Rheumatology Fellowship Program

LBJ clinic
The Division of Rheumatology at UT Health offers a 2-year ACGME accredited fellowship designed to prepare individuals for careers in clinical or academic rheumatology. We accept applications for fellowship positions through Electronic Residency Application Service only. For international medical graduates, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston has adopted a policy of accepting into its graduate medical education residency program only those who are under J-1 visas sponsored by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Three PGY4 and three PGY5 positions are available each academic year (6 positions total).

All fellows receive intensive clinical training over 2 years as well as research experience, including completion of at least one major research project (which can be either lab-based or clinical) during their PGY5 year. All full-time faculty participate in teaching and closely supervise fellows in all patient care activities. The Division has been providing fellows with “real-world” intensive training in the management of rheumatic diseases since 1989. A postgraduate survey in 2010 demonstrated that >90% our graduates felt that the training they received prepared them “very well” or “extremely well” in the diagnosis and management rheumatologic conditions in their practices.

Upon completion of training, most of our fellows work either in the private sector (70%) or academia (30%). Many choose to live and work in Texas but we also have former fellows in Colorado, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and New York.

Training is provided in the following settings:

Inpatient Rheumatology Consult Service (PGY4 only)

  •  Memorial Hermann Hospital/Memorial Children’s Hospital – The fellow is the team leader for this monthly rotation which takes place in the major tertiary care teaching hospital of UT Health. The Rheumatology Service provides consultative and procedural services for all inpatients admitted to the various medical, surgical, obstetrical and pediatric services at Memorial Hermann. The volume of consults varies day to day but usually averages 2-4 new consult requests per weekday. Consult/bedside teaching rounds take place in the afternoon with the attending rheumatologist, along with the residents and medical students assigned to the consult service for the month.
  •  Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) General Hospital – The fellow is the team leader for this monthly rotation which takes place in the one of the major hospitals of the Harris Health System. The hospital is located the same building complex that houses the Harris Health/LBJ Rheumatology Clinic. The Rheumatology Service provides consultative and procedural services for all inpatients in admitted to the various medical, surgical, and obstetrical services at LBJ. The volume of consults varies day to day but usually averages 1-2 new consult requests per weekday. Consult/bedside teaching rounds take place in the afternoon with the attending rheumatologist.

Outpatient Rheumatology Clinics (PGY4 and PGY5)

  • UT Health Rheumatology Clinics – These clinics provide outpatient rheumatology services for the UT Physicians practice.  Services are provided at the Texas Medical Center (TMC) and 4 community-based clinics. The UT Rheumatology practice sees well over 10,000 rheumatology patient-visits per year. At the TMC main campus, the Frank C. Arnett Center for Immunobiology and Autoimmunity (est. 2011) serves as the main hub of the UT Rheumatology practice. It is the major teaching clinic of the fellowship program and also houses several rheumatology subspecialty clinics. The fellows’ clinic runs continuously for the entire duration of training. The PGY4 fellows have morning clinics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The PGY5 fellows have all-day clinics on Mondays. The same attending rheumatologist is assigned to supervise fellows (by PGY year) in their continuity or subspecialty clinics (1:1 to 1:3 ratio) for entire year.
  • Harris Health/LBJ Rheumatology Clinic – This clinic provides rheumatology care to the residents of Harris County and takes place on Tuesday and Thursdays. The clinic has well over 2,200 rheumatology patient visits per year.
  • Harris Health/Thomas Street HIV Rheumatology Clinic – The Rheumatology Clinic at Thomas Street Clinic was established in the 1990’s and provides rheumatology services to HIV patients, with over 400 patient visits per year. The clinic takes places two Monday mornings per month.

Rheumatology Subspecialty Clinics (PGY5)

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis and Spondyloarthropathy Clinic (Dr. Reveille) – The AS clinic takes place weekly on Thursdays. Many of the patients in this clinic participate in longitudinal cohort studies of AS, and are also involved in clinical trials.
  • Scleroderma Clinic (Drs. Mayes and Assassi) – This is the only scleroderma clinic in the Southeastern US with over 600 scleroderma-related visits per year from Texas and surrounding states.
  • Pediatric Rheumatology (Dr. Kamdar) – Weekly clinic on Thursdays.
  • Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Clinic (Dr. Tan) – This clinic was established in 2011 and takes place on Fridays at the Arnett Center. The clinic provides US diagnostic and procedural services for the UT Rheumatology practice as well as other UT Physicians clinics. Fellows learn musculoskeletal anatomy and how to perform and interpret protocol-based diagnostic scans and perform US-guided procedures, supervised by attending rheumatologists certified in MSK ultrasound by ARDMS and the ACR.

Research and scholarly projects (PGY5)

  • PGY5 conduct a mentored research project with one of our faculty members.  The PGY5 fellows receive hands-on mentoring in the data collection and analysis, as well as  preparation of abstracts and manuscripts.   This mentored research is typically focused on a clinical, quality improvement, or translational project.  Fellows are also encouraged to take courses in the NIH-supported Clinical Research Curriculum or Master’s Program in Clinical Research offered in our medical school.
  • For fellows who are planning to pursue a research career in rheumatology, we also offer a three year fellowship program.  This program  includes a formal training in Master’s Program in Clinical Research (clinical or translational track) and hands-on training in a more in-depth research project.  PGY6 fellows will submit a competitive proposal for a career development award at the end of their fellowship.
  • Didactics and case-based conferences allow trainees to gain a thorough understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. The Division provides the following conferences to complement the practical experiences in our clinics and consult services.
  • Rheumatology Case Conference held at 7:30-8:30AM each Wednesday morning throughout the year. This consists of case presentations by the fellow assigned to the Rheumatology consult service, which are then discussed by the faculty and fellows as well as by the residents and students taking the Rheumatology Consult service.
  • Rheumatology Core Curriculum was established at UT in 2004 with the aim of reviewing the general concepts about the rheumatic diseases and about methodologies thereof. It is given by members of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine faculty, as well as guest lecturers from other institutions.
  • Radiology Conference has taken place for the past 10 years, and is held currently at 7:30AM on the last Friday of the month. Basic concepts in musculoskeletal radiology are reviewed and cases examined in conjunction with the rheumatology faculty and a musculoskeletal radiologists.
  • Dermatology/Rheumatology Clinical Conference was initiated in the 1980’s, and this conference has long been focused on patients with dermatological manifestations of the rheumatic diseases. It is held the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:30-8:30AM and is attended by faculty from the Dermatology Department and the Rheumatology Division, rheumatology fellows, Dermatology and Internal Medicine residents and students from UT-H and Baylor College of Medicine.
  • The Rheumatology Division Journal Club is held every Friday (unless otherwise designated) morning at 7:30AM. Here pertinent articles from the basic and clinical science literature are presented by the fellows and reviewed by the faculty. Also in attendance are rheumatology consult service residents and students.