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Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Curriculum

Find out what you can expect to learn as a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellow.

Curriculum Overview Heading link

This fully accredited, three-year fellowship training program offers a comprehensive clinical experience with outstanding academic instruction and extensive opportunities for research. Physicians completing our three-year fellowship are well prepared to assume positions in Neonatal-Perinatal practice; pursue research; and effectively advocate for neonates.

Fellows who come with a background and experience in research may choose to follow the specialized Research Track, which provides additional protected research time and the option to stay on for an additional one or two years, supported by a Research Fellowship Grant, to develop the foundation for building a career as an independent investigator.

First year (program year four)

During the first year, fellows are taught the physiologic principles of the clinical diagnosis and management of neonates. Fellows participate in a specialized Developmental Care curriculum to learn about the standards and protocols for effectively treating the developmental needs of neonates. Beginning with the first year and continuing throughout the program, fellows participate in NICU Rounds, Pediatric Grand Rounds, Multi-Disciplinary Rounds, and a variety of academic conferences including: Didactic Lectures, Fellow’s Journal Club, Neonatal-Perinatal Case Conference, OB/NEO Case Conference, and M&M Case Conference.

First-year fellows participate in our High Risk Follow-Up clinic, however, most of a first-year fellow’s clinical time will be spent in NICU care, participating in rounds, conducting neonatal transports, and developing their interpersonal communication skills in dealing with peers and parents under stressful circumstances. First-year fellows take on increasing responsibility for conducting weekly neonatal-perinatal rounds.

Second year (program year five)

During the second year of the fellowship, clinical diagnosis skills are refined as the PGY5 Fellow takes on the role of teacher and neonatal consultant for the entire nursery service (NICU, High Risk and Developmental Follow-Up Clinic, OB discussions, etc.). Second year fellows will instruct and supervise first-year fellows and house officers, demonstrating proper management of high-risk situations, transports, and fetal monitoring.

Third year (program year six)

Third-year fellows are expected to demonstrate their leadership skills in the NICU and some may take on responsibilities of junior faculty members.

Research Heading link

Research is an integral part of the fellowship program. The primary focus is to train successful academic neonatologists for a career as independent investigators. Subspecialty fellows are provided with in-depth training in the performance of meaningful research. They receive guidance from a Research Mentor and are given direct hands-on supervision in the laboratory by a number of secondary mentors. It is our mission to provide our fellows with all the necessary training for interested individuals to develop into successful, independently funded investigators in both basic science and clinical research.

Fellows are instructed in the scientific and ethical basis of clinical research, including study design, modeling and methodology, statistical concepts, and data collection and analysis. In addition, they are given guidance in the critical evaluation of pertinent medical literature, the process of grant application, preparation of scientific articles, and medical writing. These goals are met via direct guidance from research mentors, presenting their data in research seminars and preparing reports of their research activities. These efforts are reviewed and evaluated by supervising faculty.

Review of scholarly activity occurs annually for each fellow by the Scholarship Oversight Committee. This Committee is responsible for overseeing and assessing the progress of each fellow and verifying to the American Board of Pediatrics that the requirement for scholarly activity has been met. Further details regarding basic science research can be found on the UIC research website and on the pediatrics research webpage.

This degree is offered to fellows free of charge

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers tuition-free waivers to fellows who wish to fulfill their Scholastic Research requirement by pursuing a specialized masters degree. Fellows who choose this option will be assigned a Research Mentor who will provide guidance and tutorship, in regard to the chosen research project. Fellows will present their research progress at Scholarship Oversight Committee meetings, on an annual basis. After completing his/her masters research paper, the fellow will present and defend his completed research project at a final Scholarship Oversight Committee meeting. Further details regarding these courses can be found at

First-year Fellows are provided with 25% protected research time. During the first year, fellows will identify a primary research mentor, who will work closely with him/her, demonstrating proper research methodologies and protocols. By the end of the first year, fellows are expected to master basic research skills and may have some actual data to present at research meetings.

Second-year fellows are given the increasing autonomy to identify and execute their own research projects. During the second year, fellows are provided with 50% protected research time and are given frequent opportunities to present their data and critique presentations of others. During the second year, fellows are strongly encouraged to present their work at regional and/or national scientific meetings.

Third-year fellows are provided with 75% protected research time and there is sufficient time to complete various manuscripts and to publish their work, when appropriate.

This information is for the research track only

Those with the desire and demonstrated aptitude for becoming academic neonatologists and independent investigators are encouraged to stay on for an additional one or two years, funded by a Research Fellowship Grant, to further hone their expertise as independent investigators. Fellows who choose this track will be provided with three (3) additional months of protected research time, during years four and five.