The primary goal of our program is to produce excellent rheumatologists who will become leaders in academics and community practice. Clinical training opportunities exist at three separate hospitals: the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, and the Denver VA Medical Center, exposing our trainees to a broad array of inflammatory and non-inflammatory rheumatic conditions. In addition to continuity clinic experience and inpatient consultative work, our trainees are offered subspecialty training in several additional fields such as musculoskeletal ultrasound, connective tissue disease associated lung disease, metabolic bone disease, and inflammatory eye disease among others.
Our program offers a two-year clinical fellowship designed to prepare individuals for the practice of rheumatology. In addition, the Fellowship offers a three-year combined clinical and research fellowship in preparation for an academic career as either a basic or clinical investigator. Fellows spend time working at Denver Health, UCHealth and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of the Rocky Mountains.
The fellowship training program is headed by Dr. Jason Kolfenbach. Dr. Kolfenbach served as an assistant program director from 2012-2015, before assuming the primary leadership role in the program in 2015. Dr. Kolfenbach’s expertise is in clinical education as well as patient care and research activities focused on the field of inflammatory eye disease. He is the co-editor of the popular textbook Rheumatology Secrets, and was recently awarded the Rheumatology Research Foundation’s Clinician Scholar Educator Award to develop curriculum and assessment tools for telehealth technology and additional models of physician outreach. Dr. Sterling West, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, previously guided the University of Colorado program for 20 years (1995-2015) following a long tenure as program director of the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center Rheumatology Program (1985-1995), and continues to serve as a mentor to Dr. Kolfenbach and an integral part of the training program.
Our faculty includes numerous clinician educators who have been honored both locally and nationally for their excellence in teaching and clinical care (including Dr. Sterling West, who was given the Distinguished Program Director Award from the ACR in 2016). The core faculty in the teaching program offer expertise in quality improvement (Dr. Elena Weinstein), musculoskeletal ultrasound (Drs. Mila Kastsianok and Melissa Griffith), medical student and resident education (Drs. JoAnn Zell and Jennifer Stichman) and educational research (Dr. Jason Kolfenbach).
Our faculty also carries out a broad range of exceptional research, which enriches the educational program of our trainees. Examples of the wide array of opportunities that are available to our fellows include:
Further information regarding the research interests of our faculty and potential opportunities for fellow involvement can be found on the Research Trainee page.
We participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Please visit the ERAS website for information on applying through ERAS. NOTE: All fellows will participate in some scholastic/research activities, as required by the ACGME. However, when selecting our program within the ERAS application, PLEASE SELECT THE RESEARCH TRACK AS YOUR TRAINING TRACK ONLY IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE ACADEMIC 3 YEAR FELLOWSHIP, RATHER THAN THE 2 YEAR POSITION.
We also participate in the National Resident Matching Program’s (NRMP) subsection for internal medicine subspecialties called the Medical Specialties Matching Program (MSMP). The match is conducted in December of the year preceding the fellowship start-date, and the fellowship applicants will be notified of acceptance then (for example, applicants will be notified in December 2019 for fellowship starting July 2020).
Application deadline: We begin accepting applications for Fellowship through the ERAS system from July to October for a Fellowship start-date the following academic year. For example, we accept applications from July to October 2019 for Fellowship start-date July 2020.
Please check the ERAS system for specific details regarding application deadlines.
Fellows in our program must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, refugee, asylee, or possess the appropriate documentation to allow Fellow to legally train at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
First Year: Both the clinical and research fellowship are the same with clinical rotations at the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Veterans Administration Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, and The Children’s Hospital (pediatric rheumatology). Individuals in the clinical fellowship will have similar rotations in the second year with some time available in both years to devote to clinical research projects.
Second and Third Year: Individuals in the research fellowship will continue one outpatient continuity clinic weekly but will spend 80% of their time involved in either laboratory research training or in clinical research training. Each research trainee will arrange to work with one of the faculty members by discussion and mutual agreement on a specific project. In addition, each research fellow may take additional course instruction in statistics, epidemiology, grant writing and other subjects designed for fellows interested in a career in research and academic medicine. These courses can be applied to a certificate program, Masters degree, or PhD, and are offered through the Clinical Science Program as well as the School of Public Health.
There are conferences every week through the academic year. These include Rheumatology/Immunology Grand Rounds, Journal Club, and Problem Case Conferences. In addition, a Research Conference, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training Conference and a Radiology Conference are each held once a month, and an Immunology/Pathophysiology Conference is held three times a month. There are also specialty conferences in Orthopedics, Rehabilitation, Clinical Trial Design, Statistical Analyses held every other month. Please review the other documents summarizing the specifics of the fellowship on this website.