The didactic program provides a comprehensive curriculum for the future general and subspecialty pediatrician. Teaching forums include core pediatric lectures, problem conferences, grand rounds, morning report, literature review, evidence based medicine, research conferences, and a senior resident-run board review course.
Inova Children's Hospital, located on the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, began as part of a community hospital. As the pediatric population in Northern Virginia expanded, Inova Fairfax Hospital and Inova Children's Hospital responded to the community’s changing needs, gradually transforming into a large, thriving university-affiliated tertiary care center. The pediatric residency program has also evolved from the apprenticeship model into the competency based system. While we maintain the rigors of an academic institution, Inova Children's Hospital has not lost the crucial mentorship aspect that sets this residency program apart from others. There is a formal mentorship program that carefully matches every first year resident to an attending. Although there are official roles and responsibilities that correspond with being a mentor, most resident-mentor relationships develop into lasting friendships. Additionally, the informal and usually impromptu mentorship opportunities are abundant. Without the presence of fellows, one-on-one teaching at the bedside or over coffee is a quite common occurrence. Likewise, the personal interest and the level of nurturing between residents, faculty, and staff create the warm family atmosphere that defines Inova Children's Hospital.
Inova Cares Clinic for Children, located within five miles of the hospital, provides pediatric care for underserved populations in a multicultural setting. Approximately 22,000 visits occur annually with plenty of cases allowing for a wide exposure to common and rare general pediatric conditions. Residents play an integral role in the care of these patients, the majority of whom are immigrants from across the globe. Approximately one-third of our residents choose to do their continuity clinic at this location, and all of our residents spend one block there per year.
We actively participate in Reach Out and Read, a national literacy program. With our culturally diverse patient population, we distribute books in different languages at well child checks from six months to five years of age. This also provides a seamless segue into discussions of literacy, education, and resources available. Occasionally, this will result in getting the parents into an adult literacy class or English as a second language class.
Residents also play an active role in other community projects (e.g., high school and college career fairs, water safety), provide free school physicals, and act as mentors. Advocacy opportunities abound, including participation in the legislative process and lobbying on Capitol Hill and in Richmond, Virginia. With our close proximity to the AAP headquarters, residents are encouraged to be active at the national level. Each year we coordinate an international health rotation to provide medical care to children in Honduras in conjunction with the VCU School of Medicine.
Residents have an active role in pediatric clinical research. Several residents have been primary authors of articles in medical journals while others have presented at national conferences, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Academic Society. Every resident is required to engage in a research project during their three years at Inova, and opportunities are plentiful. Most of our faculty have a strong academic background in teaching and research, and they encourage our residents to pursue projects in the resident’s own area of interest. An established monthly curriculum walks residents and interested faculty through the research process in a stepwise fashion. The pediatric residency program has the full support of Inova Research Center and its associated network, including epidemiologists, statisticians, research assistants, and librarians. Due to the close collaboration with University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, our residents have access to their resources as well.