Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship - Program Overview

Clinical Training:

The inpatient clinical training curriculum occurs in two locations: The Margaret M. and George A. Stephen Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Comer Children’s Hospital of the University of Chicago, and the NorthShore University HealthSystems Evanston Hospital / Infant special care unit.  Our program is intentional in providing an experience marked by fellow autonomy in terms of patient management, resident teaching, and leading a multidisciplinary care team.

The goal of our clinical program is to enable fellows to successfully transition from pediatric resident to independent neonatologist with proficiency in all domains of clinical competency including development of critical analysis of clinical problems, communicating with families, procedures, interfacing with consultants, and. the ability to make appropriate decisions.

While on clinical service, fellows are expected to organize and run the clinical service under the supervision of a Neonatal-Perinatal faculty member on clinical service.  Fellows provide supervision, guidance, and technical assistance to the housestaff caring for the infants in the unit.  In addition, fellows attend all high-risk deliveries with pediatric residents, are involved in resuscitations and obstetric consultations, and may attend neonatal transports.  Fellows on clinical service participate in all aspects of clinical activities, including the preparation, presentation, and discussion of the clinical management of the patients.  Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellows are also responsible for entry of patients into research protocols. 

Additional Clinical Components:

  • Follow-up: Four weeks each year.  NICU graduates comprise an increasing number of high risk children in general pediatrics and in hospital-based medicine.  The goal of this rotation is threefold: a) Coordination of appropriate discharges from the NICU including insurance and medical providers; b) Optimization of primary/developmental care and advocacy in the outpatient clinic; c) Overnight and after hours triage of NICU graduate problems through phone triage.  NICU follow-up, prenatal counseling, and neurodevelopmental outcomes research are particular interests of our program.
  • Simulation:  This educational program is designed to focus on teamwork, communication, infrequent life-threatening events and difficult conversations.  During the fellowship program, trainees will have the opportunity to take part in the following programs:
    • NICU Fellow Bootcamp:  First year fellows attend a two-day bootcamp at the University of Washington St. Louis with the University of Chicago faculty.  During this bootcamp fellows receive hands-on training from the most basic to the most complex of procedural skills required in the neonatal ICU.  Fellows also undergo multiple simulation scenarios covering a wide array clinical situations.
    • Communication skills focused training:  First year fellows attend a communication based course at NorthShore Hospital.  This course is focused on difficult conversations and breaking bad news.  It involves clinical scenarios, role playing and focused debriefing.
    • Multidisciplinary simulation scenarios are carried out in-situ in the NICU focusing primarily on life threatening situations in the NICU.
    • Fellow Neonatal Resuscitation Instructor training: Fellows are given the opportunity to become NRP instructors.
    • In addition there are multiple simulation based projects involving residents, nursing staff, and hospitalists, providing fellows with opportunities for scholarly activity.
  • Fetal-maternal medicine: One month rotation
  • Pediatric Sedation: Two week rotation focused on procedures
  • Transport: Fellows actively participate in the neonatal transport process, including receiving training in helicopter transport of neonates from the University of Chicago Aeromedical Network Transport Service

Additional electives may be arranged from a wide array of opportunities offered by the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Research Training:

Scholarship is an integral part of the training experience and is consistent with the core mission of the University of Chicago to generate new knowledge to improve human life.

We expect all fellows to become experts in their area of scholarship and to conduct meaningful and rigorous research that adds to the scope of knowledge of the field of neonatology. Scholarly work takes time and the fellow experience is expected to be the beginning stages of a career of scholarship.  The University of Chicago is truly a unique environment with the full breadth of academic resources available on a single campus and a culture of collaboration. In the months prior to the start of fellowship the Professional Development Committee of the Section of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, works closely with each fellow to understand their individual long term goals and research interests, in order to identify a research mentor. Mentors may be chosen from within the Department of Pediatrics, or from other departments in the University.

Educational Opportunities:

The program offers a variety of basic science courses and clinical teaching conferences at both the University of Chicago and NorthShore campuses.  Formal didactic teaching occurs on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week. Faculty members from inside and outside the section, as well as other departments contribute to these lecture series on a regular basis.  Additional educational conferences include:

  • Grand Rounds
  • Cardiac Cath Conference
  • Joint White Sheet/M&M Conference with OB service
  • ECMO conference
  • Surgery/NICU Conference
  • Fetal Care Center Conference

Unique Educational Opportunities:

The University of Chicago offers unique opportunities for fellows with specific interest in ethics, medical education, and outcomes: