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Fellowship Information

The primary goal of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at the University of Colorado is to train excellent rheumatologists to enter academic or private practice. Clinical training opportunities exist at three separate hospitals: the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, and the Denver VA Medical Center, exposing our trainees to a broad array of inflammatory and non-inflammatory rheumatic conditions. In addition to continuity clinic experience and inpatient consultative work, our trainees are offered subspecialty training in several additional fields such as scleroderma, metabolic bone disease, rheumatic lung disease, and inflammatory eye disease clinic. Our faculty includes numerous clinician educators who have been honored both locally and nationally for their excellence in teaching and clinical care (most recently with Dr. Sterling West, who was given the Distinguished Program Director Award from the ACR in 2016, and is the editor of the popular book Rheumatology Secrets). 
Our program offers a two-year clinical fellowship designed to prepare individuals for the practice of rheumatology. In addition, the Fellowship offers a three-year combined clinical and research fellowship in preparation for an academic career as either a basic or clinical investigator.
The fellowship training program is headed by Dr. Jason Kolfenbach. Dr. Kolfenbach served as an assistant program director from 2012-2015, before assuming the primary leadership role in the program. Dr. Sterling West previously guided the University of Colorado program for 20 years (1995-2015) following a long tenure as program director of the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center Rheumatology Program, and continues to serve as a mentor to Dr. Kolfenbach and an integral part of the training program. 
Our faculty carries out a broad range of exceptional research, which enriches the educational program of our trainees. Examples of the wide array of opportunities that are available to our fellows include: 
  • Clinical and translational research into preclinical rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Drs. Kevin Deane, Michael Holers and Kristin Demoruelle
  • Basic science research focused on understanding the mechanisms whereby immune tolerance is broken in patients with SLE: Dr. Susan Boackle
  • Outcomes based research: Drs. Liron Caplan and Lisa Davis
  • Clinical, translational and basic science research of spondyloarthroarthritis as well as the mucosal and microbiologic drivers of rheumatic disease: Drs. Liron Caplan and Kristi Kuhn
  • Clinical and epidemiologic research into systemic sclerosis, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary hypertension: Dr. Aryeh Fischer
  • Health disparities research, with a focus on health literacy: Dr. Joel Hirsh
  • Clinical trial studies in RA, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and vasculitis: Dr. Chris Striebich​
Further information regarding the research interests of our faculty and potential opportunities for fellow involvement can be found on the Research Trainee page


              Current Fellows                        Prior Fellows  ​

​We participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Please visit the ERAS website for information on applying through ERAS. NOTE: All fellows will participate in some scholastic/research activities, as required by the ACGME. However, when selecting our program within the ERAS application, PLEASE SELECT THE RESEARCH TRACK AS YOUR TRAINING TRACK ONLY IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE ACADEMIC 3 YEAR FELLOWSHIP, RATHER THAN THE 2 YEAR POSITION.

We also participate in the National Resident Matching Program’s (NRMP) subsection for internal medicine subspecialties called the Medical Specialties Matching Program (MSMP). The match is conducted in December of the year preceding the fellowship start-date, and the fellowship applicants will be notified of acceptance then (for example, applicants will be notified in December 2019 for fellowship starting July 2020).

Application deadline: We begin accepting applications for Fellowship through the ERAS system from July to October for a Fellowship start-date the following academic year. For example, we accept applications from July to October 2019 for Fellowship start-date July 2020.

Please check the ERAS system for specific details regarding application deadlines.

Fellows in our program must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, refugee, asylee, or possess the appropriate documentation to allow Fellow to legally train at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.​
First Year: Both the clinical and research fellowship are the same with clinical rotations at the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Veterans Administration Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, and The Children’s Hospital (pediatric rheumatology). Individuals in the clinical fellowship will have similar rotations in the second year with some time available in both years to devote to clinical research projects.​
Second and Third Year: Individuals in the research fellowship will continue one outpatient continuity clinic weekly but will spend 80% of their time involved in either laboratory research training or in clinical research training. Each research trainee will arrange to work with one of the faculty members by discussion and mutual agreement on a specific project. In addition, each research fellow may take additional course instruction in statistics, epidemiology, grant writing and other subjects designed for fellows interested in a career in research and academic medicine. These courses can be applied to a certificate program, Masters degree, or PhD, and are offered through the Clinical Science Program as well as the School of Public Health.
For further information regarding benefits and stipends, refer to the University of Colorado Graduate Medical Education (GME) website, or call GME benefits at 303-724-6024.​

There are currently fifteen full-time faculty members in the Division of Rheumatology. The clinical training program is enhanced by the participation of 30 practicing rheumatologists who are members of the clinical faculty.
There are conferences every week through the academic year. These include Rheumatology/Immunology Grand Rounds, Journal Club, and Problem Case Conferences. In addition, a Research Conference, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Training Conference and a Radiology Conference are each held once a month, and an Immunology/Pathophysiology Conference is held three times a month. There are also specialty conferences in Orthopedics, Rehabilitation, Clinical Trial Design, Statistical Analyses held every other month. Please review the other documents summarizing the specifics of the fellowship on this website.
If you have any questions, please contact Becky Alberti-Powell​, our education coordinator, at phone (303)724-7605, or Dr. Jason Kolfenbach by email at​