A New Fellow, and New Fellowships, Has Pitt Pediatrics Looking to the New Academic Year

Anyone who works in a major academic medical center knows that the end of winter can be known as “scrambling” season. It’s the somewhat frantic time following the formal match period for fellows where institutions work to recruit available candidates to open fellowship positions across various subspecialties. 

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh is certainly no stranger to the difficulties of fellowship recruitment every year. Despite being a leading academic institution and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh being ranked sixth in the nation among children’s hospitals, fellow positions do sometimes initially go unfilled. 

Though this “free agency” period can be chaotic to navigate, the Department of Pediatrics has been successful in recruiting some of the most competitive fellowship candidates from across the country to its various subspecialties. This year, the Division of Hematology and Oncology brought on Clarise Valencia, MD, following her pediatric residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Valencia plans to focus on survivorship and palliative care during her training, with the ultimate goal of developing a comprehensive cancer management program in in the Philippines, her home country. Valencia will be joined by another first-year fellow in the Division, Tsuyoshi Fujita, MD, PhD, who is one of the Department’s graduating residents.

But while the Division of Hematology and Oncology found success in filling their open fellowship positions, other Divisions, such as Infectious Diseases (ID) have struggled over the last few years to fill their spots. The problem for divisions such as ID is that more spots are open nationally than there are candidates who apply to them. And despite the pandemic dictating so much of day-to-day life over the last three years, ID as a subspecialty continues to shrink in size across the country. 

Not every division, however, faces the same challenge to fill its open positions. The Division of Emergency Medicine, led by Ray Pitetti, MD, MPH, FAAP, recently established two brand new fellowship training spots, with the hopes of filling them for the first time by the summer start. Both subspecialty training positions are designed to respond to a growing demand in specialized emergency medicine care. 

The first position, to be run by Vipin Philip, MD, will be comprised of an extra year of emergency medicine fellowship training with a specific focus on the use of ultrasounds in pediatric patients. This fellowship is unique in composition, with no more than four or five other pediatric centers in the country hosting a similar training program. 

The second position, to be run by Natan Cramer, MD, FAAP, will be an additional one-year program that takes a pediatrician and trains them specifically in urgent care medicine. This unique program, which exists in only one or two other centers in the country, will help standardize urgent care training which already requires a broad swathe of clinical expertise resembling both emergency care and general primary care. 

The Department of Pediatrics newest class of fellows will officially start on July 6. Learn more about them by following Pitt Pediatrics on Twitter or Instagram, and checking the fellowships pages on our website