Penn Kidney

Nephrology Fellowship Programs

The Nephrology Fellowship program at the University of Pennsylvania offers fellows a premier training program that provides a comprehensive experience of clinical nephrology and tremendous opportunities to develop a keen understanding of nephrology. Through our program, fellows care for patients with wide variety of kidney and fluid-electrolyte disorders in diverse clinical settings alongside faculty who are truly dedicated to fellow education.

Program Overview

We accept six or seven fellows each year, with applicants choosing between a two-year clinical track and a three-year research track.

The clinical track prepares fellows for a career in clinical nephrology, whether in private practice or in an academic clinical position.

The research track is designed for fellows who want to pursue research-oriented careers in academic nephrology. The goal of the research track is to provide fellows with the knowledge and skills to become independently funded investigators in basic science, translational, or patient-oriented research, clinical epidemiology, or public policy.

Renal fellows discuss their views and insights on the
renal fellowship, Penn Medicine and Philadelphia.

The Penn Renal fellowship program is committed to ensuring that each fellow, whether in the clinical or research track, has a successful and productive experience doing research or a quality improvement project. To that end, we have developed a structure for mentoring and advising during the renal fellowship. During year one, all fellows are assigned a personal mentor to help them adapt to renal fellowship, identify career plans and build an individualized training program that connects his/her unique interests. Fellows are also given support and guidance from our Fellowship Advisory Committee (FAC) that oversees their progress. Comprised of faculty with diverse backgrounds in nephrology, the FAC takes an active part in working with trainees during their first year to provide advice and to help each fellow develop a realistic and satisfying research project.

Fellows who elect the research track will identify an appropriate research mentor before the end of the first year. The research mentor directly supervises all aspects of the trainee's research and/or scholarly work, including selection of the scientific questions to be addressed, experimental design, interpretation of results, evaluation of the work of others, writing up results for publication and presentation of work at scientific meetings. As the research fellow progresses, she/he will assemble a Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC). The SOC consists of the trainee's primary research mentor, a renal training program member, and a scientist outside of nephrology with related expertise in the trainee's area of interest. The purpose of the SOC is to provide insight and support through mentorship, advocacy, critique and evaluation during this key period of the fellow's development as a scientist.

First Fellowship Year

All first year fellows, regardless of track, rotate through inpatient services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center (PVAMC), each of which provides a diverse clinical experience spanning the spectrum of clinical nephrology and dialysis. There is ample opportunity to gain experience in performance of kidney biopsies and placement of dialysis catheters. Fellows also spend one-half day per week in a supervised continuity clinic, gaining experience and expertise in the care of ambulatory patients with a wide variety of kidney diseases.

Each fellow also has four weeks of elective/ambulatory time during the first year. This elective time gives fellows an opportunity to spend time in any of the HUP specialty clinics (Stone Clinic, Lupus/GN Clinic, Complex Hypertension Clinic, Transplant Clinic, etc.), in GU Radiology, at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and in our outpatient dialysis facilities, which provide experience with traditional hemodialysis, nocturnal hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and home hemodialysis. This time is also used to meet with faculty to begin planning for research activities during the 2nd and 3rd years of training.

Specific rotations during the first year are shown below:

First Year Fellowship:
Inpatient Service
14-16 weeks
Inpatient Service
(HUP: Consult/Primary)
8-10 weeks
Inpatient Service
(HUP: Transplant)
8 weeks
Inpatient Service
6-8 weeks
Inpatient Service
4-6 weeks
Continuity Clinic
½ day weekly for the year
Outpatient Elective
(includes a week on HUP Plasmapheresis Service)
(HUP/other locations)
4 weeks
Vacation 4 weeks
(typically two 2-week blocks)

Second Fellowship Year

All second year fellows, regardless of track, continue with their one-half day per week continuity clinic and have dedicated ambulatory experiences in out patient hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplant clinics, (including both pre-transplant evaluation and post-transplant follow up).

Details of some of the clinical experiences for all second year fellows are below:

Second Year Fellowship:
Continuity Clinic
½-1 day weekly for 1 year
Outpatient HD ½ day weekly for 4-6 months
Outpatient PD ½ day monthly for the year
Post-transplant Clinic ½ day weekly for 3 months
Vacation 4 weeks

Fellows' Conferences

The fellowship year begins with a two day seminar in early July for first year fellows from Penn and other programs in the Philadelphia region that provides some of the basic "nuts and bolts" concepts that are important for beginning fellows in areas of:

  • hemodialysis
  • continuous dialysis
  • peritoneal dialysis
  • dialysis access
  • acid-base and fluid-electrolyte disorders
  • CKD management
  • nephrotic syndrome
  • other glomerular diseases

This is followed by our Summer Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Histopathology program.

After the summer, our regular conference schedule includes:

  • Renal Grand Rounds
  • Physiology Conference
  • Core Topics Conference
  • Dialysis Conference
  • Research Conference
  • Journal Club
  • Fellows Case ConferenceM
  • Transplant Conference