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Rheumatology Program Curriculum

The outpatient and inpatient consultation experiences are supplemented by a variety of academic conferences. There is a weekly case conference in which fellows are expected to present cases seen in their clinics or consultation experiences. These presentations often include discussion of background reading and other resource material. The cases are reviewed by the attendings, at least three of whom participate in the Tuesday morning conferences. Additional conferences include a didactic series encompassing the basic rheumatology curriculum, a monthly journal club in which fellows and attendings present journal club articles, and our formal rheumatology grand rounds series in which invited speakers present cutting edge research in clinical topics for the benefit of the fellows, attendings, and community rheumatologists. We offer extensive training in musculoskeletal ultrasound and fellows attend several joint dermatology-rheumatology clinics each month.

The fellows' educational experience is augmented with several significant opportunities for learning outside of Rhode Island. They are encouraged to attend the national American College of Rheumatology (ACR) meetings annually and the Harvard Rheumatology Review Course in Boston early in the second year. In addition, arrangements are often made for fellows to travel to special lectures at other New England medical centers.

The rheumatology fellowship is designed to balance reading, research and learning with patient care. Fellows are usually assigned to be in clinic one-half of each day, leaving one-half of each day available for academic activity and consults. The consult load is usually between one and eight per week depending on the hospital rotation. The schedule also contains blocks of protected time for research and for elective experience outside the rheumatology division. Fellows are on call every fifth weekend, during which they may be asked to see an average of two or three consults and answer several phone calls. Weekday night call is taken by the fellow assigned to the Roger Williams and Rhode Island Hospital rotations; calls are infrequent. The consults which we are asked to see outside the usual working hours often provide the best opportunities for experience with the performance of diagnostic arthrocentesis and present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges which contribute greatly to the fellows' educational experience. Attending coverage is scheduled on an every seventh weekend rotation, ensuring that fellows have the opportunity to learn from each faculty member. We promote teamwork and provide a collegial atmosphere, which we believe enhances productivity and makes the fellowship an enjoyable educational experience.