Rheumatology Fellowship Program

Welcome from the Program Director

Dr. Syed [View Image]Our Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond sponsors a clinically strong rheumatology fellowship with excellent faculty support for teaching and clinical care. The Division grew out of the first arthritis clinic in Virginia nearly eighty years ago and now boasts a relatively large, ethnically diverse, full-time faculty. Our primary emphasis, the education of rheumatology fellows, is at the Division’s core. We will select two rheumatology fellow applicants to enter in July 2022.

Richmond is an outstanding location in which to live and work, a historical treasure chest. The region surrounding Richmond was colonized in the early 1600s, and Richmond was laid out in 1737 and became the state capital in 1780. The metropolitan area population is currently nearly 1.1 million, and has become increasingly more ethnically diverse.  Richmond is characterized by distinctive neighborhoods, such as the Fan, Oregon Hill, Scotts Addition, and Shockoe Bottom districts lying close to the University. The cultural attractions include outstanding museums for fine arts, children, and science as well as performing arts including traditional folk music, ballet, symphony, theatre, and opera. Richmond has also added a growing foodie scene with excellent restaurants and food festivals. Richmond is also home to outdoor activity lovers, having access to many hiking trails, bike trails, kayaking, and white water rafting.  In September 2015, Richmond hosted the pinnacle event for world cycling, the World Cycling Championships, with live attendance of 645,000 and a global television audience of over 300 million. Richmond is an exciting place.

Virginia Commonwealth University is a large state-supported university with over 31,000 students. The Health Sciences Campus includes schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and allied health sciences. The VCU Hospitals cares for over half of the state’s uninsured patients and provides primary care, subspecialty, and tertiary care for the densely populated eastern half of the state. This modern facility has almost every specialty and subspecialty, all the way from human genetics to transplant hepatology. This means that our rheumatology fellows enjoy a rich, first-hand experience with nearly every rheumatic disorder possible.

The Division contains both allergy/clinical immunology and rheumatology sections. The allergy/clinical immunology section has its clinical practice and fellowship separate from the rheumatology clinical practice and fellowship. The clinical practice in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology is mostly in the ambulatory care setting at VCU Health Systems, but Division faculty also have practices at satellite locations in the Richmond metropolitan area. The fellows also experience patient care through the affiliated McGuire VAMC, a large award-winning Veterans Affairs campus. There are seven full-time adult rheumatology clinician educators at VCUHS and another four at the McGuire VAMC, all of whom teach fellows. The fellows benefit also from supervision by a staff pediatric rheumatologist. All faculty educators have completed a Stanford University clinical teaching course plus faculty development in evidence-based learning strategies, clinical reasoning, observation and feedback, and bedside teaching. The result is that our fellows experience and learn from a highly diverse set of rheumatic disorders and have progressive responsibility supervised and mentored by friendly, readily available, and supportive attending rheumatologists plus a pediatric rheumatologist. We hold above all that we’re all learners and colleagues here, with the attending rheumatologists just as excited to learn from fellows, residents, and students as to lend their own knowledge.

The Division has substantial endowment to support teaching of fellows. The Division’s senior clinical rheumatologists gathered endowment support from generous donors over a period of three decades to support arthritis care, teaching, and research. The Division has endowment support for the chair and five professorships and other endowment funds for research including the Charles W. Thomas Fund, a $4-plus-million endowment designated for arthritis research, and a fund endowed by the Lupus Foundation of Virginia. The most recent addition has been the Kessler rheumatology education fund, aimed toward support of visits by outside rheumatology luminaries. The consequence of the prior and current generation’s foresight and effort is that the current Division faculty can devote substantial time to teaching and guiding its rheumatology fellows.

We hope you will find this website helpful and informative. Please feel free to contact us about any additional questions.


Huzaefah J. Syed, MD, MPH
Program Director, Rheumatology Fellowship

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