Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship

helen devos childrens hospital exterior shot The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University 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. We are a three year program, accepting two fellows annually.

The Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship program at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital 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.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the primary site for the fellowship, is a 236 bed quaternary referral center located in downtown Grand Rapids. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is West Michigan’s only licensed free standing children’s hospital and level 1 pediatric trauma center, providing world class care in 50 pediatric specialties to children throughout a 37 county area. 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.
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 1,500 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 but not limited to bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, endoscopies, bronchoscopies, interventional radiology procedures and MRI. We also perform the vast majority of vascular access services, including placement of PICC lines, central venous lines, broviacs 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 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 quaternary care institute are available in our PICU. The specialized supportive technology utilized in the PCCU include, but are not limited to, 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.

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The fellowship program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a three year program and is ACGME accredited for two fellows per year.  Each academic year has a 13 block cycle (39 total blocks during fellowship). The schedule is as follows:
First year (PGY-4)
  • Four blocks PICU
  • Two blocks 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 sedation
Third year (PGY-6)
  • Four blocks PICU
  • Two blocks cardiac ICU
  • Six blocks research
  • One block transplant
  • Option for two to four weeks elective in place of research
Note: Vacation and conference time has to come out of research blocks.
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 director, 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.
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 Kelli VanZweden, 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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