Before fellowship

No additional training beyond residency in pediatrics is necessary to train successfully in pediatric infectious diseases. However, some residency electives may offer learning more relevant to infectious diseases than others. PIDS has compiled a list of electives that residents with an interest in infectious diseases can consider.

  • Infectious Diseases (either at your residency institution, your future fellowship institution if known, or both)
  • Radiology
  • Orthopedics or other surgical subspecialty
  • Immunology (specifically focused on immunodeficiency rather than allergy)
  • Dermatology (if sufficient exposure to dermatologic manifestations of infectious diseases and/or adverse drug reactions)
  • Rheumatology
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Pulmonary (to gain exposure to cystic fibrosis)
  • Neurology
  • Specific research training
  • Public/global health
  • Cardiology

Application Process

Most pediatric infectious diseases fellowship programs receive applications through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and offer positions through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Pediatric Specialties Fall Match. Through this process, applicants may begin ERAS applications July 15th, approximately a year prior to the intended fellowship start date. Interviews typically occur in August through October, and rank lists are due in late October. Match Day is in mid-December.

Visit the ERAS fellowship applicant page for information about the ERAS fellowship application process. Visit the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall Match page for information about the NRMP match process.

Not all pediatric infectious diseases fellowship programs participate in ERAS. Click here to find out which programs participate. Application information for non-participating programs may be available on the PIDS Fellowship Positions page. You may also contact programs directly for application information.

Clinical Service

Inpatient Service: Each hospital is unique regarding having an inpatient service, having a consulting service, or both. As a fellow, you should expect to be the primary provider for your service's patients and to coordinate the patient care activities of the team (rounds, returning pages, consulting with other teams, etc.). Your clinical time will be your opportunity to focus on learning infectious disease processes and treatments – take advantage of it! Also, become familiar with the microbiology lab and get the basics on the way they do things in your institution... it will help you a lot in your work and expectations. Keep in mind that some institutions have one year of clinical service followed by two years of research, while others divide clinical time over the three years. Take this into account when considering your goals in fellowship to make sure you are able to pursue your desired research, additional degrees, or specific clinical training.

Clinic: Most outpatient clinics see a mix of hospital follow- ups, new patients such as fever of unknown origin, returning travelers, and potentially HIV infected or exposed children. Get a sense of the make up of your division's clinic. If there is a disease process you are particularly interested in but is seen in another clinic (ie, a city-run tuberculosis clinic, or a separate HIV clinic), work this clinic into your training so you feel trained appropriately by the end of fellowship.

Calling your Attending with Questions: You should never feel badly about calling your attending, even late at night. Especially at the beginning of the year, it is much better to talk through a case when you are uncertain about next steps. Besides making good decisions for patients, talking through your thought process is a really important part of your education. Your attendings fully expect to be called often, if not always, with questions in the beginning of the year.

Phone Calls and Curbside Consults: You will receive many questions from both inpatient and outpatient providers who do not request a formal consult. Managing these questions is challenging and requires a different skill set than being a front line clinician. Again, rely on your attendings to help develop this skill. Do not hesitate to tell providers that you will discuss their question with your attending and call them back. Most providers are happy to hear that you are taking their question seriously and will not mind waiting. Additionally, it is important to realize the limitations of telephone medicine. It is not uncommon to receive incomplete or inaccurate information, as there is likely more complexity to the patient than can be conveyed by phone. This can make providing a recommendation difficult and even unsafe. It is usually okay to answer general questions, but when the questions become patient-specific or very involved, it is often better to do a formal consult. Check with your attendings to see how much information they are comfortable giving over the phone. If the question is too complex, suggest that you do a formal consult. For patients outside of your institution, this may require referral to your clinic or the emergency room, or having them transferred to your hospital.

Residents and Medical Students: Most hospitals have a number of learners involved in service – residents, medical students, and observers, to name a few. Learn early what role these members should take on (and can take on, by legal standards at your institution.) Can medical students write notes? Can observers examine patients? Finding out early will save you confusion down the line. Even if you assign patients to the other learners, make sure you know everything going on with your patients. Don't just rely on other learners during rounds.

Billing: Frequently, trainees are removed from the billing process. However, many of our actions do affect how divisions can bill for services. Ask your attendings or co-fellows what practices need to be followed so that your hard work also keeps your division in business! It's not a bad idea to learn the billing process during fellowship either. You will be in charge as soon as you graduate, so learning early could be of great benefit.

Health Records: Become proficient in your institution's health record system early on. Many other trainees likely have tips and tricks for the system – don't be shy about asking to spend a few minutes with someone to maximize your efficiency so that paperwork doesn't distract you too much from taking care of patients.

Duty Hour Restrictions: Fellows must abide by ACGME duty hour restrictions just like residents. Your schedule should be designed to make sure you have the proper days off per month – if it's not, work with your program to prevent duty hour violations.

Electives: Each institution offers elective time in different ways, both to complement your training, and also to fulfill certain ACGME requirements. Find out early on what your responsibilities are so that you can make sure your electives are scheduled accordingly to balance clinical service and research responsibilities.

Education: Any teaching hospital will have an array of educational talks for you to choose from. Prioritize any ID specific talks – case management, journal club, microbiology rounds, and learning directed towards fellows. Also seek out the other talks that interest you – grand rounds, immunology conferences, conferences with adult ID physicians, or research talks that will keep you connected to your research interests during clinical time. You can't attend everything, but ensuring you prioritize those that fit with your training goals is important.

Feedback: Giving and receiving feedback is an important component of your training. Be sure to set aside time for feedback with your service attending, as this will be your main opportunity to get feedback on your clinical skills. We all are so focused on taking care of the patients that it is easy to forget about this! Your attendings are also required to provide an evaluation of your progression through clinical and professional milestones, similar to residency. All programs should use "Milestones" as part of your evaluation, which follow development over time. You should review these with your program director at designated intervals throughout fellowship. Keep in mind that milestones track growth. You should not really excel at anything as a first year fellow, but rather should improve over the three-year program.

Useful clinical references

A large part of training as a fellow is gaining a fund of knowledge, and also knowing the references to rely on to increase your fund of knowledge. Many obscure questions will come your way, and knowing how to quickly access specialized references will also help you succeed clinically.

  • The Red Book: The Red Book is a good starting point for looking things up. If you are a member of the AAP, you will receive access to the online version as well as the mobile versions as a member benefit. If you want the hard copy version, you can order it through the AAP website.
  • Antibiotic Guides: Sanford Guide (there is an app, too), Nelson's Pediatric Antimicrobial Therapy, and NeoFax are all worth looking through and deciding which is best for your workflow.

Textbooks: Many people like to own a copy of the major texts, and many provide online access depending on the publisher so that you can review topics as long as you are by a computer. Find out what you have access to, and consider purchasing the others.

  • Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics
  • Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (Sarah Long)
  • Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
  • Vaccines (Plotkin Orenstein & Offit)
  • Remington & Klein's Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant
  • Tropical Infectious Diseases (Guerrant)

These references are available online:

  • A comprehensive database of infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, frequently updated.
  • The Pink Book: Comprehensive information on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. You can order a copy, or download from
  • The Yellow Book: Excellent reference for travel medicine, published every two years by the CDC.

This list is just a start – if there is a specific area of infectious diseases you love, there is sure to be a reference book that can help you master it!

Online Resources:

Institution Specific Resources: Many institutions have internal documents that will make your clinical job easier – find out early about clinical pathways, order sets, easily available resources, journal article repositories, your university library, and any additional access to books that are a shared resource. If you find your institution is lacking in shared resources, start accumulating any electronic resources that can easily be passed fellow to fellow.

Four journals are frequently read by most Infectious Diseases fellows and attendings, some of which come free with society memberships.

  • Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (JPIDS) (included with PIDS membership)
  • Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) (included with IDSA membership)
  • Journal of infectious Diseases (JID) (included with IDSA membership)
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal (PIDJ)

Journals also accompany your membership to the AAP, including Pediatrics.
Of course, depending on your interests and your library's access, many individuals choose additional journals to subscribe to – check in with mentors early on regarding what they have found most useful. Also consider establishing your own RSS feed that will pull topics of interest from numerous journals and deliver them to your mailbox through your institution's library.