Endocrinology and Diabetes | Fellowship | Fellow’s Welcome
Pediatric Endocrinology Fellows
Thanks for taking the time to look at our fellowship program! It’s really hard to describe our fellowship program without discussing my own personal experiences as a fellow here at Washington University. I hope that you find this helpful!
As a graduate of a residency program outside of Washington University (Medical College of Wisconsin), I was really surprised by the opportunities that our program has to offer. From a clinical standpoint, one of my favorite things is that we start our own continuity clinics from the first week of fellowship. In residency I always felt that my role was more in the background. I was always doing care coordination rather than totally running the show. However during fellowship, the majority of my patients view me as their primary endocrinologist. Even at the very start, I was given a lot of autonomy to create and follow up on management plans. I have found this aspect to be really rewarding. Now that I am a senior fellow, I have worked to establish a really good panel of patients that see me as their doctor. It has been amazing to follow these kids over time, and has been a great learning experience.
Coming to a large academic institution like Washington University, I was worried that there would be a preponderance of patients with really rare and esoteric diseases. It is definitely true that we have a lot of really interesting patients. (Examples of rare diagnoses that I have made in the last two years include complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, monogenic diabetes type 3, testicular regression syndrome, pheochromocytoma, growth hormone excess, and pituitary apoplexy!) However, I have also become very comfortable managing common endocrine complaints and conditions which we see all the time. Talking with some of my colleagues at other programs around the country, this isn’t true everywhere you go.
Coming into fellowship, I didn’t see research as a central goal of my career; however, Washington University drastically changed my mind. What is hard to see by just looking at the website, is that there is a lot of really interesting pediatric oriented research going on outside of the department of pediatrics. Dr. Hruz (the division director) really has an amazing knack for matching fellows with mentors who not only fit their research interests, but also are a good fit from a personality standpoint. Dr. Urano, in the department of internal medicine, has been my research mentor since the beginning of fellowship. He has turned out to be an inspiring force for me professionally and personally. I consider him to be one of my closest friends at the University.
As part of our fellowship program all fellows are required to submit a grant application. To fulfill this requirement, I applied for the research fellowship award through the Pediatric Endocrine Society. This is a fairly competitive award only given to three fellows per year. Fortunately, my grant was reviewed very favorably, and I received the award! A big part of my favorable review had to do with my research training, strong mentorship, and the positive way in which reviewers view the environment at Washington University. After I submitted this grant, all of a sudden important people in endocrinology started to recognize my name. People even approached me at national meetings wanting to talk to me about my grant. People were even approaching me about faculty positions that were available at other institutions!
When going to these national meetings to present my research, I really appreciated how much the program prepared me to be more comfortable giving talks and poster presentations. As fellows we give two research presentations every year, and another more formal “Early in Research Talk” as a second year fellow. There is also poster session for both adult and pediatric diabetes research, and a spring pediatric research retreat. I found that all of the pediatric faculty members have taken a strong interest in my success. Therefore they usually provide really constructive feedback and help me practice my PowerPoints and posters. When it came time to be on the “big stage” at PAS and ADA last year, it was much less nerve racking knowing that I had that experience to fall back on.
Coming from a big city (Chicago), I had my reservations about moving to a smaller sized Midwest town. However, my family has found St. Louis to be a vibrant and fun city. In particular, it has been a great place to raise my kids, with many family oriented activities to enjoy all year long. In general, the weather is relatively mild by my standards. Therefore, we often take our kids out and explore different parks and splash pads throughout the suburbs. We also enjoy taking them to the children’s museum, the amazing public zoo, and science center.
I definitely feel that your experience in fellowship will be what you make of it. However, I really feel that Washington University is really preparing me well to take the next steps in my career.
Stephen (Steve) Stone, MD
3rd Year Fellow