Ladan Davallow – Class of 2019
I really enjoyed my pediatric endocrinology fellowship at UVa. There are several factors that set this fellowship apart from others. UVa is known to be one of the best academic programs in the region, and the affiliate pediatric hospital is nationally ranked. The peds endo program has the advantage of being medium-sized, where you get amazing one-on-one mentorship from endocrinologists who trained all over the country and provide a unique perspective on managing patients. As a trainee, you will feel super prepared to transition to life after fellowship, as you will have managed a variety of patients from bread-and-butter diabetes, thyroid disorders, and short stature, to very rare conditions such as MEN syndromes. Another distinctive feature of the program is the collaboration between the pediatric and adult endocrinology groups in joint conferences and research projects. The artificial pancreas technology research at UVa is cutting edge – a great place for fellows to get involved. I also really enjoyed living in Charlottesville. This lovely town is such an amazing place to find close friends, explore the beautiful outdoors, try one of the largest variety of restaurants per capita (ranked #14 in the country!). It is a wonderful place to raise a family as well. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with exceptional pediatric endocrinologists during my fellowship who taught me the importance of being a leader to advance knowledge in the field.
Lauren Wood-Heickman – Class of 2018
During my fellowship at the University of Virginia, I gained more than extensive clinical experience in my field: I gained a support system of lifelong mentors and friends. They have not only helped guide me along the path to become a clinician-researcher, but they will always be willing to help in case any tricky clinical questions come up in the future, with life/ career advice, or even a second opinion about a research aim. That is the truly amazing thing about the Pediatric Endocrinology Department at UVA, the caliber of the humans who are there every day, working to make life better for children. The carefully curated team of excellent humans with the same love of learning & teaching allows young clinicians the ability to question, learn, stumble (occasionally) and grow. Fellowship can be very challenging, but having a team who cares, who sit down with you for 30 minutes in a busy clinic to explain a concept, who genuinely enjoys teaching, and are truly those you admire and want to learn from; that is what matters in fellowship. I entered fellowship focused on a purely clinical career, and then through the process of developing my own research project, was given the opportunity to pursue a project that truly intrigued me- and was supported through my new path by the Pediatrics Department. My primary mentor, Dr. Mark DeBoer helped me find connections to his own projects, shared his experience with grant-writing, and took the time to help me along every step of the way to accomplish my research goals. Dr. Jim Nataro has a monthly program to help clinician-researchers along the path of grant-writing and review, and the Child Health Research Center is a rich resource that allows basic science researchers and clinical researchers to interact, share research findings, and learn together through seminars and small group sessions every couple of weeks. They offer excellent grant-writing seminars, research-in-progress lectures, and a truly collaborative environment. The Center for Diabetes Technology has many projects in the pediatric diabetes realm to become involved in during fellowship, with extremely bright minds and projects that bring technology into the forefront of type 1 diabetes research. All of these resources enriched my development as a clinician-scientist and I am extraordinarily pleased and thankful for the education and mentorship I received during my fellowship at the University of Virginia.