Cleveland Clinic is recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Cleveland Clinic's Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases affords clinical trainees an opportunity to work and interact with a supportive, world-renown and involved faculty. The trainee will see a large diversity of patients with rheumatic and immunologic diseases, as well as participate in ongoing research under the director of a staff mentor.

The goal of our fellowship program is to train board eligible/certified internists in the skills required to perform as independent consultants and primary care providers for patients with inflammatory and/or musculoskeletal disorders. The primary means of training remains on site care of patients with these disorders over the duration of the two-year fellowship program in a supervised setting which enables and fosters independent thought and evaluation regarding the individual patient and the discipline of rheumatology. We are approved by the ACGME to accept up to three fellows each year.

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Rheumatology Fellowship

Rheumatology Fellowship

Rheumatology Fellowship What to Expect

Our fellowship program provides a combination of mentorship and didactic teaching, but also demands active participation from the fellows in clinical care and in our conference and research program. The core curriculum of topics is covered over a 2 year cycle; individual key subjects are reviewed by staff in formal didactic topics, some on an annual basis. The finer points of management, pathophysiology and diagnosis are formally reviewed in the fellows’ grand rounds (which include time for significant staff-fellow discussion), are informally discussed at the weekly case based teaching rounds, and are discussed on a patient specific basis as part of the staff supervised rheumatology and specialty clinics.

Monthly conferences are also held with one of our radiology experts so that specific cases can be discussed in more depth. To promote further collaboration/communication between departments, we have combined conferences with the departments of vascular and pulmonary medicine, infectious disease, nephrology and pediatric rheumatology as well as a monthly immunology lecture for the departments of rheumatology, immunology, infectious disease, and dermatology. Our recent merger with the orthopaedics department will provide even more interdepartmental opportunities in the future.

Rheumatology Fellowship Rotations

Our fellowship is primarily based on outpatient experience with a large number of patients in various settings. To be certain that the full spectrum of musculoskeletal and inflammatory/autoimmune disease is encountered by each fellow, in a setting with optimal supervisory expertise, mandatory rotations are established in infectious disease, orthopaedics, metabolic bone disease, pediatric rheumatology, spine center, EMG, immunodeficiency (Clinical Immunology) clinic, vasculitis clinic, and our newly established interdisciplinary Arthritis Clinic. While rotating through the Arthritis Clinic, the fellow spends time learning musculoskeletal ultrasound from trained staff. These relations include formal exposure to specialized rehabilitation and therapy techniques.

Additional rotations provide experience with the clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology tools used in the support of the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic disorders. These rotations, done in addition to the fellow’s own (supervised) longitudinal care clinic, are designed for education, thus adequate supervision is always assured. There is an inpatient consultation rotation for 1st and 2nd year fellows (generally 2-3 months yearly in 2 week increments). There is a monthly conjoint orthopedic joint replacement clinic. Fellows attend one national or regional conference annually; they are encouraged to present and publish the results of their clinical and research projects.

Student and resident rotations are available as electives in Outpatient Rheumatology and in Inpatient Consultative Rheumatology. There is a discrete core reading list which is emailed to each resident or medical student prior to his or her rotation in Rheumatology. In addition, lectures are given by staff each week, directed to the rotating students and residents. The students/residents are also required to attend and participate in the department’s conferences. Computer based interactive learning programs are available as well.

Rheumatology Fellowship Research

The goal of our fellowship research program is to expose fellows to the process of clinical or basic science research including literature analysis, hypothesis generation, protocol design and critique, IRB and regulatory processes, and data organization and presentation. Fellows present their initial protocol to the fellows' research committee for open critique, and then provide formal oral updates of their progress. Fellows are expected, with guidance and supervision, to interact with the IRB and prepare their data for oral and/or written presentation. Basic research topics are also explored in didactic lectures as well as in the monthly journal club. The option for additional clinical or bench research time during a third year of fellowship is available on a competitive basis. The focus of our program is to provide our clinical rheumatology fellows with the tools to successfully enter the private, industrial or academic sector.

Rheumatology Fellowship Application

Applicants must be either certified by the ABIM or board-eligible ABIM by the start of the rheumatology fellowship.

All applicants applying for the first year fellowship positions will apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We require the following to be included with each application:

  • Application
  • Curriculum Vitae and Personal Statement
  • Letter from the current program director
  • Notarized proof of graduation from medical school with date of graduation
  • At least two letters of recommendation (in addition to program director's letter)
  • USMLE scores Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3
  • Additional information such as research activity and community involvement may be included as the applicant wishes
  • International Medical Graduates must meet the requirements of Cleveland Clinic's Graduate Medical Education.

Interviews typically take place in September and October. The selection process for the actual ranking of candidates will be systematic and consistent and decisions are based on criteria which are directly related to attributes/skills/knowledge identified as highly desirable for candidates in this specialty. Selection decisions will not be based on prejudicial factors or criteria not related to the ability to perform in that training program.

If you require more information or have any questions, please contact:
Colleen Vahcic
Education Coordinator
Rheumatic & Immunologic Diseases
Cleveland Clinic
9500 Euclid Ave./Desk A50
Cleveland, OH 44195
Phone: 216.444.0332
Fax: 216.445.7569
Email: vahcicc@ccf.org

Vasculitis Fellowship

Vasculitis Fellowship

The Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases offers a non-ACGME Fellowship in Vasculitis. The vasculitis fellowship is aimed towards physicians who are seeking an in-depth training experience in vasculitis with the goal of gaining clinical experience in providing care to vasculitis patients or who wish to pursue an investigational career in vasculitis.

The fellowship offers a one year clinical tract or a two year investigational tract. Two or three vasculitis fellows may be accepted per year. The vasculitis fellowship is open to trainees who have completed subspecialty training (i.e.: a rheumatology fellowship or subspecialty equivalent) and who have independent funding to support their fellowship training.

Interested applicants should contact:
Carol Langford, MD, MHS
Director, Center for Vasculitis Care and Research
Phone: 216.445.6056
Email: langfoc@ccf.org