Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship

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The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is a comprehensive training program designed to develop leaders in the science and art of pediatric critical care medicine. Focal elements of training include the advancement of medical knowledge, professionalism, humanism, data-driven clinical decision making, procedural skills, and scholarly activity.

From the Program Director

Welcome to the pediatric critical care fellowship at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. I hope you find the information on this website informative! I am truly excited about the growth of our program since its start in 2016 and I can’t wait for you to learn more about it.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is the primary site for the fellowship. It is a 236-bed, free-standing, tertiary care center located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is the only licensed free-standing children’s hospital and level 1 pediatric trauma center in West Michigan, providing world class care in over 50 pediatric specialties. The hospital moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in 2011 and cares for nearly 8,000 inpatients and 95,000 ambulatory visits annually. The pediatric emergency department cares for nearly 50,000 patients per year. Our training programs have grown and now include fellowship training opportunities in pediatric critical care medicine, hospitalist medicine, cardiology, hematology and oncology, hospice and palliative medicine, child neurology and pulmonology.

The pediatric critical care unit is a 24-bed medical ICU and 6 bed cardiac ICU with the ability to flex up to 36 beds during high volume periods. The unit cares for more than 1,600 children annually, including level 1 traumas, patients undergoing solid organ and stem cell transplant, cardiothoracic surgery, general pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, and a broad range of patients with organ dysfunction or failure.

The division of pediatric critical care also runs the pediatric sedation service, which is one of the largest pediatric sedation programs in the country serving nearly 6,000 children per year. This service provides sedation for a multitude of procedures including bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, endoscopies, bronchoscopies, interventional radiology procedures and MRI. We also perform most of the vascular access services, including placement of PICC lines, central venous lines, broviac catheters and ports.

The cardiothoracic surgical service performs more than 300 surgeries per year and continues to increase in patient volume each year. Both pre- and post-operative multidisciplinary rounds are conducted in a collaborative manner led by the cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, and intensivists.

Another unique aspect of the division is the pediatric blood management program, which is staffed by the faculty in the division of pediatric critical care. This service has been a leader in reducing and optimizing blood product utilization and is a national leader in research in the field.

All the modern technologies which are expected of a tertiary care institute are available in our PICU. The specialized supportive technology utilized in the PCCU include CRRT, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, HFOV, nitric oxide and plasmapheresis. Our ECMO program is very active with both cardiac and non-cardiac domains.

The pediatric intensive care physicians collaborate in medical direction for the ECMO service with the cardiothoracic or pediatric surgical teams. The fellows will have an opportunity to participate in all aspects of clinical care provided by the division.

Spectrum Health provides statistician support for formulation of research projects and analysis of the data for scholarly activities. Through our affiliation with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, bench research can be performed within our adjacent laboratory facilities in the Grand Rapids Research Center. Opportunities for robust quality improvement are also available, with the dedicated quality and safety teams in the iHub offices in the children’s hospital.

Thank you for your interest in our program! Take a virtual tour of our hospital!

Elizabeth Prentice, DO

Program Director, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

The fellowship program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a three-year, ACGME-accredited program, accepting up to two fellows per year.

Program Aims
  1. We aim to develop strong leaders in both clinical and academic pediatric critical care medicine
  2. We aim to develop physicians who are educators in the field of pediatric critical care medicine
  3. We aim to involve our fellows in, and contribute to, quality and safety culture at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

Each academic year has a 13-block cycle (39 blocks total during fellowship). The curriculum is as follows:

First year (PGY-4)
  • Four blocks PICU
  • Two blocks cardiac ICU
  • One block anesthesia
  • One block cardiac cath/CV-OR/echocardiography/bronchoscopy
  • One block pediatric sedation
  • Four blocks research
Second Year (PGY-5)
  • Four blocks PICU
  • Two blocks cardiac ICU
  • One block sedation
  • Six blocks research
  • Option for two weeks elective time in place of research
Third year (PGY-6)
  • Four blocks PICU
  • Two blocks cardiac ICU
  • Six blocks research
  • One block adult heart/lung transplant, adult advanced heart failure at Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center
  • Option for two to four weeks elective in place of research
Note: Vacation and conference time must come out of research blocks.

All fellows participate in the following:
  • Wednesday morning lecture series from 7 – 9:00 a.m. - core critical care series, topic reviews, board review and multi-disciplinary cases conferences
  • Monthly journal club
  • Monthly divisional quality/safety meeting
  • Divisional and hospital-wide morbidity and mortality
  • Didactic research series for all Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital fellows
  • Simulations both in the hospital and in the state-of-art simulation space
  • Workshops: mechanical ventilation, advanced airway skills, PFCCS
  • QI/Process improvement curriculum
  • Dedicated ultrasound education

Here are some pictures of our faculty and fellows presenting and attending conferences. 

Spectrum Health faculty and fellows at a Critical Care Congress event
Spectrum Health faculty and fellows at a Critical Care Congress event.

Spectrum Health fellow receiving award from the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management
Spectrum Health fellow receiving award from the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management.

Spectrum Health faculty presenting at Society of Critical Care Medicine Conference
Spectrum Health faculty presenting at Society of Critical Care Medicine Conference.
The faculty members in the division of critical care medicine are engaged in a wide variety of scholarly activities, including quality and safety, process improvement, education, basic science, translational and clinical research, all aiming to advance the field of medicine.

Under the guidance of the fellowship program directors, the scholarship oversight committee, and the scholarly activity mentor, each fellow will design and implement a scholarly activity project.

All faculty within the division of pediatric critical care are well equipped to serve as project mentors and all faculty participate in research education. Opportunities exist to collaborate with other investigators within Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Spectrum Health, as well as the Van Andel Research Institute and Michigan State University.

A broad range of research support services are available for investigators including hypothesis generation, biostatistics, study design and implementation, data analysis, poster, abstract, and manuscript preparation.

Fellows are encouraged to apply for one or more of the numerous intramural grant opportunities.

Innovate. Inspire. Impact.

We are proud of the relationships our physicians have built with patients and families. Through inspiring stories, Health Beat provides an editorial platform to bring patients and physicians together, sharing information on innovative care and personal journeys. Read about our innovative care and the brave families who inspire us.

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We participate in the National Resident Matching Program and use the Electronic Residency Application Service application process. We require the following information:
  • A completed application/profile
  • At least three letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Medical school transcript and dean’s letter
  • Personal statement describing career goals and reasons for selecting continued training in pediatric critical care
  • USMLE transcript
  • All applicants must possess U.S. work authorization or be eligible for J-1 status 
  • For international medical graduates, an Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates status report
For more information on our program, please contact Susan Grice, program coordinator.
Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our residents, staff and their families. In addition, our program provides educational monies to support your ongoing education. Download our salary and benefits document to learn more.

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    Get to know our fellows

    Our fellows are a diverse group from a variety of backgrounds with unique experiences and interests. We look forward to getting to know you as well!