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Fellowship Training

The Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship trains expert pediatric rheumatologists for careers in academic medicine with experience in basic and translational sciences, clinical and epidemiologic trials, quality improvement studies and health services research. The program at IU School of Medicine offers an in-depth fellowship experience combining excellent, multi-disciplinary education, personal mentorship, and a flexible curriculum that allows each trainee to achieve his/her career goals as a pediatric rheumatologist.

Program Leadership

The Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship is led by Program Director Stacey Tarvin, MD, and Associate Program Director Melissa Oliver, MD.

Apply for Fellowship

Physicians interested in applying for the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship program at IU School of Medicine should submit an application through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and include the required documents.


11274-Tarvin, Stacey

Stacey E. Tarvin, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

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38844-Oliver, Melissa

Melissa S. Oliver, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

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Year one of the fellowship is predominantly clinical but allows two months for electives and research. Clinical training encompasses all subspecialty aspects of pediatric rheumatology, including arthritis in childhood; enthesitis-associated arthropathies; and psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and related autoimmune diseases; childhood sclerodermas; pediatric vasculitis; auto-inflammatory diseases; and the periodic fever syndromes as well as inflammatory muscle diseases; sarcoidosis; inflammatory brain disease; transition to adulthood for youth with chronic rheumatic disease; and the mechanical musculoskeletal pain syndromes.

Electives are available in adult rheumatology, ophthalmology, immunology, genetics, radiology, orthopedics and sports medicine among others. Fellows can design a training program that best fits his/her career plans.

Year Two and Three

During years two and three, fellows focus on research with 20 percent of their time reserved for clinical training, including a weekly ambulatory continuity clinic, inpatient consultations and urgent ambulatory consults. Fellows are expected to participate in the teaching of medical students and residents.

Additional education occurs during weekly Pediatric Rheumatology Grand Rounds on topics needed to be experts in the field. Weekly case conferences and monthly journal club meetings round out the regular educational schedule. The rheumatology team meets with pediatric musculoskeletal radiologists for a combined teaching conference each quarter and with renal pathologists several times a year to review images. Every six months, rheumatology fellows and faculty meet with regional colleagues for a half-day of medical education activities (PENTA). Fellows are expected to attend the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology with the goal of presenting each fellow’s research as a poster or podium presentation in years two and three of the fellowship.

Current Fellows

23740-Theisen, Alexandra

Alexandra N. Theisen, MD


Pediatrics-Rheumatology, PGY 4
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

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Pediatric Rheumatology fellows have opportunities to participate in multi-center clinical trials of which IU School of Medicine is a partner. The Pediatric Rheumatology team is an active member of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group. Clinical studies within the division include depression and psychological resilience in children with rheumatic disease, readiness for transition to adult care and development of a new model to provide transition care, several translational studies in childhood lupus, and the role of puberty-related hormonal changes in SLE activity.

IU School of Medicine has a strong basic science faculty in microbiology and immunology, cell biology, and genetics who supplement the research interests of pediatric rheumatology faculty and provide a broad range of translational research opportunities for fellows. The most recent Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship graduate has begun a career in clinical pharmacology using cultured endothelial cell precursors to examine how immune suppressive medications affect vessel inflammation and repair.

Research Project

Research Project

Fellows are encouraged to undertake at least one research project of their own design with supervision from a faculty mentor of their choosing. Trainees learn how to write a research protocol, submit a proposal to the Institutional Review Board, do statistical analysis, and prepare a manuscript for publication. Each fellow ends the training program with at least one published or publishable manuscript of his/her own work. Depending on the project and the mentor, trainees may produce several manuscripts.

Trainees who wish to enhance their research training can simultaneously earn a Master’s degree in clinical or translational research. They may also choose to extend fellowship by a year to obtain additional training in adult rheumatology (two years each of internal medicine and pediatrics) or to gain further research training.