Educational Curriculum

The subspecialty of rheumatology includes a wide array of autoimmune, inflammatory and noninflammatory conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and other organ systems. The purpose of our rheumatology training program is to (1) train fellows to be accomplished practitioners and consultants in the rheumatic diseases and to (2) encourage the professional and scholarly attitudes and approaches of a competent subspecialist that are needed to maintain an understanding of current concepts in rheumatology as advances occur. Our fellows are guided in the clinical science of rheumatology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), the teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), New Brunswick, New Jersey. Clinical training spans two years, during which time fellows participate in the diagnosis and management of patients with a wide variety of rheumatic diseases and other diseases with rheumatologic manifestations. Fellows become part of a team of residents and students headed by full-time faculty who supervise the practical aspects of patient care and provide didactic teaching in the scientific disciplines that underlie the clinical practice of rheumatology.

In addition to the inpatient rheumatology consult service at RWJUH, fellows attend selected outpatient clinics throughout their training. Outpatient clinics include a scleroderma clinic and three to four general rheumatology clinics each week. The senior fellow rotates off-site for three months in the following specialties: orthopedics, pediatric rheumatology, musculoskeletal radiology, rehabilitation medicine and an ultrasound elective with a rheumatologist in private practice. Additionally, the fellows work with RWJMS faculty, who perform ultrasound imaging regularly in clinic.

All fellows are required to perform arthrocentesis during their training. They are exposed to the methods and interpretation of laboratory tests commonly used by rheumatologists, including antinuclear antibody; antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody and antiphospholipid antibody testing; rheumatoid factor; Lyme disease serology; connective tissue disease and myopathy panels; and synovial fluid analysis. Polarized light microscopy is easily accessible in both the inpatient and outpatient areas.