Fully integrated with the traditional Pediatric Residency Program, the PALS Residency Program includes all didactic and clinical experiences required for the outstanding practice of clinical pediatrics.
PALS Residents Rotation Locations
PALS residents have their weekly continuity clinic at the Primary Care Center in Turtle Creek. Turtle Creek is a neighborhood about 25 minutes from the main hospital. The Clinic truly has a “community clinic” feel, as most of the patients we serve live, work, and attend school in the neighborhood where our clinic is located. Clinic is under the mentorship of Dr. Binney McCague, who has many years of serving in underserved patient populations with a resident education focus.
Residents are able to build a strong continuity panel of patients here, serving an urban, underserved, and diverse population. In addition to “bread and butter” pediatrics, i.e. well child checks and sick visits, residents also gain exposure to important psychosocial determinants of pediatric health including housing concerns, violence, poverty, and food insecurity through working in this clinic. Another benefit of this practice is the Children's Family Care Connection, located directly above the Turtle Creek Office, which helps connect patients and their families to important resources such as preschool, mental health, and nurse family partnerships.
UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics – Armstrong
PALS interns separately spend six weeks at UPMC CCP – Armstrong, a practice about forty-five minutes north of Pittsburgh in Kittanning, PA. In this clinic, they are able to strengthen important primary care skills in a more rural setting. In addition, part of the rotation is dedicated to working with pediatric mental health specialists who are integrated into the pediatric practice. This opportunity provides exceptional mental health training and experience.
PALS second year residents travel together to live and work in Coudersport, PA, which is located about four hours from Pittsburgh. Residents learn important primary care skills and also assist in the newborn nursery and small inpatient service at the community hospital, UPMC Cole. Living and working in this community further strengthens residents' skills and understanding of social determinants of health. The rotation is also supplemented with opportunities which enhance residents' education such as attending local MDT meetings, observing IU-9 classrooms, and participating in local community programs such as Parents as Teachers.
PALS senior residents have ten weeks to focus on specific career oriented rotations. Previous residents have rotated at the AAP Federal Affairs Internship Program in DC, Indian Health Service in Arizona, Global Health experiences in South America and Africa, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and additional primary care experiences.
In 2018, the PALS residents launched the PALS Curriculum. This gives PALS residents protected time together throughout the year to further develop important leadership and advocacy skills, discuss readings on community health and engagement, and learn from guest speakers. Past speakers have included physicians who have an interest in community advocacy as well as community leaders in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.
PALS residents have the opportunity to work closely with a local organization, serving on the organization's Board. Through this experience, residents will also volunteer, attend fundraisers, and promote awareness of the mission of their affiliated organization. Some opportunities include: The Women’s Center & Shelter, Adagio Health, A+ Schools, Hilltop Community Children's Center, and Amachi Pittsburgh.
PALS residents have the opportunity to attend the PA AAP Day on the Hill in Harrisburg, PA and the AAP Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Both serve to empower residents with the skills to effectively advocate for patients and families on the state and national level.
Where are they now?
- Hayley Hellstern (2022) is a Pediatrician at Kid's Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh
- Michelle Watkinson (2022) is serving as Chief Resident for the Pediatric Residency Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
- Nithin Ravi (2021) is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Children's Hospital of Colorado in Aurora
- Mariam Faiz-Nassar (2021) is a primary care provider at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Primary Care - Chestnut Hill Pediatrics
- Braveen Ragunanthan (2020) is a pediatrician at Delta Health Center, Inc, a federally qualified health center in Mound Bayou, MS
- Michael Freedman (2020) is working in Critical Care Medicine at Stanford in Palo Alto, CA
- Lisa Stefano (2019) is a pediatrician at Kid's Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh
- Kate Belser (2019) is a pediatrician at Kid's Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh
- Jeffrey Eugene (2018) is an attending physician in the Dept of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Jillian Mador, MD (2018) is a pediatrician at the Indian Health Service in Chinle, AZ
- Francesca Okolie, MD (2017) is a Neonatology Assistant Professor at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore
- Tashya Whitehead, MD (2017) is working in an underserved primary care practice in Honolulu
- Jessica Price, MD (2016) is working at Northside Christian Health Center, a federally qualified health center in the Northside of Pittsburgh
- Meredith Stern, MD (2016) is a working at Children's Community Pediatrics in Pittsburgh
- Caitlin Koerber, MD (2015) is working at Children's Community Pediatrics in Monroeville and White Oak
- Luke Shieh, MD (2015) and is working at Advocare Kressville Pediatrics, a primary care practice in the suburbs of Philadelphia
*Many of the PALS graduates are CHP Preceptors for Global/Rural Health and Continuity Clinics