Division of Rheumatology

Curriculum: Clinical

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The program utilizes three ambulatory sites: USF Morsani Center, James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital (VA), and Health Park Clinic. The program also utilizes two inpatient sites: Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital. These centers provide unique and complementary educational experiences, offering the opportunity to learn to manage the vast spectrum of rheumatic diseases in different clinical settings.

During Year 1, the trainee participates in 1 half-day at the USF Morsani Center Continuity Clinic, 2 half-days at the VA hospital clinics, and 1 half-day at Health Park Clinic. The trainee serves on the inpatient consult service at TGH for 4 months and at James A. Haley VA for 3 months out of the academic year. The half-days which the trainee is not in clinic or participating in consults, are dedicated to Research and Independent Study Modules.

During Year 2, the trainee participates in 1 half-day at the USF Morsani Center Continuity Clinic, 2 half-days at the VA hospital clinics, and 1 half-day at Health Park Clinic. The trainee serves on the inpatient consult service at TGH for 2 months and at James A. Haley VA for 3 months out of the academic year. The half-days which the trainee is not in clinic or participating in consults, are dedicated to Research and Independent Study Modules.


James A. Haley VA is a tertiary care facility classified as a Clinical Referral Level 1 Facility. JAHVH is a teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research. The Rheumatology fellows rotate on the inpatient teaching consult service, and see approximately 4-5 consults weekly when serving as the primary consult fellow. The backup fellow on the service assists when the consult load necessitates. First year fellows rotate on the inpatient consult service 4 months per year as primary fellow, and second year fellows 3 months per year as primary. One key clinical faculty member is assigned as the site director, and reports to the program director. Call schedule for nights and weekends is overseen by the program director. The program director, and coordinator maintain the scope of practice, program letter of agreement, order writing policies, and additional fellow supervision policies for the rotation at this site. The program director, and key clinical faculty member rotate supervision of the fellows on the consult service. The rheumatology consults seen at the VA complement the inpatient experience at TGH, and allow the fellows to develop their expertise in managing both common, and the more complex rheumatologic disorders, in patients with multiple comorbidities making the management challenging. The patient population is 75% male, presenting a different spectrum than the diseases seen at TGH, where the male, female population is more reflective of the ratio of male and female patients seen in a typical rheumatology practice. The fellows follow the patient they see in the inpatient setting into their outpatient VA clinics providing an outstanding continuity experience. The fellows have 2 half day clinics at the VA where they follow their patients throughout the 2-year fellowship. The fellows see approximately 8 patients in a half day clinic. The clinic experience complements that seen in the other outpatient clinics. Due to the predominantly male population the fellows see the rheumatic diseases more strongly represented in males including; gout, Spondyloarthropathies, traumatic OA, and localized pain syndromes (i.e. bursitis). The fellows have the opportunity to focus on skills of joint injection, and aspiration, due to the significant referrals for joint injection. The fellows QI projects are often accomplished at this site due to the strong IT department who assists in data collection. The independent study experiences including; Rehab, ortho., pain management, DXA, ultrasound, Teaching, and Systems Based Practice are on site. The weekly rheumatology didactic conference is held at this site.


Tampa General Hospital (TGH) is a 1101 bed teaching hospital, that works in partnership with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. The Rheumatology fellows rotate on the inpatient teaching consult service, and see approximately 12-16 consults weekly when serving as the primary consult fellow. Year 1 fellows are primary for a total of 5 months and 2nd years are primary for a total of 2 months. The backup fellow on the service assists when the consult load necessitates. One key clinical faculty member is assigned as the site director, and reports to the program director. On nights and weekends, fellows are supervised by the key clinical faculty and the program director. The program director, and coordinator maintain the scope of practice, program letter of agreement, order writing policies, and additional fellow supervision policies for the rotation at this site. The program director and key clinical faculty member rotate supervision of the fellows on the consult service. The rheumatology consults seen at TGH encompass the entire spectrum of rheumatologic disorders and provide the fellow with the breadth of experience necessary to develop expertise in the management of highly complex and acute, presentations of rheumatic disease. The patient population is culturally, and socioeconomically diverse. A significant percentage of the patients are unfunded allowing for experience in challenging transitions of care to the outpatient setting with limited ability to access our expensive biologic agents. These patients are often followed in Health Park clinic by the fellows serving as an excellent continuity of care.


Specialty Center at HealthPark Clinic, run by TGH. The patients receive county funding, providing the experience of following patients with limited formularies. As mentioned in the TGH section, the fellows follow patients they cared for at TGH in this clinic, offering a unique, and very important experience of transitioning care from the inpatient to the outpatient setting. The patients seen represent the spectrum of rheumatic disease with a predominance of females. The patients often present with complications of their rheumatic disorders due to difficulty in establishing care due to financial barriers. There is a significant representation of Spanish speaking patients giving the fellows the additional practice of caring for patients through interpreters, or improving their medical Spanish. The fellows see approximately 8 patients in a half day clinic. One key clinical faculty member is assigned as the site director, and reports to the program director. The program director, and coordinator maintain the scope of practice, program letter of agreement, order writing policies, and additional fellow supervision policies for the rotation at this site. 2 fellows are in clinic during one half day a week for the duration of their fellowship. The clinic is supervised by one of the key clinical faculty members.


USF Health Clinics: North (Morsani) and South (STC)- The 2 USF Health center campuses are the site for the fellow’s continuity clinics. 2 fellow have their clinic in the North campus, and 2 fellows have their clinic in the South clinic. Of all of the outpatient experiences this is chosen as the continuity clinic as it has the distribution of patients (male: female, economic diversity), that most closely reflects that which would be seen in an outpatient rheumatology practice setting. The patients seen represent the full spectrum of rheumatic disease, complementing that seen at the other outpatient sites. Since the population is predominantly female, the fellows see significant numbers patients with Lupus, Scleroderma, Rheumatoid arthritis, and those additional rheumatic diseases more highly represented in females. One of the Key clinical faculty members has a vasculitis clinic drawing patients with systemic vasculitis. The centers do receive a significant number of tertiary referrals, however this is balanced by self-referrals, and referrals within the practice, and from local practitioners. The fellows see approximately 8 patients in a half day clinic. One key clinical faculty member is assigned as the site director, and reports to the program director. The program director, and coordinator maintain the scope of practice, program letter of agreement, order writing policies, and additional fellow supervision policies for the rotation at this site. Each fellow is supervised in the continuity clinic for the full 2 years by the program director, or one of the key clinical faculty members.