Endocrinology Fellowship

The Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship Program is designed to train pediatricians to become leaders in the research and clinical care of children and adolescents with endocrine diseases and diabetes mellitus.

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology provides three years of clinical and research fellowship training. The program is ACGME accredited and accepts three fellows per year.  We offer two tracks, clinician educator and research. The first year of the program is dedicated to the acquisition of clinical expertise in pediatric endocrinology and diabetes. For fellows on the research track, the second and third years of the fellowship are devoted almost entirely to research and course work under the mentorship of a faculty member. Fellows on the clinician educator track will have additional clinical time during the second and third years with a focus on clinical research, quality improvement, and teaching.

Fellows are eligible for funding through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 Training Grant or the philanthropy-supported David Nicholas fellowship. Fellows must be a US citizen or have a green card to be eligible for T32 support.

Clinical Activities

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology is responsible for a diverse clinical spectrum of approximately 11,000  endocrine and 5,500  diabetes patient visits per year to the outpatient Diabetes Center.

First year

The first year of the endocrinology fellowship provides intensive clinical training in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. The first-year fellow rotates between three blocks: Inpatient Diabetes and Endocrine Service, Endocrine Consult Service, and Outpatient Clinic. Fellows also have one month of protected research time during the first year during which time they interview potential mentors and plan their research project for the second and third years.

The Inpatient Diabetes and Endocrine service cares for patients with primary endocrine problems who require inpatient hospitalization. This includes the care of children with newly diagnosed diabetes, diabetic emergencies, hypoglycemia, adrenal insufficiency/crisis, and evaluation and management of diabetes insipidus. The fellow will work closely with the attending physician, resident team, and other members of the diabetes team (diabetes nurse educators, dieticians, social workers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants).

The Endocrine Consult Service provides care for patients with a variety of endocrine disorders who are in the emergency department or who are admitted to inpatient medical services, NICU, and PICU. This allows our fellows to have exposure to a wide range of both common and rare medical cases.

During the Outpatient Clinic rotations, fellows will see patients in their Endocrine and Diabetes Continuity Clinics under direct supervision of our faculty physicians. Fellows will have three Endocrine Continuity Clinics per month and two Diabetes Continuity Clinics per month. During the remainder of this rotation, fellows rotate through general endocrine clinic as well as our multiple endocrine subspecialty clinics, which include: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Metabolic Bone, Prader Willi, Cancer Survivorship, Thyroid Disorders, PCOS, Gender Concerns, and Lipid Clinics.

Second and Third Years

All fellows are expected to have a Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC). Members of the SOC will include the fellow’s primary mentor and 3-5 senior faculty members with expertise relevant to the fellow’s individual project.

During the third year, fellows will spend 4 weeks primarily on the clinical services. This time will be divided into inpatient (Diabetes and Consult) and outpatient services.

Research Track

The second and third years are devoted to basic, clinical, or translational research supervised by a mentor of the fellow’s choosing. The fellow is expected to design and conduct a hypothesis-driven research project under the mentorship of a faculty member either at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh or at the University of Pittsburgh. Fellows are expected to write and submit at least one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal. They are also expected to attend and submit their research for presentation at national meetings (American Diabetes Association, Endocrine Society, Pediatric Endocrine Society). Fellows will continue to have both Endocrine and Diabetes Continuity Clinics during the second and third years. In addition, they will spend one clinic per month working with a faculty member in an endocrine subspecialty clinic to further develop their clinical skills.

Clinician Educator Track

The second and third year fellows will complete a research project with a focus on clinical research, quality improvement, or medical education and will comply with ABP and ACGME standards. There will be additional clinical time (both inpatient and outpatient) to fine tune clinical skills to prepare fellows for a career as a clinician educator.

Educational Activities

Faculty and fellows in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology are active participants in all educational activities, including resident education at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and medical student education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Educational activities include didactic lectures, problem-based learning sessions, and board review.  Fellows will also attend our weekly Pediatric Endocrine Research Conference presented by local or invited speakers, Pediatric Endocrine Clinical Conferences presented by faculty and fellows, monthly Pediatric Endocrine Journal Club, weekly Combined University Adult/Pediatric Endocrine Conference, and weekly Pediatric Grand Rounds

Instruction in basic science techniques and clinical research, such as research design, bioethics and biostatistics, are offered through a course organized for all fellows at UPMC Children’s Hospital and can be supplemented by additional course work at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the Institute of Clinical Research Education.

Meet our Current Fellows. 

Frequently Asked Questions

As a first year fellow, what is the division of my clinical time?

The first year fellow will spend approximately 33% of time on each of the three services: inpatient diabetes service, inpatient consult service, and the outpatient service. Seeing patients in these various settings provides the opportunity for involvement in the care of many patients with primary endocrine disorders and endocrine complications of other disorders.

What are the inpatient/consult service responsibilities during second and third years of fellowship?

The second and third year fellows are responsible for the inpatient service during "on-call" nights and weekends. The third year fellows complete a 4 week clinical rotation (usually divided into smaller portions such as 1-2 weeks at a time). During this clinical rotation, fellows are encouraged to be the "pre-tendings" and run the service. Upon completion of the 3 year program, fellows are well trained to handle a large variety of clinical situations. In other words, we have not seen issues with fellows having difficulty with the transition from fellow to faculty.

What is the overnight call structure for fellows?

First year fellows generally are responsible for covering 6 weeknights per month; the number of week night calls will be lower during the second and third years. Evening sign-generally occurs at approximately 5:30 p.m. for the hospitalized patients. The CDEs are responsible for outpatient diabetes call until 11:00 p.m. From 11:00 p.m. until morning, the “on-call” fellow is responsible for all phone calls.

What is the weekend call structure for fellows?

Weekend call generally begins on Friday at 5 p.m. and extends until Monday morning. The “on-call” fellow rounds with the “on-call” faculty member on Saturday and Sunday. In general, first year fellows are responsible for one weekend per month. A diabetes nurse educator takes Saturday morning call. The fellow rounds with the "on-call" faculty attending. Again, fluidity exists in the system with fellows sometimes choosing to divide weekends.

Does the fellowship program have a fellow "pocket guide" or shared list of guidelines for caring for endocrine disorders?

Yes, over the years, fellows have developed a "pocket guide". Resources are also available on our shared computer network. In addition, faculty and senior fellows provide orientation discussions to the "new" fellows. We review common "on-call" scenarios, stimulation tests, hospital orientation. Over the first few months of fellowship, fellows also participate in weekly sessions with the adult endocrinology fellows for an orientation to endocrinology. And, finally, fellows are encouraged and welcomed to discuss patients/disorders with faculty.