Rheumatology Fellowship Program

The University of Southern California (USC)-Los Angeles County Medical Center (LAC) program (USC+LAC) is unique. Set in a lovely Southern California, at a top-ranked University and Medical Center, it blends academic medicine with a long tradition of caring for the underserved. The academic environment is superb and the clinical programs busy, demanding, and rewarding. We see patients ranging from those who are desperately ill, neglected, and with extraordinary problems to others of privilege and with more common complaints. Those who train and practice here can do anything.

The rheumatology program has a rich history, having been started, led, and sustained by giants in our field. Fellows are presented with diverse and complementary experiences on the floors and in the clinics of the County Hospital, to the private practices of the University Hospital and Consultation Center, to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and to the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. All settings challenge fellows to learn common and uncommon problems in rheumatology and acquire the expertise to become expert consultant physicians. Fellows will complete scholarly work during their training, reflecting our expectations for intellectual curiosity, critical analysis, and thinking, contributing to clinical excellence.

Fellows enjoy their training at the collegial and congenial atmosphere of USC+LAC under the tutelage of a distinguished faculty. The 13 faculty members in the division all participate actively in the educational and training program. Ours is an outstanding faculty, comprised of both expert clinicians and clinician-educators, and of internationally-recognized investigators. Our faculty lead in refining our understandings of the immunopathogenesis of rheumatic diseases and translating this knowledge to patient care. Indeed Dr. Stohl’s prominent role in the development of belimumab, the first new FDA-approved therapy for lupus in 56 years, and our participation in its clinical trials, exemplify this.

Educational training (including fellowships) is undergoing enormous change. The new paradigm will emphasize more accountability to our patients and the public. We will be team oriented. We will cultivate critical self analysis and improvement. We will measure all that we do. We will practice medicine that is demonstrably safe, effective, of high quality, evidence-based, efficient, timely, equitable, just, patient centered, humanistic, and cost conscious. We will satisfy our patients and our public. Our educational programs too will reflect and teach continual self study, strive for incremental improvement, use metrics and milestones for decision making, and incorporate those same values expected in caring for patients. And to all this we at USC add practice that is scholarly, reflective, and intellectually curious. We at USC are prepared to model this. Wayne Gretsky, a hockey great (who once played for the Los Angeles Kings, recent Stanley Cup [World] champions), reportedly said, “a bad hockey player skates to where the puck was, a good hockey player skates to where the puck is, a great hockey player skates to where the puck will be”. The educational/rheumatologic puck will be at USC.

University of Southern California (USC) and USC + Los Angeles County (LAC) Medical Center (USC+LAC)
The USC + LAC medicine and fellowship programs are unique. They are large, busy, demanding, hard, excellent, boast superb leadership, and have a rich and storied tradition embracing the mission of caring for the indigent. They focus on a desperately ill underserved population at the county hospital, but blend the strengths of the academic community and adjacent University Hospital. The medicine program attracts increasing numbers of AOA members and others with very high quality applications, exceeds national norms for passing the certifying examination of the ABIM, and was re-accredited without citations until 2020. USC medical school is ranked among the nation’s 35 best and the department of medicine too has a top reputation. Graduates of our programs successfully compete for prestigious positions.

Medicine is humane science. An exciting specialty, Internal Medicine and its subspecialities are being transformed. USC embraces this challenge. Confronted by new illnesses and medical problems, we devise new approaches, therapies, and paradigms. The future of medicine will be the humane clinical application of new insights derived from scientific advances. We are committed to the highest standards of patient care, self-education, and teaching. We aspire to be knowledgeable, scientific, artful, thoughtful, responsive, ethical, and compassionate in today’s complex world. We offer to share in the predicament of others. We appreciate patience, tolerating uncertainty, and adjusting to realities. We seek wisdom when certainty is elusive.

We preserve our storied traditions, prepare residents and fellows for today’s medicine, and assure they will smoothly adapt to tomorrow’s changes.

We are proud of our history as a leading Academic Health Center with a particular mission of providing care to a large underserved population. Our faculty is unexcelled. Our clinical activities are unsurpassed; residents and fellows who develop the ability and confidence to care for our patients can do anything. Our diversity is unmatched. Our academic environment is splendid; the excellence of our medical school suffuses our campus. Our mentoring and resident and fellow support are terrific. Our commitment to trainees is unparalleled. Within our program we create collegiality and intimacy; we nurture our trainees. We have fun. And we savor our programs’ and our students’, residents’, and fellows’ successes. We are excited about our new, extraordinarily capable, talented, and enthusiastic medicine program leadership. We will build on our established strengths, retaining the best of our legendary past and developing new initiatives to successfully meet the future. (And we are in a not unpleasant climate).

We believe in training doctors who understand that we “take care of people, not illness” and that “… the future of medicine belongs to those… who… in spite of bureaucratic systems, pressures and financial disincentives to spend time with patients continue to care for the patients as human beings” (EA Stead).