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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.

ERAS

Program Director
11274-Tarvin, Stacey

Stacey E. Tarvin, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

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Program Coordinator
Pediatric Nephrology fellowship coordinator

Lyn Terrell

Fellowship Coordinator

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Associate Program Director
38844-Oliver, Melissa

Melissa S. Oliver, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

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Curriculum

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

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO
Medical School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Residency: Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN
Hobbies: I enjoy running, traveling, and taking care of my fur babies. My husband and I also love eating out and trying new restaurants around Indianapolis. We are also currently doing many home projects which have kept us busy.
Research/QI Interests:  In terms of QI, I am currently working on a project regarding pregnancy counseling in adolescent females prescribed mycophenolate mofetil for their rheumatologic disease. My research interests are focused in reproductive health issues in rheumatic diseases. Specific projects I am working on currently include diminished ovarian reserve in regards to AMH levels in adolescent females diagnosed with lupus as well as HPV vaccination rates in pediatric rheumatology patients compared to the general population.

Why Pediatric Rheumatology? 
I really enjoy the process of having an extensive differential diagnosis when you first approach a patient, and pediatric rheumatology is a field where it is necessary to have this approach to all patients because our diseases affect so many organ systems. It's also very exciting to see manifestations of rare disease processes. I also like being able to follow patients long-term for a chronic disease that in general has a good outcome with treatment.

Why IU/Riley? 
I was familiar with the rheumatology department and knew the pathology I would see at Riley, having been fortunate enough to complete pediatric residency here. I knew I would be exposed to various rheumatologic conditions as well as non-rheumatologic conditions that include a rheumatology differential.

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50395-Kwan, Olivia

Olivia A. Kwan, MD

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: University of Missouri Kansas City
Medical School: University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine
Residency: University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine Internal Medicine- Pediatrics
Hobbies: I spend most my time outside of work playing with my three very active dogs. We go on many walks and love a good game of frisbee or catch. I also enjoy bike riding, especially long distance gravel rides! 
Research/QI Interests: I am currently keeping open-minded regarding a research focus but am interested in predictors of chronic complications, especially extra-articular/internal organ involvement associated with juvenile onset autoimmune disease. 

Why Pediatric Rheumatology? 
Pediatric Rheumatology is an exciting field to me because of the complex multisystem and chronic nature of many of its diseases. I get the opportunity to both help care for children in very acute and even critical situations as well as build long lasting relationships with patients and their families. Rheumatology has a very investigative quality to it, allowing me to fully take advantage of my medical training. Lastly, I enjoy the very academic and collaborative culture of the field. 

Why IU/Riley? 
I was very impressed by all the people I met at Riley during my interview process. They have a great reputation in the field. The faculty here are very collaborative, supportive, deeply committed to teaching, and friendly. Right from the start they have been invested in my growth as a clinician, researcher, teacher, and person. As a hospital, Riley serves a diverse patient population and has a large catchment area. This was especially important to me as pediatric rheumatologists care for patients with rare diseases. I was looking for a place that would provide the exposure I would need to be a strong clinician and Riley more than delivers! 


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Research

ResearchPediatric 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

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.