients when requested. Rheumatology patients admitted to the critical care unit are cared for primarily by the intensivist team with the rheumatology service acting in a consultative role. Resident teams consisting of a senior resident supervising first-year residents and students provide care to admitted rheumatology patients under the supervision of rheumatology fellows and faculty.

Medical School

The Medical College of Wisconsin is a private medical school on the Milwaukee Medical Campus. Third and fourth-year medical students have the opportunity to participate in elective rotations in pediatric rheumatology and some students rotate through the clinic as part of their pediatric clerkship in the third year. Fellows will have ample opportunity to teach students both in the clinic setting as well as in the hospital. The Department of Pediatrics includes faculty in all pediatric subspecialties and disciplines with more than 70 subspecialty clinics and specialists providing care for the entire spectrum of pediatric illness.

Other Institutions on the Milwaukee Medical Campus include the adult Froedtert HospitalThe Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, Children’s Research Institute, the Milwaukee Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Building, and the Curative Care center.

Our Institutions

About the Medical College of Wisconsin

With a history dating back to 1893, the Medical College of Wisconsin is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and community engagement. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in MCW’s medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Central Wisconsin. MCW’s School of Pharmacy opened in 2017. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In the last ten years, faculty received more than $1.5 billion in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, MCW faculty direct or collaborate on more than 3,100 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,600 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 4.0 million patients annually.

About Children’s Wisconsin

Children’s Wisconsin is the region’s only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wisconsin, is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is ranked in nine specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals report. Children’s provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2019, Children’s invested more than $130 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children’s achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations and is proud to be a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Living & Learning 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.

More about Milwaukee

Application Process

All applications should be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). A completed application consists of:

  • the on-line application from ERAS
  • medical school transcript
  • Medical School Performance Evaluation
  • Personal Statement
  • USMLE transcript
  • 3 letters of recommendation including one from the residency program director 

Interviews may be offered after an application is received and interviews will be conducted either remotely or here in Milwaukee on our campus. We offer one position each year and the application process is competitive. The position is filled through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Fall Subspecialty Match, with matched applicants expected to begin the training program on July 1 of the following year. The start date is negotiable if necessary.

ERAS webpage

Housing for Fellows

Once you have decided to pursue the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program, it's time to decide where you want to live!

The Medical College is located in Milwaukee County in the city of Wauwatosa.  The closest surrounding areas include Brookfield, Elm Grove, and of course, downtown Milwaukee.

There are many apartments, condos, and homes for you to choose from, and we look forward to welcoming you to the area!

Please check out the Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Housing for additional resources.

Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment
Fellows are employed by the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH).

See MCWAH Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment for information regarding vacations, leaves, insurance, stipends and professional liability.

MCW is an outstanding training environment because of the breadth of cases we see and the supportive team that surrounds us. I have had the opportunity to shape my own style of practice with input from multiple experienced attendings as we explore interesting cases together. Our administrators and nurses have also been invaluable teachers for me as I navigate the world of pediatric rheumatology.

Emma Austenfeld, MD: Second-Year Fellow

Our Team

Danielle Fair, MD

Danielle Fair 2020

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program
Children's Wisconsin Physican Profile

Scholarly interests: Medical education, mental health issues in rheumatic disease, quality improvement

James J. Nocton, MD

James Nocton 2020

Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Director, Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program
Children's Wisconsin Physician's Profile
MCW Faculty Collaboration Database Profile

Scholarly interests: Medical Education, Clinical Therapeutic Trials and Lyme arthritis

Orlando Diaz

Orlando Diaz 2020 v2

Fellowship Coordinator

Lisa Eggebrecht

Lisa Eggebrecht photo2

Administrative Assistant Sr. 


Fellowship Program Contact

Program Director

Danielle Fair, MD
(414) 266-6700 | dfair@mcw.edu

Program Coordinator

Orlando Diaz
(414) 337-7048 | odiaz@mcw.edu

Administrative Assistant Sr.

Lisa Eggebrecht
(414) 266-6700 | leggebrecht@mcw.edu