We will continue to foster our unique relationship with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH) in Memphis, TN. This enables fellows, who desire to gain more exposure to infections in the immunocompromised patient, the opportunity to spend one month on the consult service at St. Jude's. SJCRH is one of the leading and largest Children's cancer centers in the world. Through this experience fellows will have rich and intensive exposure to infections in the compromised host.
Our Infectious Diseases fellowship program is designed to be an intensive laboratory-based training program where fellows receive the training necessary to establish independent research careers in academic medical centers or federal institutions (NIH, FDA, CDC, etc.). Thus, the fellowship is designed as a mandatory 3-year training program with one year of clinical experience and two years of absolutely protected time dedicated to laboratory training. Fellows receive clinical training in our Pediatric Infectious Disease Service at the Golisano Children’s Hospital, which is a tertiary care center for an 11-county area. We see about 40 consults per month on the inpatient service and in our Level III D Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
In addition to the laboratory research training and clinical experience that each fellow will receive, the program has an organized series of graduate level courses, seminars, guest lecture series, and regularly scheduled conferences.
The foundation of this training program is basic research. Therefore, the program director's most important responsibility is to assure an appropriate laboratory placement for each trainee. Laboratory placement of each fellow is done with careful evaluation and with consideration of the fellow's interests.
This process begins before the fellow arrives in Rochester. Each applicant is mailed a description of the laboratory activities of participating faculty, as well as other members of other relevant departments, such as Microbiology and Immunology. During this period of time, the program director keeps in phone contact with the fellow. As the fellow narrows the list of projects which are most appealing, the program director puts the appropriate faculty directly in contact with the fellow so that more detailed information can be exchanged. Our intention is that the fellows will have selected a mentor prior to arriving in Rochester. After arriving in Rochester, the fellow may do a short (4-6 weeks) rotation in one or two laboratories, if necessary, to help finalize placement.
Once a potential mentor has been identified, the fellow and mentor will be asked to provide the following information regarding the proposed project:
The significance of the project
Specific goals for the individual fellow
Major techniques to be mastered
A description of how the fellow will fit into the ongoing activities in the laboratory
This information will be reviewed by the program director, the fellow and mentor to make sure there is a clear understanding of the research project planned for that individual. A scientific advisory board will be responsible for reviewing overall adequacy of laboratory placement of fellows to ensure that each fellow receives the best training possible.
Clinical Training Opportunities
When on service, fellows receive several phone consultations daily from pediatricians in our referral area. An extensive phone consultation system has become "standard operating procedure" for our community.
We have an active HIV Clinic which follows approximately 40 HIV-infected children. There are approximately 25-30 infants born to HIV-infected women each year in our catchment area. Each fellow attends one half-day per week at the HIV Clinic to develop experience with the longitudinal care of HIV-infected children. The HIV program is part of the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group funded by the NICHD.
In addition to the usual tertiary care patients, the division also provides consultation for renal, liver, heart, and bone marrow transplant services as well as to an active Hematology/Oncology service. Thus, our fellows see a diversity of clinical problems and receive significant exposure to immunocompromised patients which is the laboratory focus of this program.