Curriculum: Didactics


The Rheumatology curriculum includes didactics which consist of weekly rheumatology conferences (journal club, research, core curriculum, case based sessions, radiology, interdisciplinary conferences, patient safety, and ethics). We have a monthly musculoskeletal radiology session with an MSK radiology expert. We also have MSK exam and joint injection workshops using simulators, ultrasound, crystal analysis, and capillary microscopy.

Further innovation in developing the skill of self-directed lifelong learning, we are developing independent study modules in the following areas to assist our trainees:

Independent Studies

  • Teaching Independent Study

    The purpose of the Teaching Independent Study is to provide resources in various formats to allow the rheumatology fellow to expand their teaching skills. This includes clinical teaching, supervision of medical students and junior trainees, and formal lecture-based teaching. The fellow should develop the skill to effectively present orally at conferences, including, but not limited to, rheumatology grand rounds, lay education, local and national meetings.


  • DXA Independent Study

    The purpose of the DXA Independent Study is to provide the materials and resources to be competent in performing basic interpretation of DXA studies. The study also provides the trainee with the resources to potentially explore becoming certified as a clinical bone densitometrist.


  • Ultrasound Independent Study

    The purpose of the Ultrasound Independent Study is to provide the resources and materials to allow the rheumatology fellow to develop an understanding and skill for the application of MSK ultrasound. The study also provides the trainee with the resources to potentially explore becoming certified in MSK ultrasound.


  • Ortho Rehab Pain Management Independent Study

    The purpose of this independent study is to enhance the learning of the clinical rotations. The fellow will be provided online resources, readings, materials, and a selection of clinical experiences to round out their education in the areas of orthopedics, rehabilitation, and pain management. The opportunities include shadowing PT, OT, rehab and pain management physicians, and general and subspecialty orthopedic surgeons (including observation of total joint arthroplasties or other relevant orthopedic procedures.)


  • Infusion Independent Study

    The purpose of the Infusion Independent Study is to complement the knowledge learned during the clinical rotations and coverage of the VA Infusion center. The fellow will be provided the resources to understand the management of infusions of the various agents used in the treatment of the rheumatic diseases, as well as managing infusion related complications and/or reactions. This is an essential part of the training of the rheumatology fellow since many of our newer biologic therapies are infusions.


  • Quality Improvement Independent Study

    The purpose of the QI Independent Study is to provide the rheumatology fellow with the resources, background knowledge, and protocol necessary to complete a relevant QI project. The program includes reading, online materials, rheumatology conference workshop, and examples of QI projects with steps outlined for the successful completion of a QI project. The fellow has the opportunity to participate in hospital committees focusing on quality management and patient safety. This participation is encouraged. The successful completion of a QI project is mandatory.

Online Resource

Canvas is the rheumatology division’s educational webpage. This site contains modules for all of the core curriculum content areas, independent study modules, articles required for fellowship reading, educational resources (including web links), and clinical resources.

Evaluation System

Electronic evaluation forms are used by the faculty as one of the ways to assess the fellows. These evaluations have been devised to assess the aspects of the ACGME’s Six Core Competencies: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism, Systems-Based Practice and Practice-Based Learning and Improvement. Fellows receive written and verbal feedback at the end of each rotation from the faculty preceptor and fellows are given the opportunity to review and ask questions.