Program Description

Clinical experience

The first year is focused on learning rheumatology through didactics and intensive closely precepted exposure to patient care with an emphasis on an abundant continuity experience that aims to foster rapid acquisition of independent skills and experience in the care of patients with complex rheumatic diseases. Fellows participate in outpatient clinics (4/week including one urgent care clinic) and the inpatient consults service (9 months/year, some shared with co-fellow). They rotate through clinics in Orthopedics, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Dermatology, Pain Management, Ophthalmology (Uveitis clinic), and Lyme disease. An initial exposure to musculoskeletal ultrasound is provided through attendance at the annual MSUS course consisting of several didactic lectures and hands-on demonstrations and learning in an ultrasound clinic. During the first year, fellows initiate their research projects through discussion with the faculty within the division and institution. Mentorship during the first year is primarily provided by Dr. Robert Kalish and Dr. Senada Arabelovic. The intimate nature of the division promotes close working and mentorship relationships with other faculty as well. 

Research experience

The second year provides clinical continuity (2 clinics/week, 3 months inpatient consults), a dedicated weekly ultrasound clinic in which two patients are seen for diagnostic or therapeutic ultrasound investigation, and the opportunity for a meaningful research experience tailored to the interest of the fellow. Drs. Tim McAlindon, Will Harvey, Shanthini Kasturi and Steven Vlad provide overall mentorship of the research education. The division is fortunate in having a broad panel of experts in pertinent disciplines that enrich the research portfolio, particularly in the areas of Epidemiology and Meta-analysis. Second year fellows take on increasing administrative and teaching responsibilities including coordination of the rheumatology conference schedule, quality assurance and patient safety initiatives and didactic presentations to the residents and medical students.  An in-depth experience in musculoskeletal ultrasound is provided through the annual ultrasound course and a dedicated weekly ultrasound clinic in which two patients are seen for diagnostic or therapeutic ultrasound investigation.  Fellows are encouraged to apply for and complete the USSONAR program and we have been pleased that three of our last five fellows including our current second year fellow have successfully completed this. The second year fellow also gains exposure to the rheumatic diseases of childhood through attendance at the Pediatric Rheumatology clinic at Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children every other week for 6 months under the direct supervision of the Pediatric Rheumatology division’s clinical faculty.

Fellows may elect to complete a third year of fellowship dedicated to research that is not an ACGME-approved slot. Those participating in this research training year are supported by the division in collaboration with the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Tufts in obtaining a Certificate (one year program) or a Master’s degree (two year program) in which they take classes in aspects of clinical research methodologies, undergo research ethics training and develop and deploy an involved research protocol.