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Rheumatology Fellowship Program

Welcome! We are pleased you are considering the rheumatology fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago. The mission of our program is to develop outstanding rheumatologists qualified to independently practice rheumatology at the highest level of competence and to be leaders in their arena. The University of Illinois Rheumatology fellowship is a 2 year ACGME-accredited program that follows benchmarks promulgated by the American College of Rheumatology.

Training sites are the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics (UI Health) and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, which is only one block from UIC. We are located on the near west side of Chicago operating in one of the largest medical schools and post graduate programs in the nation.

Our program offers comprehensive rheumatology training with a combination of didactic teaching and individual mentoring, seminars, conferences, and extensive “hands on” experience in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. The program is led by a distinguished faculty with expertise in general rheumatology and specific rheumatologic diseases. Dr. Nadera Sweiss is director of the Sarcoidosis Translational Advanced Research (STAR) Center where highly specialized and personalized medical care is provided for this unique patient population. Our strong record in Scleroderma research is supported by Dr. Shiva Arami.

Our research team is also interested in pursuing translational research in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Dr. Shiva Shahrara’s lab focuses on identifying the mechanisms by which effector macrophages and T cells contribute to RA joint inflammation and bone erosion. They also utilize human samples and preclinical models to find novel targets for RA treatment and to predict RA patient response to biological therapies.

Another project, Fit and Strong, is underway, with Dr Tina Chang as the lead rheumatologist, which is focused on improving mental and physical functioning in the elderly population. These areas of research interest provide plenty of opportunity for research, both in clinical and in basic science.

Additionally, we provide musculoskeletal ultrasound education at both training sites. This is led by Dr Al-Awqati and follows ACR/USSONAR course guidelines.

Lastly, dealing with a diverse patient population with the good balance of common and very rare rheumatologic conditions helps our fellows mature into clinically well-rounded rheumatologists. This is an exciting time in rheumatology, where fast-paced “bench to bedside” research offers new diagnostic tests, procedures and biologic therapies that are quickly adopted by the UIC Rheumatology team. We are glad you are considering joining our program.


Mission/Goals Heading link

To provide a progressive and structured learning experience in the evaluation, assessment, and management of patients with the broad spectrum of rheumatic diseases and the appropriate use of ancillary services. To enable the Subspecialty Resident to display clinical competence in a variety of settings, the procedures peculiar to rheumatology will also be taught. To produce physicians who understand the role of research in advancing the practice of medicine, and possess habits of life-long learning. This mission will be accomplished through a combination of didactic teaching and individual mentoring, seminars, conferences, and extensive “hands on” experience in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. The trainee is expected to be a highly active participant in the process.

Rheumatology Fellowship Curriculum Heading link

Our patient base provides exposure to basic and complex rheumatologic diseases, both at UI Health and Jesse Brown VA. Our fellows are well prepared to evaluate and manage all aspects of rheumatologic disorders in outpatient and inpatient settings. Our fellows have the opportunity to rotate with Pediatric Rheumatology at UI Health.  This experience is invaluable and allows them to receive remarkable training in all aspects of Rheumatology.

Our program provides training and exposure that allows our graduates to be competent and familiar with rheumatologic and autoimmune disorders, diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions.  We provide training in ultrasound, and we offer electives in various subspecialties including, but not limited to physical medicine, rehabilitation, pediatric rheumatology, electromyography, interstitial lung disease, allergy immunology and orthopedics.  Our rheumatology pass rate is 100 percent for the past five years.

Fellows take call from home, with flexible weekend coverage.  There is also a faculty member on call 24 hours a day who supports the fellows and evaluate all inpatient consults with the fellow.

Evaluations are performed on regulator basis and after each rotation.

Outpatient Clinics

The division operates a busy outpatient clinic at UI Health and other satellite locations.  We have subspecialty clinics in sarcoidosis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory eye disease, scleroderma and myositis.

Inpatient Consultation Service

One fellow is supervised by one faculty along with rotating house staff.  We manage patients at UI Health and Jesse Brown VA.  The inpatient consult service serves patients with multiple rheumatologic disorders with high complexity.  The weekend or holiday calls are shared by fellows and faculty as there is always a fellow and faculty on call for 24 hours.
On average, fellows rotate through the hospital consult service three months per year.

Research Opportunities

The basic and translation research lab in rheumatoid arthritis provides research and academic opportunities. The Clinical Trials Unit of the division provide exposure to phase I and phase II clinical trials.  There are opportunities to participate in various research projects in rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory eye disease, scleroderma and myositis.  There is opportunity to do scholarly work, quality improvement projects and participate in various committees.


Grand Round and Conferences are held weekly on Wednesday afternoon from 1:30pm – 3:30pm.  There are joint conferences also with Rush University once a month.

Contact Information Heading link