Endocrinology and Diabetes | Fellowship | Fellow’s Welcome

Pediatric Endocrinology Fellows

Welcome to the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes!

First of all, congratulations on choosing a career in Pediatric Endocrinology! Fellowship training varies greatly among institutions, which can make choosing a program difficult and confusing. Those of us in fellowship certainly remember how daunting the selection process was! As such, we would like to provide you with some insight into the unique aspects of this program, using our personal experience as an inside look into what the training experience at Washington University in St. Louis is all about.

One of the most regarded features of the program is that each fellow is assigned their own continuity clinic sessions beginning in the first month of training. Developing personal continuity as an endocrine provider during training is invaluable; it allows fellows to cultivate meaningful and long-lasting relationships with patients, explore and manage endocrinopathies over the course of their natural history, and fosters skills in autonomy towards eventual clinical independence. From the simple to the complex, the variety of personal and shared patient experiences has been rich. We value the trust and confidence of our patients and their families in allowing us to take ownership of their medical care. Additionally, we are provided opportunities to rotate through a variety of subspecialty clinics both within St Louis Children’s Hospital (e.g. Transgender, DSD, Turner’s Syndrome) and at other institutions such as the Metabolic Bone Disease clinic at Shriner’s Hospital.

Another unique aspect of the program is the interwoven collaboration with the adult endocrine division through weekly inter-disciplinary conference. This half-day of protected time is devoted to clinical inquiry and education, and provides an opportunity to develop both working and friendly relationships with the adult endocrinology fellows and faculty. It is also a chance to obtain insight into aspects of endocrinology we may not otherwise be exposed to within pediatrics and provides an excellent resource for clinical insight and collaborative thinking. This long-standing relationship also allows for development of formal partnerships between members of the two divisions. In addition to these didactic and case-based educational sessions, we also have opportunities for informal scholarly interactions with a monthly journal club held over happy hour.

The fellowship can be tailored to an individual’s career path, such as focus placed on an area of interest or time reserved primarily for research - basic science, translational, or clinical with opportunities for multi-disciplinary mentorship. Kyle has been engaged in protected research with Dr. Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, an adult endocrinologist and physician-scientist, looking into the effect of prenatal vitamin D supplementation on offspring metabolic parameters. Jen has had protected research time devoted to understanding ß-cell physiology in neonatal diabetes and congenital hyperinsulinism, under the guidance of Dr. Colin Nichols, a basic science researcher and innovator in the area of ß-cell physiology from the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology, and Dr. Maria Remedi from the Department of Internal Medicine, who has been successful in the area of islet cell biology and immunology. Thanks to this scientifically rich and supportive environment, we have successfully garnered intramural and extramural grant funding to support these efforts.

In addition to local collaborations and involvement, fellows are also supported when pursuing opportunities to expand beyond the walls of the hospital, and are afforded both protected time and a healthy annual stipend to do so. During fellowship, we have attended and presented research at the regional and national level, including annual meetings of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, The Endocrine Society, and the Midwest Islet Club. We have both benefited from participating in educational programming specific to endocrine fellows within national organizations. We also have the opportunity to engage in various community outreach and advocacy events such as the local ADA sponsored diabetes camp, school nurse educational sessions on diabetes, and diabetes support group for patients and their families. These experiences allow for a more rich and fulfilling fellowship experience, development of a professional network, and growth on both the personal and professional levels.

We hope that you have found this helpful and now have a somewhat better understanding of the program. Please feel free to contact us or any of the other fellows with any questions you may have…we would love to hear from you!

Best wishes during this process, and we hope to see you in St. Louis!
-Jen Ikle and Kyle McNerney

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