Life as a Duke Fellow


Because each trainee is different, the research and scholarly experience for each Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) fellow is tailored according to individual training needs and professional goals. We strive to understand each trainee’s unique interests and aspirations, guide them forward on their chosen path within PHM with careful mentorship, and streamline effective entry into future professional roles. 

There are multiple educational venues within our division and department in which our fellows participate, including PHM-specific didactics, Grand Rounds, Chair’s Conference, Morbidity and Mortality Conference, and Interprofessional Journal Club.  In addition, the Department of Pediatrics supports the Fellows Core Curriculum and the Fellows Research Conference, both exclusively dedicated to the professional development all pediatric subspecialty fellows.

Clinical Experience

PHM fellowship at Duke provides robust opportunities for broadening and deepening clinical knowledge and skills. Serving as a quaternary referral center, fellows are exposed to the full spectrum of pediatric general and subspecialty inpatient care. PHM fellows interact with subspecialty services representing all pediatric medical and surgical subspecialties, and can rotate with these subspecialists as part of the individualized curriculum depending professional needs and interests. For the community hospital experience, fellows rotate to Mission Children’s Hospital in scenic Asheville NC, and have the opportunity to work one-on-one with pediatric intensivists/hospitalists at WakeMed Children’s Hospital in Raleigh NC.

As a division, PHM oversees the Pediatric Complex Care Service, providing both inpatient and outpatient care coordination for children with medical complexity, and the Children’s Procedural Sedation Unit. These provide robust clinical experiences for our PHM fellows in these required areas. For fellows interested in learning more about transitions of care, we offer a medicine-pediatric service line specializing in the care of young adults with chronic illness.  Fellows can undergo training in point-of-care ultrasound in partnership with our emergency medicine and medicine-pediatric colleagues.  In addition to rotations on inpatient general pediatrics at Duke and Mission Children’s Hospitals, fellows learn hands-on surgical co-management through nocturnist shifts caring for surgical subspecialty patients. Fellows may also moonlight in this nocturnist role if interested.

Research Project Selection

During the PHM Fellowship, the fellow focuses on a scholarly project in the area/focus of their choosing.  The selection, organization, and cultivation of a fellow’s research project follows a very detailed and established timeline that begins prior to the start of fellowship.  Prior to fellowship matriculation, areas and/or topics of interest are identified, and program leadership works with the fellow to establish a primary project mentor. The first few weeks of fellowship are primarily focused on project refinement, establishment of a mentoring team in the form of a Scholarship Oversight Committee, and planning for additional training needs for project completion. The ultimate goal is to efficiently establish a well-designed, thoroughly peer-reviewed scholarly project plan in the first three months of fellowship to ensure successful project completion within the two-year timeline.

Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC)

All fellows have a Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) assigned to assist with project progression and career development. The SOC is composed of 4-5 members of the university faculty who provide assistance and mentorship to ensure completion of a high-quality scholarly product to submit to the American Board of Pediatrics upon fellowship completion. The SOC includes at least two faculty members from the Division of PHM, and other departmental and non-departmental faculty based on the fellow’s scholarly interests. The SOC is appointed by the program director with input from the fellow.

The SOC convenes at least once every six months, and more frequently as needed/requested by the fellow. During these meetings, the fellow is expected to give a formal 30-minute presentation of their research progress and plans for the future. The SOC will critically evaluate the fellow’s progress and determine if the work is appropriate to meet the Department of Pediatrics’ scholarly product expectations and the American Board of Pediatrics subspecialty program requirements for scholarly products.  The SOC will complete a semi-annual written evaluation of the fellow’s progress.

Fellows present their results at project group meetings, at least twice per year at PHM faculty division meetings, and at least twice per year to the SOC. Fellows also give a formal presentation to all faculty and fellows in the Department of Pediatrics through the Fellows Research Conference series. Further, fellows are expected to present results at national and international meetings and to publish results in a peer-reviewed journal. These presentation opportunities are designed to provide fellows with frequent practice and feedback to build skill and confidence in delivering high-quality scholarly presentations.

Other Unique Program Aspects

Certain competencies that extend beyond scientific training are required for a successful academic career, including grant and medical writing, public speaking, and mentoring skills. Duke offers numerous courses and seminars that can provide formal training in these areas during fellowship:

  • The Scientific Writing Course is a virtual training seminar by Dr. George Gopen of the University Writing Program. Dr. Gopen is a dynamic speaker and expert on reader expectation theory who has improved faculty and fellow grant writing habits and contributed to countless successful grant applications.

  • The annual Duke University School of Medicine Write Winning Grants Proposals seminar assists with the identification of the most appropriate granting agency, provides guidance on how to write for reviewers, and offers tips and strategies for successful grant applications. This seminar is widely attended by both Duke faculty and trainees.

  • The Duke University School of Medicine Early Career Grant Program program assists trainees and junior faculty preparing NIH career development (K) grant applications. Launched in 2012, the K Club consists of structured reviews and feedback on grant applications by both peers and experienced senior faculty. The program is offered three times per year beginning five months prior to each NIH K application deadline. The program consists of seminars and workshops targeting each section of the K award application. Final applications are reviewed by senior Duke faculty mentors and discussed in a mock study section that trainees have the opportunity to attend. Numerous junior faculty in our Division have submitted successful K applications with the assistance of this program. 

  • All trainees are encouraged to apply to the NIH Loan Repayment Plan (LRP), for which fellows in our division have a high rate of successful funding.

  • The Duke AHEAD Health Professions Education and Teaching Certificate Program is a hybrid (in-person & virtual) 12-month program focused on supporting development in health professions education through mentorship and interprofessional education and collaboration.  The program allows up to 12 faculty, professional staff, or fellows from the School of Nursing, Physical Therapy Program, Physician Assistant Programs, School of Medicine, Duke University Health System, and Professors of the Practice of Medical Education to participate.

  • The Duke GME Medical Education Leadership Track (MELT) program is designed to help train new leaders in Medical Education. Through this one-year, longitudinal, interactive curriculum led by content experts, we are able to equip our residents and fellows with tools to help transform their clinical teaching and approach to medical education scholarship.

  • Career Transition and Continued Mentorship. A critical point for future academic independence is successful navigation of the first faculty position. Because a trainee’s growth and development does not stop at the conclusion of their training, fellows will be supported by program leadership through the process of securing the first faculty position, including networking, CV production, interviewing, negotiation, and career planning assistance. The spirit of this mentorship program includes continued mentoring during the transition to independence, especially in the rapidly evolving field of PHM and the current competitive funding environment.

  • The Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute has developed the Teaching for Equity Fellowship (TFEF), a year-long series of workshops that give trainees and faculty tools to better engage all students in our classrooms, labs, and learning spaces. The workshops are specifically designed to address a number of teaching and mentoring topics that may arise around race and identity. Faculty fellows gain specific skills and strategies to create a culture that improves learning for all our students. The Center developed the series in 2015 and has built a network of over 200 alumni fellows from 10 cohorts across Duke. The 2021-2022 cohort is sponsored by the Office for Faculty Advancement, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and the Duke School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

  • The Duke University School of Medicine Masters of Health Sciences in Clinical Leadership program offers individual courses in topics ranging from Leadership, Management, and Team Development to Community Engaged Approaches to Health Improvement. These distance-based courses allow participants to receive guidance from experts on team development, adaptive management techniques, and community engagement.

  • Supported by Duke AHEAD and the Duke Health Center for Interprofessional Education and Care, the Teach More About Teams program has been developed to equip clinician-educators across the health system with the knowledge, skills, and attributes to effectively facilitate interprofessional education (IPE) and collaboration in clinical settings. Participants engage in review and discussion of content including IPE and collaboration competencies, team communication, IPE facilitation strategies, establishing psychologically safe learning environments, learner assessment, and mastering feedback in large and small interprofessional groups. The course culminates in presentation of a learning activity for use in clinical settings developed collaboratively by each small group during the 6 week program.