Conferences form an integral part of the rheumatology fellowship experience. Every senior fellow serves as a leader for one of the conference series in collaboration with a faculty advisor. Fellows attend and participate in the following conferences, which are discussed in greater detail below:
- Rheumatology Grand Rounds (Tuesday mornings at 8am)
- Case Conference (Tuesday mornings at 9:30am)
- Core Curriculum and Journal Club (Tuesday mornings at 10:00am)
- Musculoskeletal Radiology (1st and 3rd Mondays at 8am, virtual)
Rheumatology Grand Rounds
The primary teaching conference for the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Grand Rounds takes place on Tuesdays. Each rheumatology fellow presents at several Rheumatology Grand Rounds per year; fellows present their fellowship research projects as their final Grand Rounds presentation. Many Grand Rounds sessions are case-based, in which faculty or fellows describe a clinical case and question, followed by in-depth discussions of medical literature relevant to the inquiry. Other sessions are research-based, in which faculty members from within and outside Duke present current work in areas relevant to rheumatology and including basic science, translational, clinical, health services, education and clinical quality improvement. Rheumatology division faculty present their work annually, including two to three research roundtables where faculty present projects available for rheumatology fellow collaboration.
This is a process-focused conference. The goal of this conference is for fellows to learn in real time how to critically think about the diagnostic and management challenges of caring for complex rheumatology patients. Fellows and faculty members discuss challenging cases seen on Duke inpatient consultation service, VA consultation service, and outpatient clinical conundrums. We expect and encourage the following from fellows and faculty during this conference:
- Learning together.
- Crazy ideas.
- Questions with no easy answers.
- Insights from similar cases.
- Looking up and sharing evidence.
- Putting your money down!
- Being flat-out wrong (often the best way to learn).
This highly interactive conference series is designed to focus on the core body of information necessary to be a successful rheumatologist. Topics are guided by the American College of Rheumatology Core Curriculum Outline along with substantial input from upper level rheumatology fellows who work together to design the curriculum each year. The conference focuses on fundamental rheumatology knowledge early in the year and delves deeper into specific aspects of various diseases as the year progresses. This is also an interdisciplinary conference with sessions led by guest faculty from other Divisions and Departments including pulmonology, endocrinology, hematology, nephrology, physical and occupational therapy, pharmacology, etc. In addition to rheumatology knowledge, once a month this conference incorporates the longitudinal, experiential quality improvement curriculum and group project. A history of the development and success of this quality improvement curriculum can be found in this article published in The Rheumatologist. We also incorporate several sessions on leadership, career development, and wellness into the core curriculum.
Divisional Journal Club is held twice per month and includes rheumatology fellows and faculty. The purposes of Journal Club include 1) review and analyze recent literature in rheumatology and clinical immunology; 2) teach and reinforce principles of evidence-based medicine; 3) enhance the core knowledge of all members of the Division of Rheumatology & Immunology.
Musculoskeletal Radiology Conference
This conference is led by a musculoskeletal radiology faculty member, with the goal of teaching rheumatology fellows to gain competence in interpreting radiologic studies. Plain radiographs, CT, MRI, and ultrasound studies are reviewed. Topics covered include radiographic features of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, spondyloarthritis, crystal-induced arthropathy, infectious arthritis, and regional musculoskeletal disorders such as rotator-cuff syndrome and internal derangement of the knee. This conference is held every other week.
Carolinas Fellows Collaborative (CFC)
Every July, all of the rheumatology fellows training in North Carolina and South Carolina travel to Winston Salem, NC, to attend the summer CFC conference at Wake Forest University. This 2 ½ day conference introduces core concepts in rheumatology care through didactic and highly interactive presentations led by faculty members from Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University and the Medical University of South Carolina. The conference includes hands-on training in synovial fluid microscopy, basic musculoskeletal radiology and a cadaver lab to learn joint injection techniques under faculty supervision. Every winter, the fellowship training programs gather again for the winter CFC conference, which also includes fellows and faculty from Massachusetts General Hospital. This conference rotates locations between Duke, UNC, MUSC, and MGH. This 2 ½ day winter conference includes more advanced rheumatology topics and interactive sessions including a rheumatology practice simulation. Both conferences allow ample opportunity to network with fellows and faculty from neighbor institutions.
Each year, all of our fellows have the opportunity to attend at least one national conference. Typically, our first year fellows attend the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Education Exchange, which includes the Fellow-In-Training program as well as the State Of The Art (SOTA) conference. Second and third year fellows attend the national ACR Convergence conference. Registration and travel is supported by the program. Fellows also have the opportunity attend local and regional conferences, such as the annual North Carolina Rheumatology Association (NCRA) conference, the Association of Women in Rheumatology (AWIR) conference, and other conferences depending on each fellows' specific interests.