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Emergency Medicine - Fellowship


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​​​Fellowship Leadership

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​Program Director
Tien Vu, MD
Associate Professor
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Email: Tien.Vu
​Associate Program Director
Michelle Alletag, MD
Assistant Professor
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
​Program Coordinator
Michele Bialkowski
Phone: 303-724-2566

 Program Aims

  • To produce physicians who are clinically proficient in the practice of pediatric emergency medicine, especially in the management of the acutely ill or injured child, in the setting of an emergency department (ED.
  • To produce physicians who are knowledgeable and have experience in clinical research and research methodology, quality improvement/patient safety, and skills in teaching and life-long learning.
  • To provide useful tools to combat burn-out and encourage wellness and resiliency among trainees, inform trainees of available departmental and institutional resources to address trainee needs.



The primary focus of our training program is to provide comprehensive training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) to allow the graduate to independently manage all problems that would fall under the purview of a Pediatric Emergency Medicine subspecialist. Fellows rotate primarily through Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) located on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Children's Colorado is the only free-standing, tertiary care pediatric hospital in Colorado and the only Level 1 Regional Pediatric Trauma Center in the state. The emergency department sees approximately 70,000 visits annually, with over 1200 patients meeting trauma registry criteria. Fellows also rotate through Denver Health Medical Center (DHMC) for general Emergency Medicine training, including Toxicology, and an Ultrasound Mini-Fellowship. Under the supervision of a large and diverse faculty, trainees gain exposure to patients with a broad spectrum of clinical problems. Learning from direct patient care is augmented by a comprehensive series of lectures and conferences focused on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

To prepare trainees to function as effective Pediatric Emergency Medicine subspecialists upon completion of their fellowship, the fellows assume graduated responsibility for patient care over the course of their three years. Fellows are directly supervised by Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medicine faculty during their clinical ED rotations.

Call Responsibilities

There is no in-house call except for the month of Pediatric Critical Care during the first year when the fellow is on no more than every fourth night and averages every fifth night.


The program seeks to provide comprehensive scholarly training that prepares all trainees with the background and skills to compete for academic faculty positions at the completion of their fellowship.

The expectation of this fellowship program is that graduates will have completed a research or complex scholarly project during their three years including presentation of the research project at a national meeting, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics fall meeting or the Pediatric Academic Societies spring meeting, and publication of a first author manuscript.

Research Infrastructure

The Section has a full-time research coordinator and biostatistician who are available for assistance with study design, IRB applications, database management, statistical analysis, abstract, and manuscript submission. Currently, there is research assistant coverage for 10-16 hours per day in the ED for study enrollment and data collection including fellow projects.

Timeline for Pediatric-trained PEM fellows

PEM Fellowship Year 1:

  • Choose a mentor and research project with the help of the Program Director and Research Director by the winter/spring of the first year
  • Presentation at EDRC (Emergency Department Research Conference) and/or CEMRC (Combined Emergency Medicine Research Conference with Emergency Medicine
  • colleagues at Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado) for feedback
  • Presentation at the National PEM Fellow Conference
  • Presentation of idea to Scholarship Oversight Committee
  • Preparation of Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB) proposal

PEM Fellowship Year 2:

  • Apply for funding if possible or necessary
  • Supervise patient enrollment and data collection
  • Poster presentation of research study progress at the annual Department of Pediatrics Spring Poster Session
  • Presentation of progress to Scholarship Oversight Committee
  • Submission of an abstract to a national scientific meeting

PEM Fellowship Year 3:

  • Conclude patient enrollment
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Submission of an abstract to a national scientific meeting
  • Preparation and submission of a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Presentation of progress to Scholarship Oversight Committee who will determine if the fellow has met board certification requirements
  • Poster presentation of research study progress at the annual Department of Pediatrics Spring Poster Session

National Research Networks

The University of Colorado Denver/Children's Colorado is a member of PECARN, the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. PECARN is a federally funded pediatric emergency medicine research network conducting multi-institutional research on the prevention and management of acute illness and injuries in children and youth of all ages. For more information:

Several faculty are members of PEM CRC, the PEM Collaborative Research Committee, a subcommittee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine. PEM CRC is an unfunded volunteer effort which provides a framework for multicenter investigation. It provides a means of developing protocols and identifying interested co-investigators at over 40 member sites.  For more information:

Local Research Support 

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) is a collaborative enterprise between University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, six affiliated Hospitals and health care organizations, and multiple community organizations with resources to promote research and training that will advance health care and improve the public health. Through the CCTSI, Clinical Translational Research Centers (CTRCs) have been established at several affiliated hospitals, including Children's Colorado, University of Colorado Hospital, and Denver Health Medical Center. The CTRC also offers biostatistical collaboration/consultation for study design, including sample size and power calculations, and data analysis.

Specialty-Specific Curriculum

Fellows participate in several educational seminars focused on Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Below is the list of conferences:

Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow’s Core Lecture Series

This series anchors the educational program and is scheduled for two hours every Friday.

  • Attendance is mandatory
  • The primary focus of the series is to provide lectures on core clinical topics essential to the practice of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • A didactic lecture is paired with a self-learning exercise such as Journal Club, Journal Watch, Interesting Cases, EBM, and Board Review Questions

Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellows’ Research Education

 This 1-2 hour educational series occurs monthly, facilitated by the associate research director for the Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

  • It encompasses didactic and group learning exercises which will ensure core knowledge of basic epidemiology, biostatics, research methods, specific research project assistance, presentation, abstract and manuscript writing.

Pediatric Emergency Medicine Toxicology Curriculum

In addition to their month in toxicology, fellows get longitudinal toxicology education provided by our faculty toxicologist through 1 hour didactics or facilitated self-directed learning exercises every 6 weeks.

PEM and PED Multidisciplinary Simulation

Occurs twice monthly. Fellows take on the role as team leader in high fidelity simulations with ED staff in managing acute patients, honing communication and teamwork skills.

  • Facilitated by CHCO Simulation Center staff

Combined PICU-ED Conference

This conference occurs quarterly between the Sections of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. Conferences alternate between M&M discussions of the management of critically ill patients and Journal Club.

Pediatric Resident ED Educational Series

This session occurs twice montly. Allows PEM fellows to teach housestaff and other trainees through didactic lectures, simulated resuscitations, and interactive discussions of interesting patients.

Trauma Conference

This seminar series occurs monthly through the Trauma Program and focuses on topics broadly relevant to the care of critically injured pediatric patients including presentations from trauma surgeons, subspecialty surgeons, rehabilitation specialists, intensivists, emergency medicine physicians, and EMS providers.

Section or Departmental Conferences

  • Morbidity and Mortality Conference: Monthly conference. Difficult cases are presented by ED providers, with particular attention given to identifying systems issues affecting outcome, process improvement, and medical management.
  • PEM Faculty Administrative Staff Meeting: Fellows are exposed to a variety of administrative issues through the faculty meetings which occur twice a month.
  • Combined Pediatric Morbidity and Mortality Conference: This conference occurs quarterly and is attended by faculty from Children's Colorado, Denver Health Medical Center, and the University of Colorado Emergency Medicine program.
  • Radiology Discrepancy Conference: This conference takes place every other month to review X-rays interpreted incorrectly by the ED, as well as interesting radiologic findings.
  • Pediatric Grand Rounds: These presentations occur weekly during the academic year. Speakers include CU faculty and invited guests who are nationally and internationally recognized experts in pediatric-related topics.

Additional Graduate Coursework

A mini-certificate or a MPH degree may be obtained at the Colorado School of Public Health (collaboration between University of Colorado Denver, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado). For more information: . The certificate program requires 15 hours of graduate work and the MPH requires 42 hours of graduate work. This requires extra time commitment as the clinical and elective requirements remain unchanged. Funding is not fully supported by the department.

Scientific Meetings

Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellows are encouraged to attend national scientific meetings throughout their fellowship. The first year fellows are supported to attend the National PEM Fellows Conference. Among the meetings attended by Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellows are the Pediatric Academic Societies spring meeting and the American Academy of Pediatrics fall meeting. The Section supports travel to any national meeting for which the trainee has an oral presentation.


We particularly hope to attract applicants who are motivated and self-directed learners who want to develop academic careers based on excellence in research, scholarship, education and clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine. To be considered for admission to our program, applicants must have successfully completed training in an ACGME-accredited residency program in Pediatrics or Emergency Medicine.


Required Application Materials

All application material should be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service(ERAS) We participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) and typically do not offer any positions outside of the match. Required application materials include a completed ERAS common application form, curriculum vitae, a USMLE (or COMLEX/ECFMG) transcript, a personal statement addressing your interest in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and 3 letters of recommendation (one preferably from a PEM fellowship director).


Dates to Remember

Applications will be accepted as soon as the ERAS Post Office opens on July 15th and ends on August 31st. Additional dates for the Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship match are provided below. Please visit the NRMP website for additional information.

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Interview Dates

Competitive applicants are offered on-site interviews, which will take place on Wednesdays, October into early November and are from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm.  Interview days generally last from 8am-3pm.


Salary and Benefits

The University of Colorado offers salary and benefits packages that are competitive with other fellowship programs across the country. Current salary levels can be found at the School of Medicine - Graduate Medical Education Stipends

Please address further questions to:

Tien Vu, MD
Fellowship Program Director, Section of Emergency Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine
E-mail: Tien.Vu  

Michele Bialkowski
Fellowship Coordinator, Section of Emergency Medicine
E-mail: Michele.Bialkowski

Emergency Medicine Fellows


​3rd Year Fellows

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Stephanie Blair LeBourdais, MD
Residency: University of Colorado
School of Medicine
Medical School: University of Massachusetts
Research Interest: TBD

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Kathryn Miriam Rappaport, MD
Residency: Baylor School of Medicine
Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine
Research Interest: TBD

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Alexandria Jennie Wiersma, MD
Residency: Children's National Medical Center
Medical School: Michigan State Un College of Human Medicine
Research Interest: Sedation

​2nd Year Fellows

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Stephen Gradwohl, MD, MS
Residency:  St. Louis Children's
Medical School: Washington University School of Medicine
Research Interest:

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Irene Hurst, MD, MS
Residency: Northwestern University
Medical School:  Tulane University School of Medicine
Research Interest: 



Melisa Tanverdi, MD
Residency:  University of Colorado
Medical School:  Wake Forest University School Of Medicine
Research Interest: 

​1st Year Fellows

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Rachel M Cafferty, MD

Residency: University of Minnesota

Medical School: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine

Research Interest:  TBD

Email: Rachel.Cafferty




Jessica Graham, MD

Residency: University of Colorado

Medical School: University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Research Interest: TBD

Email: Jessica.kraynik


Emily Greenwald, MD

Residency: University of Colorado

Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine

Residency: University of Colorado

Research Interest: TBD

Email: Emily.Greenwald