Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases Fellowship Program

Marquam Hill Campus
Marquam Hill campus overlooking downtown Portland

Greetings from our program director

Welcome to the OHSU Rheumatology Fellowship Program! Our program prides itself in providing rigorous and comprehensive training in rheumatology while fostering a nurturing and supportive environment.  The faculty to fellow ratio is such that fellows have the opportunity to work with a wide range of readily available and amazingly approachable faculty mentors both in clinic, in the hospital, and through research projects. The opportunity to manage individual panels of patients both at the University clinics and the Portland VA allows fellows to develop ownership and to gradually direct the care of their patients independently while supervised. The specialty clinics offer an array of educational opportunities; these vary from allowing fellows to grow their ability to evaluate and treat complex patients with rare systemic illnesses to honing their skills in injection techniques. Our curriculum emphasizes patient safety and quality care, which are both integrated in the daily workings of patient care and teaching.

About us

Our division brings together a multigenerational group of faculty from a geographically wide background and with diverse academic interests. Our faculty have gathered international recognition in research areas including spondyloarthritis, uveitis, vasculitis, animal modes of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the microbiome, as well as shared decision making and health care disparities. About half of our faculty are supported by NIH or VA Merit Award funding and pursue bench, translational, and clinical research. Many of our rheumatology faculty have a strong presence at OHSU and the VA, whether in research oversight, department leadership, or in the Dean's Office. Our fellows are an amazing group and foster a spirit of collegiality and academic curiosity that keeps our faculty bright and spirited!

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

Patients with rheumatic diseases on immunosuppressive therapy require close monitoring of disease activity and medication tolerability and safety. Patient safety is therefore at the core of our specialty and a focus of the training of our rheumatology fellows in their path to becoming independent practitioners. Patient safety is taught in various settings, including clinicopathologic conferences, simulations, rheumatology grand rounds with invited experts, and most importantly is reviewed daily during patient care encounters. Fellows are encouraged to report any patient related safety events to the institutions’ respective portals and to be engaged in root cause analysis if one ensues. 

Rheumatology fellows participate in at least one quality improvement project during fellowship. This may take the form of a group project with other fellows or may be part of the fellow’s research scholarship. Examples of QI projects over the years have included systems improvement tailoring EPIC to the rheumatology clinic’s needs, PJP prophylaxis, methotrexate adherence, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, and pregnancy planning in women on potentially teratogenic medications. Rheumatology specific quality of care measures are central to achieving the best health for our patients. Disease activity measures are therefore regularly captured during clinic encounters, and data on the fellow’s practice patterns are accessible to them via a dashboard.

AIMS of Our Program

  • To educate the next generation of rheumatologists, grooming them to become experts at evaluating, treating, and advocating for patients with basic and complex rheumatologic diseases.
  • To empower fellows to become proficient and compassionate consultants in rheumatology, while integrating evidence-based medicine and the utmost professional and ethical conduct.
  • To inspire rheumatology trainees to embrace life-long learning in rheumatology and immunology and support those seeking a career as educators or investigators in the clinical and/or basic sciences.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at OHSU

At OHSU, we embrace the full spectrum of diversity, including age, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. We respect and support diversity of thought, ideas and more. For more information on how OHSU strives for diversity, equity, and inclusion, please visit the Center for Diversity & Inclusion.

"Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to OHSU's core values. This value sets the tone for how we operate today and where we're headed. Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion gives us the power to be better at what we do and to demonstrate integrity, compassion, and leadership in healing, teaching, research and community service." - Brian Gibbs, Ph.D., M.P.A., Vice President of Equity & Inclusion, OHSU

Dr. Pascale Schwab, MD
Pascale Schwab, MD
Fellowship Program Director