Infectious Diseases Fellowship Testimonials

Why UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is For You

Glenn Rapsinksi, MD, PhD (PEDSDP, 2019-current)

When I graduated from Temple University School of Medicine, I interviewed at several of the Top 10 Pediatrics Hospitals, and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh stood out as a fantastic place to complete my residency training. The collegial environment of the hospital combined, superb teaching, and diverse patients combined with a smaller city that has a ton of big city amenities was a great fit for me. The Pediatric Scientist Development Program added even more fuel to my fire to train at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I knew that with a program like the PedSDP at the institution there was an emphasis on research and scientific discovery. When it came time to decide on my fellowship program, I couldn't have imagined going anywhere else because of my experience with the infectious diseases team during my residency. The ID division is truly superb in their teaching, research, and experience. There are pioneers in the field of transplant infectious disease as well as stellar scientists in virology and bacteriology. While the clinical faculty are spectacular, the connections with University of Pittsburgh researchers gave me the opportunity to pursue the research in the field of my desires with a great mentor. I couldn't be happier with my decision, and I think that decision has set me on a path to achieve all my career goals.

Megan Freeman, MD, PhD (PEDSDP accelerated program, 2018-current)

I had never been to Pittsburgh prior to interviewing for residency, but I immediately felt “at home” and like I’d found my people. The residents didn’t take themselves too seriously, but ended up being incredibly thoughtful and intelligent doctors and I’m so lucky that I got to learn from them. I’d hoped to find a location that I could stay for both residency and fellowship, and was specifically interested in the “Accelerated Research Pathway,” a program through the ABP that allows research-focused residents the opportunity to do two years of residency and an extended four year fellowship so that they can spend some extra time doing research. UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh had just started the Pediatric Scientist Development Program that encouraged just that. Not only would I be able to do the research pathway, but I would have a cohort of others along the way! The icing on the cake is getting to be a part of our Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division. They are leaders in the field, including in Transplant infectious diseases, and I have plenty of role models for successful physician-scientists. The program has been nothing but supportive of my individual development and career goals, even when it caused some major clinical scheduling challenges during my dedicated research years. I can’t imagine training anywhere else!

Zac Aldewereld, MD (2019-2020)

I actually came to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh from Lurie Children’s as a PICU fellow, although I had completed a year of ID fellowship at Lurie prior to coming here. This was because my wife still had a year of training left when I finished residency, and when considering subspecialties in residency, I was deciding between critical care and infectious diseases. When there was an open spot in the ID fellowship for my “gap” year, I jumped at the opportunity to fill the role, knowing how much I would learn along the way. I subsequently chose Pittsburgh based on the breadth of patients we see here, including a very large transplant population, and the strong research foundation they have. Over time, I got to know the ID division as they welcomed me to their case conferences, which were always filled with interesting cases (many from the PICU). I realized early on that they would be a great group to work with and learn from, and towards the end of my PICU fellowship, we were able to work out my finishing ID fellowship here as well. Ling Lin, the fellowship director, in particular went to great lengths to work things out with the ABP and make sure it went smoothly, even though I wasn’t even her fellow yet. That’s just one example of how invested the division as a whole is in the success of its fellows though. As for Pittsburgh, it has an amazing ability to grow on you. I thought I’d be here for 3 years and leave, and here I am 4 years later having just started as faculty in both ID and critical care.

Lorne Walker, MD, PhD (Fellow 2017-2020)

I came to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from the University of California – San Diego for residency, and stayed for a year as Chief Resident and then for my Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellowship. UPMC Children's Hospital provides world-class clinical training – as the only major pediatric medical center in the region we take care of the most common medical complaints as well as the most complex and rare disorders in pediatrics. Our faculty are international leaders in many clinical and research fields, and CHP is a world-wide leader in pediatric transplantation, which was a huge benefit to my ID training. As fellows we work not only with the researchers in the Department of Pediatrics, but from throughout the University of Pittsburgh community. I work in Bioinformatics and Data Science and received direct mentorship from faculty in the Pitt Department of Biomedical Informatics, which helped me bridge the gap between my academic and clinical interests. UPMC Children's Hospital combines an unbeatable clinical and academic environment with one of the most family-friendly and livable cities in the US. If I were choosing my fellowship location all over again, I would choose UPMC Children's.