The Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery Fellowship Program at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, in affiliation with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), trains physicians in advanced skills in pediatric orthopedic surgery. Our program provides in-depth training for a wide spectrum of congenital and acquired musculoskeletal problems in children.
Our one-year program, accredited by the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North American (POSNA) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), admits three fellows annually for a well-rounded training experience with our large, diverse faculty. The fellowship year not only focuses on surgical and clinical training, but includes a strong research component, to best train our future leaders in pediatric orthopedics.
Our Fellowship Program
The Nemours pediatric orthopedic surgery clinical fellowship program provides in-depth training for a wide spectrum of congenital, acquired and traumatic musculoskeletal pathology in children. Fellowship should not simply be a sixth year of training, and our Fellows are offered the support and autonomy they need to become insightful, competitive pediatric orthopedic surgeons. You’ll gain clinical and surgical competence in the management of a wide range of orthopedic issues, including:
- complex spine disorders and deformities
- neuromuscular disorders
- skeletal dysplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta
- sports medicine
- disorders of the hip
- lower extremity deformity and clubfoot
- bone and soft tissue tumors
- hand and upper extremity problems
A Long History of Pediatric Orthopedics Care
Nemours has been setting the standard for pediatric orthopedic care since 1940, when Alfred I. duPont’s philanthropic vision was first realized through the creation of the duPont Institute in Delaware — a place which, for 40 years, was devoted entirely to pediatric orthopedics and led by renowned physicians in the developing field.
Today, we are an international leader in the field of orthopedics for children, with one of the world’s most widely respected Pediatric Orthopedic practices. With 15 orthopedic surgeons on faculty, we are one of the country’s largest and most diverse practices, providing comprehensive care to all children with orthopedic conditions. Our Skeletal Dysplasia Program is one of the world’s foremost centers in the treatment of skeletal dysplasia, offering expert, state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary medical and surgical care used to treat children and adults up to age 35 with dwarfism and osteogenesis imperfecta. Our Spine Center is one of the country’s busiest pediatric spine practices, with eight surgeons providing care for the entire spectrum of scoliosis, kyphosis and spine anomalies.
Modern surgical education requires a firm foundation in general orthopedics with the flexibility to tailor clinical training to the growth of niche specialties within pediatric orthopedics. To that end, our fellowship curriculum evolved into two complimentary halves:
- First six months: Service-based rotations where fellows are assigned to one of the three main services: Spine and Sports Medicine, Neuromuscular, and Skeletal Dysplasia/Limb Deformity.
- Second six months: Clinical autonomy where fellows have the choice to focus on areas of interest or improvement, assigning themselves to the cases and clinics where they will benefit most and develop subspecialty expertise for their career choice.
Throughout the year, the Fellows manage their own clinical schedule. The ideal week consists of 3 operative days, 1.5 days in the clinic, and a half day set aside for education, research and personal use. This breakdown allows for our Fellows log an average of more than 350 cases per year, in addition to learning the invaluable clinical skills every young surgeon needs to begin in practice. Extensive one-on-one teaching in the operating room and outpatient clinic form the basis of pediatric orthopaedic teaching and career-long mentorship.
Every weekday morning begins with structured didactics, starting with Trauma conference, where the Fellows oversee the management of the prior day’s consults. This is followed by a rotating schedule of conferences, including weekly lectures in our year-long Pediatric Orthopedics curriculum, Preoperative Indications, a boards-style Postoperative Review, monthly Journal club and Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conference. Fellows also participate in regular sub-specialty conferences for the Spine, Neuromuscular, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and Skeletal Dysplasia services.
Fellows are also expected to develop as teachers and many of our graduates go on to become academic surgeons and educators (see below). Residents from 5 Orthopedic Surgery training programs rotate through our department, and work closely with our Fellows. Fellows are given the chance to hone their instructional skills by guiding them through supervised trauma cases, and helping oversee their consults. The Fellows are also responsible for one lecture per week in the second half of the year, allowing development of their teaching-style and instructional materials for future use.
Call is managed at each Fellowship class’ discretion, and usually is taken a week at a time. Fellows take call from home, with an in-house Resident performing all patient consults and non-urgent procedures in the Emergency Department and Level 1 Trauma Center. While emergent cases may go to the OR overnight, there is an Orthopedic Trauma room available most mornings for operative cases that present overnight.
Our department believes strongly that the chance to learn, present and interact with your colleagues at national conferences is an important aspect of fellowship training. Our surgeons are on the faculty of many of the top Pediatric Orthopedic conferences, and are able to assist our Fellows as they make inroads into their future professional community.
Fellows are allotted 20 days away for their year at Nemours, and are encouraged to attend:
At Nemours, we are fortunate to be able to offer our Fellows substantial support during their year in Wilmington. There is a private Fellows’ office with an up-to-date library of all relevant Orthopedic texts, as well as access to the hospital’s Medical Science library.
There is an annual stipend for each Fellow to use for travel and tuition, as well as access to numerous grant opportunities. We consider conference attendance a priority, and several times per year, all three Fellows travel together to major meetings.
Our Program Coordinator, Donna Lizut works tirelessly to ensure that the Fellows always have what they need to focus on their clinical training, from onboarding, orientation and credentialing to transition to future practice. The Director of Clinical Research, Dr. Kenneth Rogers, is a fantastic resource to help get our Fellows started on research early on in their fellowship, making it feasible to complete several projects within the year. We are members of virtually every important multicenter study group in pediatric orthopedics and fellows are systematically involved in prospective clinical outcomes studies.
Several of our staff members will also mentor the fellows in the soft skills that are so critical for success: emotional intelligence, delivering a lecture, interviewing, contracting and negotiation, leadership and philanthropy.
Notable alumni of the Nemours Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery Clinical Fellowship have shaped our national and international Pediatric Orthopedic community, and include: Alvin Crawford, William Bunnell, Robert Hensinger, James Kasser, James Beaty, Robert Campbell, In Ho Choi, Freeman Miller, Randall Betz, Patricia Fucs, John “Jack” Flynn, William Mackenzie and Suken Shah.
Awards & Recognition
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is ranked among the best in orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report's Best Children's Hospitals in 2019-2020.