Program Overview

Rheumatology Welcome Home

Letter from the Program Director

The Adult Rheumatology Fellowship Program at Duke University Medical Center combines rigorous clinical training with opportunities to pursue a program in clinical or basic research. Our program has three primary goals. First, we train outstanding rheumatologists who are completely entrustable to provide comprehensive clinical care. Second, we develop leaders who are equipped to make a difference in the world of rheumatology through research, teaching, quality improvement, advocacy, and clinical leadership. Third, we invest habits of life-long learning and collaboration.

We develop outstanding rheumatologists by enveloping fellows into our diverse and supportive clinical learning environment, where they are mentored through progressive levels of independence until each fellow can confidently thrive as an expert consultant. Our fellows see complex inpatients at Duke University Hospital, provide comprehensive rheumatology care for veterans at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, engage in community-based care at the Granville Rheumatology Clinic, and experience a variety of subspecialty clinics including lupus, autoimmunity in pregnancy, rheumatology-oncology, scleroderma, and inflammatory eye disease.

Developing future leaders starts with getting to know each of our fellows on a personal level, finding out where they feel inspiration and passion, and connecting them with the right mentors and resources to bring out their best. We help our fellows navigate the plethora of academic opportunities that exist at Duke to explore their interests. Our large faculty are engaged in research programs spanning clinical, translational, basic, social science, and big data. This breadth allows fellows to successfully pursue any career path. In addition, each senior fellow leads one conference series with a faculty mentor, and we coach fellows to take ownership of the inpatient consultation teams, where they teach trainees.

The best rheumatologists are reflective practitioners who actively learn, improve, and collaborate with others. As such, we instill habits of life-long learning and collaboration throughout fellowship training. Our core curriculum emphasizes active-learning strategies, encouraging fellows to critique rheumatology literature as they engage in peer teaching with guidance from expert faculty. In addition, our fellows engage in our yearly quality improvement (QI) curriculum, through which fellows gain the skills necessary to lead their own QI efforts independently by the end of training.

Our program offers sufficient flexibility to help fellows meet their individual career goals. Typically, we accept three new fellows each year. We offer a two-year fellowship for candidates who wish primarily to become clinicians or clinician educators. This fellowship leads to eligibility for ABIM certification in rheumatology. Fellows interested in becoming physician-researchers may pursue one or more years of additional research training beyond the two-year, ACGME-required training period. For highly qualified fellows who wish to pursue academic research careers, there are opportunities at Duke for funding additional years of research-focused training or an advanced degree, such as a Master of Health Sciences. Duke Rheumatology also offers a combined four-year program in adult and pediatric rheumatology that leads to board eligibility in both fields. This program is based in the Duke Division of Pediatric Rheumatology.

In summary, our program is committed to improving the lives of rheumatology patients by training expert clinicians, innovative leaders, and life-long learners and collaborators. Graduates of the program have achieved positions of leadership and distinction in virtually all fields related to rheumatology. Approximately half of recent fellowship graduates have chosen academic careers, and a similar number are now in private practice. We welcome your interest in our program, and encourage you to contact us if you need more information.


David Leverenz, MD, MEd

David Leverenz, MD, MEd

Program Director