About the Program
Since its initial establishment in 1966 by Dr. Evelyn V. Hess, the rheumatology fellowship program at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center has continued to focus on our mission to produce outstanding academic physician scientists and clinician educators. Our aim is to facilitate our fellows throughout their training to become excellent clinicians with a comprehensive exposure to different aspects of our specialty.
Our Clinical Experience
One of our program’s strongest elements is our comprehensive and multi-dimensional clinical training for our trainees. Our fellows get continuity care experience at the UC Medical Center, VA Medical Center as well as our UC Health Midtown locations, each offering a unique learning opportunity and a diverse clinicopathologic spectrum of diseases. In addition to these, our fellows gain experience rotating through the faculty clinics at these locations as well as at our West Chester location. Being the only academic rheumatology center in the tristate region, our fellows have the unique advantage of seeing patients with complex medical conditions presenting in varied forms, which is very important for a rheumatology training program. Our fellows participate in the inpatient consultation blocks at the UC Medical Center, the largest tertiary referral center in the tristate region during their training here.
In addition to our program’s rheumatology-based training curriculum, the fellows participate in elective rotation blocks during their first year in dermatology, pediatric rheumatology (at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center),
physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as orthopedics. In their second year of training, they participate in a radiology elective block with our musculoskeletal radiology department. These experiences ensure that our fellows have all the necessary
skills and tools to develop a comprehensive understanding of rheumatic disease, coordinate with providers in other specialties and keep them on track for a successful career as a rheumatologist.
Current 4-week Block Distribution
Total Blocks per year - 13
UC Medical Center Consult Blocks 4
Elective Blocks 4
Ambulatory Clinical Blocks 4
Orientation and QI Block 1
UC Medical Center Consult Blocks 2 ½
Elective Blocks (including Radiology/ QI/ Research) 9 ½
Quality Improvement and Process Change
One of the vital elements of our program includes a required training in Quality Improvement. Our fellows complete the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI ®) basic certification and apply their knowledge and understanding to design and implement (with faculty assistance and supervision) an individualized Quality Improvement project during their fellowship. We emphasize the importance of identifying process issues and encourage our fellows to develop strong leadership skills to improve health care delivery to our patients.
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSKUS)
Another important aspect of our program is utilization of musculoskeletal ultrasound in clinical education for our fellows. We have four clinical faculty members with expertise and certification in MSKUS and use it routinely in their individual practice where fellows participate during their ambulatory rotations. Dedicated didactics and hands on sessions are scheduled during the academic year to familiarize the fellows with the basics of MSKUS. We have TWO ultrasound clinics (one at the VA and one at our UC Medical Center Hoxworth Clinic locations) every week where our second-year fellows participate in performance and learning of diagnostic and therapeutic application of MSKUS in clinical practice. Our fellows have successfully participated in the USSONAR ® program and successfully completed the course over the years and some have even been able to get the RhMSUS ® certification offered by the American College of Rheumatology. We continue to modify and improve this program based on our fellows’ and attending feedback and recommendations to make it an important learning experience.
Didactics and Conferences
Thursday mornings 8 AM to 12 PM are reserved for our fellows’ didactics. This includes time set aside for weekly didactics where we have rheumatology faculty and other invited speakers from other Divisions and Departments give our fellows interactive talks on important topics over a rotating 2-year period. This time also has an open flexible period scheduled for fellows’ self-learning and reading. We have incorporated a “Kelly book club” with dedicated topics from the text for better understanding of the clinicopathologic basis of disease. In addition, our didactics include a series of lectures on immunology by our basic science faculty as well as on MSKUS.
Friday afternoons from 1 to 2 PM is our scheduled conferences. These are arranged based on a 4-week rotating schedule. These include:
Week 1: Combined Conferences – CTD/ILD, radiology conference and others
Week 2: Journal Club
Week 3: Case Presentation
Week 4: Rheumatology Grand Rounds
In addition to the above, we incorporate conferences that focus on important aspects of our program, such as annual review of the fellowship program, diversity and inclusion, and Quality Improvement conferences as well as the recently added rheumatology Morbidity and Mortality conferences. We continue to modify these annually based on faculty and fellow feedback.
Opportunities for Academic Advancement