Areas of Concentration

Research Track

Basic Biomedical Research Training Program

The goal of the biomedical research track of the Fellowship Program is to provide an exciting and productive training experience for those individuals interested in developing careers as independent physician-scientists. This requires at least a three year commitment. Fellows will meet with principal investigators to discuss specific projects and plans for career development. A research training program will be tailored to each candidate’s interests, abilities, and goals, and will be conducted with the close mentoring of established investigators in rheumatology or immunology areas.  Fellows electing this research area will complete a third year of fellowship training.


Clinical Research Training Program

The goal of the Clinical Research Training Program is to provide fellows with the skills needed to become independent clinical investigators. These goals are optimally met in a three-year program. The first year focuses on clinical training in the diagnosis and management of patients with rheumatic diseases. In years two and three, fellows are encouraged to participate in the graduate training program in Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. Course work includes introduction to study design, methodology and biostatistics and an opportunity to obtain a Masters in Public Health Degree (MPH) or a Masters of Clinical Research.

Additional educational and research opportunities for second and third year fellows are available through the Center for Research on Health Care at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. This nationally recognized program provides expertise in conducting health services and outcomes research. Activities of the Center include research seminar and lecture series and collaborative endeavors on outcomes research and may result in certification in clinical research.

All clinical research fellows are required to formulate and conduct a research project during the fellowship under the supervision of one or more full-time faculty members. Fellows will initiate a literature review, design a protocol, conduct their research, analyze and summarize their results, prepare them for presentation at regional or national meetings and submit a manuscript for publication. In addition, fellows are encouraged to write up interesting or unusual cases as brief reports.

At the completion of this three-year program, fellows will be prepared to apply for early career stage grant funding to support next stage of their academic career.

Clinician-Educator Track

Individuals choosing a career in medical education will receive the same basic clinical education as those in the clinician tract, with medical education emphasized in the second year.  These individuals participate in formal medical education programs provided by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine through the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Institute for Clinical Research Education. This program prepares fellows to be leaders in rheumatology education at academic centers.

Clinician Track

Clinical Training Program

All rheumatology fellows, regardless of chosen track, complete the same basic clinical training program.  This program combines a comprehensive didactic curriculum with extensive practical/clinical experience under close supervision of the academic faculty.  Due to our extensive referral network, fellows directly care for patients with all common rheumatic diseases and a broad array of rare multisystem autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders.  The fellow is an active member of a health care team that is responsible for longitudinal patient management of patients with rheumatic diseases, with primary decision-making responsibilities under faculty supervision. While on the inpatient consultative service, the fellow works closely with faculty to provide care for patients and to teach medical students, residents and other trainees across our academic tertiary care, Veteran’s Administration, and community hospital settings.

The University of Pittsburgh Rheumatology Fellowship Program has six clinical fellows, with three in the first and three in the second year.  Additionally, fellows often elect to pursue a third year of fellowship for advanced research training that is supported by a NIH T32 Training Grant or other mechanism.


Outpatient Experience

Each fellow attends three to six outpatient rheumatology sessions per week. Fellows perform complete initial evaluations, correspond with the patient’s referring physician, and function as the patient’s primary rheumatologist for longitudinal care under the supervision of a faculty member. The outpatient rheumatology experience involves participation in disease-specific sessions (one to four times monthly) staffed by faculty with clinical expertise and research interest in these diseases, as well as general rheumatology sessions. These disease-specific sessions include:


  • Pediatric and Adolescent Rheumatic Disease
  • Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Systemic Sclerosis

The general rheumatology sessions take place at the UPMC Arthritis Center, the Oakland Veterans Administration Medical Center, and satellite locations in the Arthritis Center Network. Each fellow sees one or two new patients and four to six follow-up patients per session. In addition, there are scheduled outpatient sessions with orthopedic surgeons to provide experience with the diagnosis and management of regional joint problems and sports injuries.


Inpatient Experience

The fellow spends approximately nine months on inpatient consultation service over the course of the two-year fellowship. This service provides inpatient consults for the hospitals that comprise the UPMC Oakland campus and include Presbyterian University Hospital, the Eye and Ear Hospital of Pittsburgh, Children’s Hospital, Magee-Women’s Hospital, UPMC-Southside Hospital, and the VA Medical Center-Oakland. The fellow is a member of a team responsible for initial evaluation and follow-up of inpatient consults as well as inpatients under the primary care of the rheumatology faculty.

Contact Us

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Offices

S700 Biomedical Science Tower
3500 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
412-383-8000  |  Email Us