The foundation of our Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program is basic research. Therefore, the program director's most important responsibility is to ensure 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, with the intention that the fellow will have selected a mentor prior to beginning fellowship. The fellow reviews a description of the laboratory activities of participating faculty. During this period of time, the program director keeps in 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.
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
The program director, fellow, and mentor review the information to make sure there is a clear understanding of the research project planned for that individual. A scientific advisory board provides mentorship, reviewing overall adequacy of laboratory placement of fellows and ensuring that each fellow receives the best training possible.
Clinical Microbiology and Immunology
Pediatric infectious diseases fellows complete a two-week course in the clinical Microbiology and Immunology laboratories designed for pediatric and adult infectious diseases fellows at the outset of training. The session begins with a tour of all laboratory facilities and an opportunity to meet with the faculty, supervisors, and clinical microbiology post-doctoral fellows to learn about the services provided and how best to utilize the laboratories. This orientation covers vital aspects of the field, such as bacteriology, parasitology, mycology, serology / immunology, and virology.
In response to each fellow’s research needs and experience, an additional two week rotation may be arranged for the second or third year of training. The fellow and program director work to identify specific facets of microbiology relevant to the fellow’s scholarly development and those are incorporated into the rotation.
We believe mentorship lies at the core of successful scholarly activity. Our fellows have a research mentor and an additional pediatric ID mentor. The selection of a research mentor begins when a fellow candidate schedules an interview. After the candidate outlines broad areas of interest, faculty from those areas meet the candidate. Upon acceptance to the program, the program director works with the fellow to formally identify a mentor through discussions and further interviews.
Research mentors continue to work closely with the fellow throughout training. Fellows participate in lab meetings with Ph.D. students, rotating medical students, and post-doctoral fellows. The fellow meets regularly with mentors and formally with the Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) at least semiannually. SOCs play a vital role in training. The committee offers advice, guidance with collaborating, finding funding, submission of publications, and ensures that ABP board requirements are met.