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Curriculum: Didactics

The Rheumatology curriculum includes didactics which consist of weekly rheumatology conferences (journal club, research, core curriculum, case-based sessions, radiology, interdisciplinary conferences, and patient safety).

We have a monthly musculoskeletal radiology session with a MSK radiologist. We have hands on workshops to teach specialized skills including MSK exam, joint injection using simulators, MSK ultrasound, crystal analysis, and capillary microscopy.

There is a monthly interdisciplinary ILD conference with pulmonary, radiology, and pathology to review the management of complex rheumatic disease patients with pulmonary involvement.

Our interdisciplinary conference with endocrinology occurs quarterly. We review cases and discuss assorted topics in Osteoporosis and metabolic bone disorders. The following independent studies have been designed to foster the skill of self-directed learning in 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, resident conferences, and local and national meetings.

DXA Independent Study

The purpose of the DXA Independent Study is to provide the materials and resources to become competent in performing basic interpretation of DXA studies. This experience also provides the trainee with the resources to explore the path for certification 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 trainee to build on the basic ultrasound knowledge and skills gained from the mandatory ultrasound workshops that are part of the core curriculum. The experience also provides the trainee with the resources to potentially explore becoming certified in MSK ultrasound.

Ortho Rehab Pain Management Independent Study

During this experience the trainee 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, necessary to complete a relevant QI project. The experience 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 for all fellows.

Pathology Independent Study

The purpose of the Pathology Independent Study is to provide the resources for the trainee to further explore the pathology of the rheumatic diseases. Opportunities include practice with the polarizing microscope for crystal analysis, use of the stereoscope for more in depth study of nailfold capillary microscopy, and coordination with VA and TGH pathologists for additional learning experiences.

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.