A Message from our Program Director
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.
James J. Nocton, MD
Fellowship Director and Professor
See the people, places and spaces that make our Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship one-of-a-kind.
A Conversation with Our Fellows
Meet Our Faculty
Our Spaces and Places
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
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 of the faculty who provide guidance, education, support, and supervision throughout the duration of the program.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, Ophthalmology 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.
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.
|First Year||Second Year||Third Year|
|Pediatric Rheumatology Journal Club/Invited Speakers||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly|
|Rheumatology Case Conference||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly|
|Pediatric Rheumatology Teaching Conference||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly|
|Department of Pediatrics Professor Rounds||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly-Optional|
|Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly|
|Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow Board Review||Weekly||Weekly||Weekly|
|Department Joint Fellowship Curriculum||Semi-annually||Semi-annually||Semi-annually|
|Pediatric/Adult Rheumatology Conference||Quarterly||Quarterly||Quarterly|
|Rheumatology Adverse Event Safety Conference||Semi-annually||Semi-annually||Semi-annually|
|Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Practicum||Bimonthly||Bimonthly||Bimonthly|
|Children's Research Institute Conference||Weekly||Weekly|
|Department of Pediatrics K-Club Research Conference||Weekly||Weekly|
|Immunology Review||Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)||Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)||Bi-weekly (Jan. - June)|
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
- 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 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.
Hometown: Prairie Village, KS
Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin
Research/Scholarly Project: TVirtual Clinic: A Digital Pediatric Rheumatology Curriculum
Mentor: Jay Nocton, MD
Scholarly Interests: Medical education, Solidarity in Medicine (personal & professional development for medical trainees)
Why did you choose MCW: I appreciated the opportunity to learn from a large group of attendings with diverse interests to help me explore potential career paths within rheumatology.
Advice for applicants: Be patient with yourself — it can be frustrating when you don’t have all the answers at the beginning, but you will be amazed by the confidence you gain even by the end of the first year of fellowship.
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: To be determined
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.
Nissim Stolberg, DO | 2018-2021
Department of Pediatrics
University of Illinois-Chicago; Chicago, IL
Danielle Fair, MD | 2017-2020
Department of Pediatrics
Medical College of Wisconsin; Milwaukee, WI
Edward Oberle, MD | 2013-2015
Department of Pediatrics
Ohio State University School of Medicine; Columbus, OH
Julia Harris, MD | 2012-2014
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 | 2011-2013
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
Grand Rapids, MI
Dominic Co, MD, PhD | 2010-2012
Department of Pediatrics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eli Eisenstein, MD, PhD | 2006-2008
Hadassah University Hospital–Mt. Scopus
Sheetal Vora, MD, MS | 2005-2008
Associate Professor, Pediatric Rheumatology, Levine Children’s Hospital/Atrium
Clinical Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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.
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.
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 Hospital, The Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, Children’s Research Institute, the Milwaukee Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Building, and the Curative Care center.
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.
Our 3-year fellowship program is ACGME accredited and begins on July 1 each year. We accept one fellow each year through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Applicants must have completed a US-accredited residency program. Applications from prospective applicants are accepted from July through October via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We will access your application and contact you to make interview arrangements.
Complete applications should include the following:
- ERAS application form
- At least 3 letters of reference including Program Director letter
- Medical Student Performance Evaluation/Dean's Letter
- Curriculum Vitae
- Personal statement
- MD Applicants: USMLE scores - Steps 1, 2, and 3 or
- DO Applicants: COMLEX scores – Levels 1, 2 and 3
- ECFMG certificate for foreign medical school graduates (see visa information below)
Our program currently accepts the following visas:
- Permanent Resident Visa
- Visitor Exchange Visa sponsored by ECFMG (J-1)
- For additional visa information please visit MCW’s office of Graduate Medical Education.
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.
See MCWAH Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment for information regarding vacations, leaves, insurance, stipends and professional liability.