Pediatrics Residency Program offers a choice of five pathways for residents

Every year in July, 16 new physician trainees enter the University of Wisconsin Pediatrics Residency Program. They all know and expect that the next three years of courses and rotations through a wide range of pediatric specialties will be rigorous and fully engaging: the program is carefully planned. Beyond that plan, however, new residents have numerous choices to shape and guide their experience to best prepare them for their individual careers and interests.

One structured way in which the Pediatrics Residency Program offers residents an individualized approach is through enrolling in one of five optional pathways. Pathways develop and support residents’ personal interests and career goals.

Daniel Sklansky, MD, associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care, is also the residency program director. “The pathways increase the ability of residents to individualize their training in areas that are intentionally and structurally supported by a community of faculty mentors,” Sklansky explained, “while forming a community of like-minded learners within that interest.”

The Global Health Track has been an option for residents since 2010. Three more were added in the last four years. The fifth, the physician-scientist training pathway, was most recently added in 2022, through the efforts and support of Emma Mohr, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

There is some flexibility for residents in choosing their pathways. “Residents apply to pathways right after the match,” Sklansky said, “but we allow residents to join pathways during their intern years at any time, except that global health residents must join in time to complete a fundamentals course. Residents can join up to two pathways or may choose not to participate in a pathway. These are structured additions to the residency experience and not required.”

Sklansky noted that although the pediatric residency program here is medium-sized, the health care network is large. This creates a close-knit group feeling for residents while they are exposed to all specialties and conditions.

“We are also connected to a huge research university, affording our residents incredible opportunities to collaborate across the university in science, education, communication, humanities, business, and other fields,” Sklansky explained. “The culture here, with such great connections among faculty and learners of all levels, leads to a sense of community and intellectual safety that bolsters learning and collaboration. We are unique in the breadth and individualization offered.”

The current pathways available to residents are these:

Global Health
The Pediatrics Residency Program’s focus on child global health and advocacy led to the launch of the Global Health Track in 2010–2011. The three-year longitudinal Global Health Track for pediatric residents is designed to foster personal growth while teaching topics and providing tools that will serve them in their careers. Residents have the opportunity to engage in local global experiences in addition to international and domestic rotations in a variety of locations that emphasize ethical and sustainable partnerships.

Pediatric Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Pathway
This optional pathway provides pediatric doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO) residents a structured mechanism to maintain and grow skills in osteopathic manipulative medicine while completing the requirements of pediatric residency training.

The three-year longitudinal pathway operates in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Involvement begins in the PGY-1 year with group sessions and statewide conferences. It intensifies during the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years with scheduled osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic time.

Primary Care in Pediatrics
This longitudinal three-year pathway is for those considering a career in outpatient primary care. Residents receive a bolstered experience in general pediatrics through mentorship, intensified continuity clinic exposure, individualized learning opportunities, and participation in quality improvement/scholarship with a primary care focus. They also meet with pediatricians in the community, inside and outside of the academic workforce.

Producing Understanding in Basics of Literature, Inquiry, and Scholarship in Healthcare (PUBLISH) is a longitudinal, three-year pathway promoting scholarship during residency through an intentional curriculum, group work, shared experience, and mentorship. Residents will be paired with a core PUBLISH mentor who will work with the resident on a defined research project within the mentor’s scope of expertise. The goal is to develop the resident’s competence and confidence in producing scholarly work.

Physician-Scientist Training Pathway
The goal of the Physician-Scientist Training Pathway is to train the next generation of pediatric physician-scientists in new approaches to improve child health. Residents who are already highly experienced in research apply during their intern year and obtain approval from the American Board of Pediatrics to have a truncated clinical experience, with 10 blocks (four weeks each) dedicated to research during the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years. It follows the Integrated Research Pathway offered by the American Board of Pediatrics. The pathway offers many benefits and opportunities, including research time, engagement in a mentor network, mentored grant writing, and development of research and communications skills, to name a few.