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
A Conversation with Our Fellows
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.
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 and also with the pediatric nephrology 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||Bimonthly||Bimonthly||Bimonthly|
|Pediatric/Adult Rheumatology Conference||Quarterly||Quarterly||Quarterly|
|Pediatric Rheumatology/Nephrology Conference||Quarterly||Quarterly||Quarterly|
|Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Practicum||Bimonthly||Bimonthly||Bimonthly|
|Children's Research Institute Conference||Weekly||Weekly|
|Department of Pediatrics K-Club Research Conference||Weekly||Weekly|
- 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 AM and finish at noon; afternoon ambulatory clinics start at 1:00 PM and the last patient scheduled is approximately 4:00 PM
- 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 8:00 AM and finish by 6:00 PM; 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.
Danielle Fair, MD | 2017-2020
Hometown: Oostburg, WI
Medical School: Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals
Research/Scholarly Project: Levels of Anxiety and Depression in JIA
Mentor: Judyann Olson, MD
Interests: Mental Health Disease in Rheumatologic Diseases, Ultrasound use in Rheumatology, Education of Medical Students and Residents
Why did you choose MCW: I rotated through the pediatric rheumatology department at MCW during my pediatric residency. I loved the atmosphere and the providers who worked in the clinic. Everyone was so happy, welcoming, and knowledgeable. There were also a variety of interests amongst the providers, so I knew I would have the support in developing my own interests in the field.
Advice for applicants: Find a program that will work with you and provide the resources you need to help you develop the career you want in pediatric rheumatology whether that be basic research, clinical research, medical education, or QI.
Nissim Stolberg, DO | 2018-2021
Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: University of Illinois-Chicago
Research/Scholarly Project: Exploring unique mutations in the NOD2 gene and their effect on innate immunity
Mentor: James Verbsky, MD, PhD
Interests: The evaluation of underlying predictive genetic mutations and serologic biomarkers of autoimmune and autoinflammatory disease
Why did you choose MCW: The Medical College of Wisconsin is a diamond hidden in the heart of the Midwest. Choosing Children’s Wisconsin for my fellowship came down to their excellent record in training fellows for successful academic careers in pediatric rheumatology, its strong faculty, and the easily appreciable family friendly atmosphere of the department. During my interview I found that the faculty in our Rheumatology department had the background and the willing nature to guide me towards my rheumatology interest and career development. This ultimately helped me to choose this medical community for my training and is a decision that I am wholeheartedly happy with.
Advice for applicants: My best advice is to come to our institution with an open mind, seeking to learn, and to become an independent thinker. The holistic approach to the learner incorporated by the faculty at this institution allows the learner to gain the skills necessary to advance their career in pediatric rheumatology.
Edward Oberle, MD | 2013-2015
Department of Pediatrics
Ohio State University School of Medicine; Columbus, OH
Julia Harris, MD | 2012-2014
Department of Pediatrics
University of Missouri–Kansas City 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
Clinical Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
Levine Children’s Hospital; Charlotte, NC
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.
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 all interviews are 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.
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.
Everyone in the department is so positive and encouraging of one another and invested in my education. The faculty is very supportive of me as I take on the responsibility of caring for my patients. This allows me to build the confidence I need to be an independent pediatric rheumatologist. The faculty are also very supportive of the fellows’ academic goals, whether that be clinical, education, or bench research. Not only does everyone care about my becoming the best pediatric rheumatologist possible, but they also care about my life outside of the fellowship.
Danielle Fair, MD; Third-year fellow
James J. Nocton, MD
Administrative Assistant Sr.