Heart Center | Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program

History of Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital

Founded in 1948, by Dr. Alexander S. Nadas, the “Father of Pediatric Cardiology,” the cardiology fellowship program at Boston Children's Hospital is the oldest training program in the country. By the mid-1960s, Boston Children’s Hospital had become the largest center for pediatric cardiology in the world, with 15 staff physicians as well as international recognition for cardiac research. Over the ensuing 50 years, the Department of Cardiology has remained at the forefront of clinical and research training, with major contributions to many of the seminal advances in pediatric cardiology. Today, we have over 70 staff physicians and over 350 fellowship alumni.

Our mission remains centered around:

  • an unwavering commitment to outstanding patient care
  • a spirit of altruism and generosity toward patients, trainees, colleagues, and society as a whole
  • a commitment to fostering innovation and discovery at all levels
  • a commitment to selecting and training fellows who share these ideals

Education and Training in Cardiology

Standard fellowship

The core fellowship involves three years in training consisting of 24 months of clinical rotations and 12 months of elective and research experience. Research opportunities are diverse at Boston Children’s Hospital and combine intramural expertise in molecular genetics, cardiac morphogenesis, and cellular adhesion with a wide range of laboratory investigation occurring throughout the Boston medical community.

The Core Curriculum

The first year starts with an innovative, month-long Boot Camp for all first-year fellows. This program engages new fellows with hands-on training and skill development. Fellows complete a checklist "passport" of tasks in the areas of: Cardiac ICU, Electrophysiology, Exercise Physiology, Catheterization, and Echocardiography. Tasks vary widely, from using a state-of-the art vascular access simulator to practice entering a vein before a cath procedure, to obtaining consent for a procedure from a patient's family, to practicing emergency situations with a responsive human mannequin simulator followed by a team debriefing. A core group of committed teaching staff oversee the program and supplement the clinical experiences with lectures that impart fundamental knowledge, including an in-depth cardiac pathology curriculum utilizing the resources of the Cardiac Registry.

The remainder of the Core Curriculum is an intense immersion in clinical cardiology. The focus is on caring for a large number of patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings, and on learning how to make complex clinical decisions. By completion, fellows have completed core rotations in each of the following main subspecialties of pediatric cardiology: Imaging, Cardiac Intensive Care, Inpatient Care, Catheterization, Electrophysiology, Consultation, Outpatient Longitudinal Care, Adult Congenital Heart Disease, and Heart Failure/Advanced Therapies/Transplantation.

The Core Curriculum above consists of 13 block rotations per academic year (each block is four weeks), for a total 39 blocks in the 3 year program. Of these, 25 are core clinical rotations and 14 are reserved for research/vacation/electives. Fellows typically choose an area of focus to guide their elective rotation selections, similar to a college major, with further exposure to clinical and laboratory rotations that will be most helpful in their chosen future career.

Academic research is a key component of the Fellowship, and all fellows complete a hypothesis-driven research project during their training. During the first year, fellows take a longitudinal Research Methods Course, which covers all aspects of clinical research, from hypothesis generation to study design to statistical analysis. Our goal is to provide fellows with the tools to become academically successful clinician scientists upon graduation.

Educating fellows in patient safety and quality improvement science is another important goal of the Core Fellowship, and all fellows take a longitudinal course in Quality Improvement Methods during the first year. Following this, fellows are expected to meaningfully participate in ongoing QI projects in the Cardiovascular Program, or to design and implement their own QI project.

Applying to the Standard Fellowship

To apply to the standard three-year fellowship, download instructions here. All standard fellowship application materials must be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) website.

Timeline for application and selection:

  1. Deadline for completed application: December 31st (for fellowships starting 18 months later on July 1st)
  2. Interviews: mid-January through April
  3. Final selection: Fellows are selected through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). A schedule of dates and other information can be found by visiting the NRMP website.

Senior Clinical Fellowship Training

Boston Children's Cardiology Department offers advanced clinical training in the major subspecialty disciplines of pediatric cardiology. Advanced training provides a thorough introduction to the core problems and frontiers of clinical pediatric cardiology. Most of these advanced programs require individuals to have completed basic pediatric cardiology training, although exceptions include the adult congenital heart disease and cardiac registry training positions. Advanced educational training spans from one to two years, is based on individual needs, and is available in the following subspecialties:

Boston Adult Congenital Heart Disease (BACH) and Pulmonary Hypertension Fellowship
Cardiac Registry Fellowship in Pathology of Childhood Heart Disease
Cardiovascular Intensive Care Clinical Fellowship
Electrophysiology Fellowship
Heart Failure/Transplant Fellowship
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship
Non-Invasive Imaging Fellowship
Preventive Cardiology Fellowship
Congenital Cardiac MRI and CT Fellowship