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Program Description

The Transplant Nephrology Fellowship Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the American Society of Transplantation and is designed to provide nephrology trainees, who have satisfied their ACGME general nephrology clinical training obligations, the opportunity to acquire one year of further specialized training in kidney transplantation. We accept one fellow per year into our program.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program is an integrated service of transplant surgery and transplant nephrology and includes surgeons, nephrologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, transplant coordinators and support staff. This experience fulfills the necessary requirements established by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) for individuals to stand as the approved transplant physician for any kidney transplant program.

Transplant candidate evaluation is done by a multidisciplinary team which reports to the multidisciplinary Transplant Evaluation Committee. All fresh and early transplant patients are hospitalized in one nursing unit largely devoted to abdominal organ transplantation. All recipients are followed after transplantation, especially early after transplantation, in a clinic devoted to abdominal organ transplantation. Long-term transplant recipients are hospitalized in the medical unit with the Transplant Medicine Service being the consultant.

The Kidney Transplant Fellowship year will comprise the following:

  1. Six-month Clinical Experience including:
    • The management of at least 30 kidney transplant recipients continuously as the primary transplant caregiver in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. In the early postoperative period, trainees will be expected to co-manage transplant recipients with the transplant surgeons and to take the lead role in the management of issues related to anti-infective prophylaxis, fluid-electrolyte balance, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, anemia and dialysis. Fellows will participate in the decisions regarding selection and dosing of immunosuppressive therapy from the time of transplantation.
    • Observation of three kidney transplants
    • Observation of three procurements
    • Training in the performance of renal transplant biopsies, including a) the indications for; b) the performance of and c) interpretation of, renal transplant biopsies. The trainee will be expected to perform a minimum of 10 documented transplant biopsies during the training period
    • Didactic pathological experience with the trainee reviewing renal transplant biopsies with an experienced renal transplant pathologist
    • Twice-weekly pre-transplant recipient evaluations and reevaluations, with time spent with each attending transplant nephrologist
    • Participation in the weekly Patient Selection Committee Meeting
    • Donor evaluation and presentation at Donor Selection Committee
  2. The Fellow will be expected to review a topic each week with transplant nephrology team, 20 to 30 minutes, topics suggested below (alternatives would be to review a current journal article).
  3. Six-month Elective and Research Experience will include:
    • At least one week on Transplant Infectious Diseases Service (fellow to arrange well in advance directly with Transplant ID attending) (required)
    • Two weeks in the HLA laboratory, fellow to arrange well in advance with Dr. Kamoun (required)
    • Rotation through pediatric program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and HLA laboratory (optional)
    • Experience on another organ transplant service at UPenn (liver, heart, lung) (optional)
    • CKD clinics for non-kidney solid organ transplant recipients (optional)
    • Trainees will be expected to participate in clinical or basic transplant research projects and present and/or publish the resultant data. Trainees may have the opportunity to extend their research experience for longer contingent upon alternative sources of funding being available.
  4. Conference Schedule:
    • Weekly Renal Division conferences to include Journal Club, Grand Rounds, and Research conference
    • Weekly Multidisciplinary Patient Selection Committee Meeting
    • Weekly Transplant Surgery Conference
    • Weekly Transplant Nephrology Conference

Transplant Nephrology Faculty

  • Behdad Besharatian, MD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • Melissa Bleicher, MD
    Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Assistant Medical Director, Penn Kidney Transplant Program
  • Roy Bloom, MD
    Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program
  • Simin Goral, MD
    Professor of Medicine, Transplant Nephrology Fellowship Program Director
  • Yvonne El Kassis, MD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • MaryAnn Lim, MD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • Peter Reese, MD
    Associate Professor of Medicine

Application to the Program

Interested applicants may apply to the program by submitting the following documents:

  • Updated CV
  • Personal statement
  • USMLE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation

Please note: We are unable to accept applicants on a J-1 visa.

Please mail or email all documents to:
Laura Watabu
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Renal-Electrolyte & Hypertension Division
One Founders Pavilion
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-615-1677

Upon receipt of the entire application, documents will be reviewed and a response sent regarding the possibility of an interview. For questions, please email Laura Watabu.

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