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Pediatrics PSTP

The McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University pediatric residency program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago wants to recruit residents with MD-PhD degrees or otherwise have unique experiences that indicate a strong commitment to a career in research. The Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) experience is designed to facilitate the development of accepted candidates into academic clinician-investigators.

current & past scholars learn about pediatrics research

Program Details

 Elements & Milestones by Year

The standard pediatric residency-fellowship sequence lasts six years. Acceptance into the Pediatric PSTP includes the offer of a guaranteed fellowship position in the PSTP scholar's subspecialty of choice, contingent upon maintenance of satisfactory progress in the residency program. We are committed to working with the prospective resident to develop a schedule that supports their career aspirations, including the possibility of fast-tracking residency training or adding an additional research year at the end of fellowship.

Year Elements Milestones

Year 1

  • Career mentor
  • Clinical rotations
  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Scholar Research Day dinner
  • Support for books and travel
  • Interviews with potential labs/mentors
  • Subsequent training course determined (two or three years)
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Commit to lab/mentor by February
  • Alternative training plan submitted to board by March
  • Spring match entered, if relevant

Year 2

  • Clinical rotations
  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Scholar Research Day dinner
  • Support for books and travel
  • Conduct Research Morning Report
  • Consider research review article (may be hard to do as an intern)
STANDARD TRACK
  • Commit to lab/mentor by October
  • Spring match entered, if relevant
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Fall match entered, if relevant

Year 3

  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Scholar Research Day dinner
  • Support for books and travel
  • Conduct Research Morning Report
STANDARD TRACK
  • Third-year resident leadership and research training
  • Grant-writing collaborative for F32 (second half of year)
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • First-year clinical fellow
STANDARD TRACK
  • Fall match entered, if relevant
  • Begin work in lab
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Major portion of clinical subspecialty training

Year 4

  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Scholar Research Day dinner
  • $10,000 salary support
STANDARD TRACK
  • First-year clinical fellow
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Fellowship research-emphasis
  • Grant-writing collaborative for F32 (first half of year)
  • F32 proposal submitted early in year
STANDARD TRACK
  • Major portion of clinical subspecialty training
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Begin work in lab

Year 5

  • Fellowship research emphasis
  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Research Scholar's Day Dinner
  • $10,000 salary support
  • Direct research blitz (division presentations to residents)
  • Manuscript submitted by year-end

Year 6

  • PSTP monthly scholars lunch
  • Research Scholar's Day Dinner
  • $10,000 salary support
  • K Grant–writing collaborative
  • Leadership training course
STANDARD TRACK
  • Fellowship research emphasis
INTEGRATED TRACK
  • Research year
  • Submit K proposal

 Program Structure

The standard pediatric residency-fellowship sequence lasts six years. Acceptance into the Pediatric PSTP includes the offer of a guaranteed fellowship position in the scholar's subspecialty of choice, if desired. This is contingent upon maintenance of satisfactory progress in the residency program. We are committed to working with prospective residents to develop schedules that support their career aspirations, including the possibility of fast-tracking residency training and/or adding an additional research year at the end of fellowship.

Several training pathways (PDF) are supported by the Lurie Children’s PSTP, with these goals:

  • Developing excellent clinical skills as residents caring for a diverse patient population in a strongly committed training environment
  • Initiating a trajectory that leads to a career as an independent pediatric investigator

We recommend following either of these pathways:

Accelerated/Integrated Pathway

This pathway decreases the length of standard Pediatrics and subspecialty training by one year. After two years of residency, the scholar’s third year is one of clinical subspecialty fellowship training, followed by two years of research training with some continuity of clinical experience. The scholar may choose to pursue a third year of research as a hybrid between fellowship and faculty status, with very minimal clinical responsibilities, during which time additional publications may be developed or a K-award application is written.

Research-Emphasis Residency

In this pathway, the scholar completes three years of residency prior to entering fellowship, but at least half of the third year is spent in research. Although this prolongs the duration of residency/fellowship, it offers the opportunity to enter the laboratory earlier or to rotate through more than one lab if the scholar is undecided about which lab to enter. 

 Guidance & Support

Each participant in the PSTP will receive guidance from two members of the faculty. Upon joining the program, scholars are linked with a career mentor who serves as a sounding board for decisions involving program structure, choice of a research mentor and long-term career issues. The research mentor is chosen after the scholar determines the ideal research environment for career development. This can occur at any time during the first several years in the program. Trainees may work with any research program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

During residency and fellowship training, scholars are supported with supplemental funds for books, journals and travel to conferences. Additional support is available for some laboratory expenses.

 Application Process

Applicants should apply to the Categorical Pediatrics Training Program of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University through ERAS. In addition to their application through ERAS, applicants should submit the Pediatric PSTP Application. If not already included in ERAS, applicants should also submit a letter of recommendation from their principal research mentor and one additional letter from an individual familiar with their research potential.

Whenever possible, potential applicants will be interviewed on dedicated days in conjunction with the medical school-wide PSTP program. On one day, candidates will meet with clinical faculty. On the next, they'll meet with potential mentors and with subspecialty division faculty if they have declared a future subspecialty interest. Acceptance into the program will be via the National Resident Matching Program and will be based on commitment to and potential for a career in academic medicine as a physician-scientist.

Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.

 Benefits

As a PSTP scholar, you will be assigned a career mentor at the beginning of your residency. The career mentor and PSTP director will work with you to identify a research mentor as soon as possible.

In collaboration with the residency program director, you'll design a residency and fellowship program track to fulfill your needs.

Scholars are guaranteed positions in the fellowships of their choice, assuming they remain in good standing as a resident and their application is submitted at the same time others in their postgraduate year would be applying for a similar fellowship. You won't be required to make a commitment to remain at Feinberg as a fellow, but you will be held to such a commitment once it is made.

You'll also have the opportunity to accelerate your training by completing residency in two years or to spend concentrated elective time in third residency year working in a lab.

Yearly benefits include:

  • Year 1: Assigned a career mentor; up to $4,000 for books and travel
  • Year 2: Up to $4,000 for books and travel
  • Year 3: As a resident, up to $4,000 for books and travel; if fast-tracking, clinical subspecialty training emphasis
  • Fellowship Years (PGY-3 or -4, depending upon track): Up to $4,000 for books and travel; $10,000 per year for laboratory expenses (may be "banked" during early fellowship years and used later); $10,000 in salary supplement, if active and productive in a laboratory
  • Potential Research Year: The department will consider the option of a fourth year as a fellow to spend virtually entirely in research

Contact Us

Sharon M. Unti, MD

Pediatric Residency Program Director
Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care
View Faculty Profile