The Division of Rheumatology within the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine offers postdoctoral training in clinical care, and clinical and basic laboratory research involving the rheumatic and autoimmune diseases and immunology.

The division is a Missouri Regional Arthritis Center and is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, as well as St Louis VA Medical Center, which are in close proximity.

Overview

The division maintains an outstanding environment for the training of research-oriented physicians for careers in rheumatology. Four fellowship tracks are available: a two-year clinical track for those who desire careers in clinical rheumatology, and three-year clinical and basic laboratory research tracks for those interested in investigative, academic careers.

For all fellows, the first year is devoted to direct patient care and conferences. Fellows serve as inpatient and outpatient consultants at Barnes-Jewish and John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospitals. Elective outpatient clinics at Children’s Hospital provide additional training in pediatric rheumatology and genetics of rheumatic diseases.

Fellows attend and present at weekly Rheumatology Grand Rounds, journal clubs, didactic clinical conferences, and monthly journal reviews and are encouraged to attend Department of Medicine Grand Rounds and the Immunology Seminar Series.  (Refer to “Educational Opportunities” for titles of recent Rheumatology Grand Rounds, didactic rheumatology clinical coursework, and examples of the diverse educational opportunities available in the Medical Center.) Fellows also help coordinate clinical activities of medical students and residents on the rheumatology rotation.

The content of the second and subsequent fellowship years varies. An important component of developing a career path is the relationship, developed in the first year, with one or more faculty mentors selected by the fellow.

Our mission

The mission of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program is to

  • Educate the next generation of health care providers, educators and researchers to pursue and maintain clinical excellence in the medical care of patients with arthritis, musculoskeletal, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
  • Develop behavior conducive to life-long learning
  • Support clinical and basic research in areas related to rheumatologic diseases

The Rheumatology Fellowship Program is designed to train highly qualified, motivated and dedicated physicians in a fully accredited program.

Successful completion will lead to eligibility for the Rheumatology subspecialty board certification examination administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Educational goals

Provide clinical exposure and didactic presentations so that the trainee is competent to care for patients with a variety of rheumatic diseases, including the most complex presentations.

  1. Teach the scientific basis of the pathophysiology and treatment of the rheumatic diseases.
  2. Allow the trainee to develop skill as a consultant in the in-patient and out-patient settings, to provide continuing care for patients with chronic rheumatic diseases, and to work with physicians in other specialties in this regard.
  3. Teach the rational and efficient use of laboratory and radiographic testing, and expert interpretation of the results.
  4. Acquaint the trainee with the techniques necessary for the critical evaluation of the medical literature and new treatments.
  5. Provide understanding of the realities and details of managed care and documentation requirements.
  6. Provide exposure to the care of socio-economically challenged individuals with rheumatic diseases.
  7. Enhance the development of public presentation skills for clinical and scientific material.
  8. Teach the performance of aspiration and injection of joints.
  9. Provide an opportunity for trainees to take part in clinical research protocols so that they will understand the process by which new treatments are tested.
  10. Provide an opportunity for individuals to develop the necessary basic science skills for pursuing a career as an independent basic science investigator.

Fellow responsibilities

Fellows serve as consultants for both inpatients and outpatients at Barnes-Jewish and John Cochran Veteran’s Administration Hospitals. Elective outpatient clinics at the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children and Children’s Hospital provide additional training in pediatric rheumatology and genetics of rheumatic diseases. The training program also includes weekly Rheumatology Grand Rounds, journal clubs, didactic clinical conferences, and monthly journal reviews. Fellows are also encouraged to attend Department of Medicine Grand Rounds and the Immunology Seminar Series. Finally, fellows help coordinate clinical activities of medical students and residents on the rheumatology rotation.

Clinical training sites

Washington University Medical Center

Washington University Medical Center, which is home to Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St Louis Children’s Hospital, is one of the nation’s largest clinical and biomedical research facilities. The campus includes more than 60 buildings on nearly 85 acres, with more than 2,000 hospital beds. Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the largest hospital in the Medical Center, provides clinical experience and teaching facilities for all clinical departments except pediatrics. It consistently ranks among the top 10 hospitals in U.S. News and World Report. St. Louis Children’s Hospital is one of five top pediatric health centers in the country, offering the complete range from primary to subspecialty care to meet the health needs of newborns through adolescents.

Both hospitals are members of BJC HealthCare, which was formed by the union of Barnes, Jewish, and Christian Hospitals to meet evolving healthcare needs, strengthen healthcare delivery and contain costs. BJC has formal relationships with more than a dozen outlying hospitals, five extended-care facilities, an occupational and preventive medicine affiliate, and the School of Medicine. It is one of the largest full-service, fully integrated, academically-linked health systems in the country.

St. Louis VA and St. Louis Children’s Hospital

The division has clinical and research activities at St Louis Children’s Hospital and the nearby John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital. The combination of hospitals provides a wide spectrum of pathology and clinical experiences for outstanding clinical training at one of the country’s premier centers for medical research.

For a more in-depth look at the fellowship programs we offer, click here or contact our fellowship coordinator Lacey Feigl for more information.