Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship

Panoramic view of OHSU's Marquam Hill campus.

Message from the program director

A professional photo of Dr. Erin Burns.

Welcome to the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)/Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. We are excited that you are considering us for your fellowship training! 

Our fellowship was born in 2011, when a core group of academic and clinical faculty recognized that the OHSU PICU offered incredible training opportunities. Our busy medium-size PICU offers a wide variety of cases cared for by a cadre of highly-skilled intensivists who are excited to train the next generation.   

We are a great fit for pediatricians who are passionate clinicians. We seek applicants with vision and drive to thrive in a flexible, individualized program. Our program is ideal for candidates who desire clinical rigor with time to nurture specific professional interests. Please review our program aims below to learn more about what makes Doernbecher a special place to train.  

Our program is small, but mighty; with one fellow in each of three years of training, we are able to tailor our curriculum to meet individual needs and career goals. Our fellows work alongside faculty more as colleagues than as trainees. Our tight-knit group of faculty members is uniquely positioned to guide each fellow as they develop into independent, confident, and compassionate pediatric intensivists. An emphasis on faculty mentorship – personal and professional – inspires fellows to join them in scholarly activities related to quality improvement, patient safety, and clinical research.   

Since 2015 we have graduated an outstanding pediatric intensivist every year, all of whom have gone on to great careers. Our ABP Critical Care Board Exam pass rate is 100%. More importantly, our graduating fellows excel in the management of critically ill children with multisystem disease. Each has their own professional niche and expertise.  

Our current fellows are each making integral contributions toward the research, educational, service, and clinical missions of the institution – as we speak! They are recognized throughout the pediatric community for their teamwork with clinical staff, residents, other fellows, and faculty.  

We do this in the setting of beautiful Portland, Oregon. Our fellows work hard, play hard, and finish training well positioned and well balanced to enter the next phase of their career. We hope this website will give you a glimpse into our fellowship program and PICU family, our city, and details about our interview day. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding our training program. We hope to meet you soon! 

With gratitude, 

Erin C. Burns, M.D. 
Fellowship Program Director

The Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is a three-year subspecialty training program designed to follow residency training in pediatrics or combined internal medicine-pediatrics, though non-traditional routes are possible as well. The fellowship program seeks to develop outstanding clinicians, educators, researchers, and leaders in pediatric critical care medicine. With one fellow per training level, we are a small program with the ability to prioritize educational goals. Curricula will vary as they are tailored to individual fellow circumstances, career goals, American Board of Pediatrics approval, and other needs. 

OHSU is where healing, teaching, and discovery come together. As Oregon’s only academic health center and medical school, we provide comprehensive healthcare, educate the next generation of pediatric intensivists, and explore new solutions to healthcare problems. 

The Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital trains academic physicians with an emphasis on provision of excellent patient care. We specifically focus on training compassionate and collegial physicians with strong communication skills and who work well in interdisciplinary teams. Given the multidisciplinary nature of critical care, strong teamwork is at the core of what we do and teach. 

We have a diverse patient population providing breadth to the training of our fellows. In addition to our very experienced PICU faculty, we have an exceptional and comprehensive team of pediatric subspecialists to support the care of these patients and who are involved in the training of our fellows. Our graduating fellows excel in the management of critically ill children with multisystem disease. 

With a PICU serving Oregon, southern Washington, eastern Idaho, and northern California, the fellows are exposed to a broad range of patients from rural and urban settings. They become adept in managing the complex transport of patients over long distances, using various modes of transport. Fellows will accompany our dedicated pediatric critical care transport PANDA Team on a select subset of transports longitudinally throughout training, with roles commensurate with their advancing skill levels. Another crucial aspect of care across long distances is the use of telemedicine. OHSU is home to one of the largest, most comprehensive telehealth networks in the world, and PICU fellows receive training in this important outreach modality. 

We strive to develop fellows who are aware of the physical, cognitive, psychological, and social impact critical care admission has on patients and families in both the short and long term encompassed by the post-intensive care syndrome. Fellows participate in our critical care and neurotrauma recovery program through both inpatient consultation and outpatient follow-up. This is the only program of its kind on the West Coast. Fellows are educated in identification and management of post-intensive care syndrome through a multidisciplinary team that includes faculty in Pediatric Critical Care, Neurology, and Neuropsychology. Fellows will experience first-hand the range of recovery seen in patients surviving critical illness and acquired brain injury.  

We believe that hard work today can result in a better tomorrow. To that end, fellows are trained in Quality Improvement (QI) science and methodology. Fellows participate in one or more team-based interdisciplinary projects aimed at improving patient care and safety, and over time develop skills to design, implement, and lead these projects independently.  

We do this in the setting of beautiful Portland, Oregon, in a small but comprehensive program where fellows get to interact closely with faculty and are treated as individuals and colleagues. We feel this provides an optimal learning environment.

Please see the Department of Pediatrics fellowship page for departmental benefits available to all pediatric fellows, and the OHSU GME page for Employment and Benefits information, including salary, transportation, and insurance.

Clinical training

The Doernbecher PICU is a 20-bed unit with an average daily census of 15 patients. We are an open, mixed unit with approximately 1400 admissions annually. Our diverse patient population includes pediatric medical, general surgical, cardiac medical and surgical, neurosurgical, renal transplant, and multi-system trauma patients. We care for approximately 13 ECMO cases per year, in addition to 150 patients who are status-post intra-operative cardiopulmonary bypass procedures.

Our catchment area includes Oregon, southern Washington, northern California, and Idaho. Doernbecher has an active and dedicated pediatric critical care transport team providing high-quality mobile ICU care to all of these regions, allowing PICU fellows to become facile and comfortable with management of pediatric transports (~1000 per year).

Three female OHSU providers smiling as they care for a newborn baby.

During a total of 60 weeks of clinical PICU training, fellows develop skills critical to management of the intensive care unit, including patient triage, leadership of a large team of medical trainees, cooperation with nursing leadership, and ongoing process improvement. Work hours during these clinical weeks consists of both day and night shifts.

Faculty include 14 Board-Certified Pediatric Intensivists (who cover both the medical-surgical and cardiac ICU services), one PICU Hospitalist and four Advanced Practice Practitioners. Attendings are in-house 24-7, including two attendings in-house during weekdays. There is also a complete spectrum of pediatric subspecialty consultants at Doernbecher, all of whom excel in their fields. With one fellow per year, there is always time for teaching.

Rotations by year

Each year includes 4 weeks vacation + 1 week CME

Year One:

  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Pediatric Anesthesiology
  • Pediatric Cardiac ICU (CICU)
  • Research

Year Two:

  • PICU
  • CICU
  • Advanced Heart Failure (Seattle Children’s CICU)
  • Trauma ICU (TICU)
  • Procedural Sedation
  • Research

Year Three:

  • PICU
  • CICU
  • Cardiac Anesthesia
  • Elective
  • Research

PICU weeks

Our fellows create their own schedules when working in the PICU. These blocks are typically 2-4 weeks in length, but sometimes occur back-to-back depending on other rotation/scheduling needs.

The average four-week block (see sample schedule) would include:

  • Seven nights (broken up into a four-night stretch and a three-night stretch) 
  • Five days off (not including post call days) 
  • Remaining days are day shifts

Research blocks

Research time for PICU fellows is protected time to devote to scholarly work, with the exception of working one weekend in the PICU per month of research time. The goal of working a weekend is to maintain skills and unit presence, particularly during relatively long stretches of research time during the second and third years of fellowship.

Progression of scholarly activity is reviewed twice yearly at fellows’ Scholarly Oversite Committee meetings, as per ABP requirements.

Home call

There is no home call for our PICU fellows.


We believe that fellowship is a special, once-in-a-career opportunity to soak up knowledge and skills. As such, fellows’ education is always a priority, whether at the bedside or in the classroom. 

Our didactic curriculum is designed to optimize the fellows’ ability to learn in a protected and meaningful way, while minimizing disruption to clinical and research duties. To this end, the majority of fellows’ didactics occur during one half-day per month (generally the last Monday). Sessions start with 90 minutes of core physiology, focusing on essential principles of cardiopulmonary, renal, hepatic, and acid-base physiologies. The subsequent two hours include a fellow-led textbook chapter review, fellow-led landmark article review, and a faculty-led didactic (traditional lecture, simulation, or board prep questions), all of which adhere to a topical theme (such as traumatic brain injury or low cardiac output syndrome following cardiopulmonary bypass).

As a small program, we are able to adjust clinical schedules to prioritize attendance at these monthly education sessions. With the exception of illness, vacation, or leave, fellows attend all 33 sessions over a three-year period. We aim to graduate fellows with a consistent and solid knowledge base in these key areas.

In addition to monthly block didactics, fellows are also able to attend a multitude of divisional and departmental educational conferences: 

  • PICU M&M (monthly) 
  • PICU-Oncology Combined M&M (quarterly) 
  • Multidisciplinary Congenital Cardiac M&M (monthly) 
  • Pediatric Stroke Conference (quarterly) 
  • Pediatric Trauma Conference (monthly) 
  • Pediatric ECMO Conference (quarterly) 
  • Ethics Conference (quarterly) 
  • PICU Division Quality Improvement Conference (monthly) 
  • Difficult Case Conversations (monthly) 
  • Journal Club (monthly) 
  • Research in Progress (monthly) 
  • Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Friday Forum (weekly) 
  • Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds (weekly) 
  • Multidisciplinary Critical Care conference for all-campus ICU fellows (monthly) 
  • PICU Case Conference (weekly)

Our program of evaluation

One of the most important factors in fellows’ clinical and professional growth is the receipt of meaningful and timely feedback. We have developed an extensive and wrap-around approach to both formative and summative feedback that allows fellows to continuously reflect and improve upon their knowledge and skills. Just like daily rounds, feedback becomes a regular and expected part of fellows’ clinical education.

At the conclusion of each week of clinical service shared with one-two PICU faculty, fellows are evaluated via a brief survey on specific skills and behaviors that map to the essential developmental competencies, milestones, entrustable professional activities (EPAs) laid out by the ABP/ACGME. Subspecialty domains of practice include: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice.

On-the-fly feedback is provided by faculty to fellows via paper and electronic (accessed via QR-code) feedback forms that fellows may distribute to PICU and non-PICU faculty and staff when appropriate. Fellowship program leadership also distribute feedback cards to staff and families to allow them to evaluate fellows on their performance on rounds and at the bedside.

Fellows receive feedback on their presentations and teaching during all of the divisional and departmental conferences in which they participate. This feedback comes both from faculty and other trainees (co-fellows, residents, students) via an electronic survey.

All of this data is reviewed in summation at bi-annual Clinical Competency Committee meetings, and then reviewed with the fellow by program leadership.

Teaching opportunities

Because we believe that effective faculty development must begin during training, we offer our PICU fellows the opportunity to enroll in the Education Scholars Program at OHSU, a highly-regarded longitudinal seminar for motivated and promising clinical teachers.

In addition to this program, there are many opportunities for all PICU fellows to get involved in teaching medical students, residents, nursing staff, and/or other fellows/faculty members. All PICU fellows will alternate teaching informal clinical “chalk talks” to pediatric residents on their PICU rotation on a weekly basis. Other optional teaching opportunities include: 

  • Pediatric Residency Mock Code (monthly) 
  • Pediatric Residency Noon Conference (prn) 
  • PALS instruction (biannual commitment) 
  • Pediatric Grand Rounds (per invitation) 
  • PICU nursing education sessions (per invitation) 
  • PICU division research in progress series (once per fellowship) 
  • M&M conferences (departmental and divisional, prn) 
  • Medical student core pediatrics sessions 
  • Medical student small-group facilitation


Our PICU operates the Doernbecher Simulation Program, with a dedicated in-house mannequin named Donnie. Through this program, mock codes are held two-three times monthly, with exposure for both day- and night-shift physicians and staff, in our “native” environment.

The Pediatric Residency Mock Code curriculum also utilizes Donnie, drawing upon the expertise and knowledge of PICU faculty and fellows to guide residents through simulated scenarios. 

In addition to their participation in unit-based mock scenarios, and teaching within the pediatric resident mock code curriculum, PICU fellows have regular access to OHSU's state-of-the-art Simulation Center on the South Waterfront, which houses the PALS/ATLS program in addition to Central Line WetLabs and Ventilator Simulations.

A man standing behind a podium next to a large screen displaying the first page of a presentation deck.

Training our PICU fellows to become competent physician scientists is a priority of the fellowship program. Fellow scholars meet with the program director and division faculty to delineate research interests within the first several months of fellowship. Significant effort is dedicated to this process to maximize opportunity for a successful investigative career. This is followed by the choice of a research mentor(s) and project, with scholarly activities to commence within the first year of fellowship.

A separate professional mentor is also selected by the fellow early in the first year, to help guide the fellow more generally in the career and personal development.

Additionally, the Pediatric Fellowship Committee, a larger governing body for all pediatric fellowship programs at Doernbecher, provides resources to fellows in project development and choosing a mentor.

OHSU/Doernbecher has a plethora of talented faculty in many areas applicable to pediatric critical care who enjoy mentoring fellows in professional development and scholarly endeavors.

As part of their career development, fellows may choose to pursue an advanced degree, including a Master of Public Health and Master of Clinical Research.

Human Investigations Program (HIP)

All pediatric fellows receive funding to participate in the Human Investigations Program (HIP), a unique and highly-valuable resource for fellowship trainees at OHSU, which is supported by an NIH K30 grant. The HIP is a formal, expertly taught graduate program housed under the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) and fulfilling all American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) criteria for education in epidemiology, biostatistics, research design, proposal development, and manuscript preparation/review. Fellows also learn to integrate principles of molecular and cell biology, new pharmacology techniques, genomics, and medical informatics into modern clinical, translational, and basic science research. The primary objective of HIP is to increase the competency of physician-scholars in the investigative process, and the coursework is directed toward young investigators and fellows as well as junior faculty. The curricula may result in a Certificate in Human Investigations (one year), or Master of Clinical Research (two years), depending on the career goals of each individual fellow.

Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI)

Beyond HIP, OCTRI has a wide array of resources to help investigators and research staff plan and implement successful research studies. OCTRI provides funding and support for novel translational research projects and educational opportunities for faculty, fellows, students, and study coordinators. With major funding from the National Institutes of Health through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), and significant institutional commitment from OHSU and Kaiser Permanente, OCTRI's mission is to improve human health by enhancing clinical and translational research. OCTRI provides a coordinated infrastructure of core research tools. The OCTRI research infrastructure supports investigators with expertise, equipment, facilities, and tools in bioinformatics, biostatistics, community-engaged research, compliance and regulatory support, inpatient and outpatient clinical research, and laboratory analysis. There are many other research centers supporting trainees in research, finding funding, and writing grants.

Recent fellow and alumni peer-reviewed publications

Current fellows

A professional photo of Dr. Kurt Drury.

Kurt Drury, M.D., M.C.R., 2023

Dr. Drury grew up in a small town in northern Indiana. After graduating from Indiana University with degrees in political science and biochemistry, Kurt joined Teach for America, and spent two years teaching high school physics in South Los Angeles. He credits this challenging experience with developing a passion to help young people. Kurt returned to Indiana University to obtain his MD, while maintaining a strong interest in advocacy related to healthcare disparities. From there, he completed a residency in pediatrics at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where he met his boyfriend Chris (an Oregon native). We were excited to match Kurt in July 2020. He will continue his scholarly & clinical work related to post-intensive-care syndrome (PICS) at the University of Chicago after his fellowship graduation!

A professional photo of Dr. Divya Nagarajan.

V. Divya Nagarajan, M.B.B.S., 2024

Dr. Nagarajan is from India and was brought up in the Middle eastern countries of Oman and Qatar throughout her childhood. She went to India for medical school at Kasturba Medical College, in Manipal, India. After completing medical school, she came to the United States for several elective rotations at various universities, and decided to pursue her career here. She spent some time doing research in adolescent medicine, before matching into the University of Kentucky for her Pediatrics residency. She knew early on that she wanted to pursue a career in critical care. She also has an active interest in Global Health, and was able to be a part of the medical brigades to Ecuador in residency prior to the pandemic. She has also studied Indian classical dancing for 10 years and has a passion for continuing training in various dance forms. In her spare time, she likes to watch movies, read fiction and spend time with family and friends.

A man holding two female toddlers next to a woman outside on a sunny day.

Brendan Cleary, M.D., 2025

Major Brendan Cleary is Active Duty US Air Force and was a general pediatrician on base in Rapid City, SD for several years before joining our fellowship program. Brendan was raised in Portland and completed medical school at OHSU. Academic interests include Critical Care Transport, Medical Logistics, Palliative Care, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. He and his wife have 2 daughters and recently welcomed a son at the end of 2022 – the entire family are big fans of the great outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

A man smiling outside in front of tall buildings.

William Clare, M.D., 2025

Dr. Clare was born and raised in San Juan, PR until moving to Boston to attend Boston University. He remained in Boston after graduating with a degree in cultural anthropology, working as an EMT and completing post-bacc studies at Harvard. On next to Chicago, Will got his MD from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University. He loves board games, video games, hydroponic gardening and is busy planning a wedding next spring in PR with his fiancée, a Neurologist.


Matthew Hudkins, M.D., 2022
Oregon Health & Science University / Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Alia Broman, M.D.,  2021
University of New Mexico / UNM Children’s Hospital

Avi Kopstick, M.D., 2020
University of Texas El Paso / El Paso Children’s Hospital

Theresa Graif, M.D., M.P.H., 2019
University of Oklahoma / Oklahoma Children’s Hospital

Blair Colwell, M.D., 2017
University of California Davis / UC Davis Children’s Hospital

Ashley Jones, M.D., 2016
Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Tacoma, WA

Erin Burns, M.D., 2015
Oregon Health & Science University / Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

How to apply

Applications to the PCCM Fellowship Training Program must be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), and should include the following:

  • Personal statement: Please describe how the OHSU PCCM Fellowship Program aligns with you and your career goals; this can be included as a brief addendum to the end of your personal statement.
  • At least three letters of recommendation (including one from your residency program director; we do not require a letter from the chair of the department)
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
  • Medical school transcript
  • USMLE and COMLEX scores

International graduates:

Applicants to OHSU’s PCCM Fellowship program must have completed a US Residency program by the time of matriculation. Applicants must be legally able to work in the US, or eligible to obtain work. Applicants must also provide a copy of a valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and apply through ERAS.

Please also see the OHSU GME information on Applying to OHSU Residencies and Fellowships.

Oregon Health and Science University values a diverse and culturally competent workforce. We are proud of our commitment to being an equal opportunity, affirmative action organization that does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of any protected class status, including disability status and protected veteran status. Individuals with diverse backgrounds and those who promote diversity and a culture of inclusion are encouraged to apply. To request reasonable accommodation contact the Office of Civil Rights Investigations and Compliance at 503-494-5148 or

Application Deadline: We apologize that we cannot review applications received after early August.


Applicants are invited for an interview based on holistic review of their application. All interviews will be conducted virtually until further notice. Timing of interviews will range from September to November

Upon receipt of an application, our selection committee will review and notify each applicant by email of the decision to interview. Decisions may take several weeks. Applicants may then schedule an interview online through Thalamus. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications, we are unable to interview all applicants.

Invited applicants will virtually meet 1-on-1 with up to 4 faculty members during a half-day session of interviews (morning or afternoon.)  Program Overview and Virtual Tour videos will be made available to invitees to review asynchronously. Additionally, these candidates will be invited to attend one of several informal Q&A sessions with the PD and current fellows.

OHSU Terms & Conditions of Employment

After your interview

We hope that you find your virtual interview experience with us to be informative, efficient and enjoyable! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any follow-up questions. 

Fellowship Coordinator: Sarah Nolte, M.S., C-TAGME

Program Director: Erin Burns, M.D.

We are happy to provide additional emails for faculty and fellows upon request.

Written correspondence to anyone you met can be mailed to:

Oregon Health & Science University
Mail Code CDRC-P
707 S.W. Gaines Street
Portland, OR 97239

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

We welcome everyone.

  • All races
  • All religions
  • All countries of origin
  • All sexual orientations
  • All genders
  • All abilities

Our PICU fellowship has a track record of equity and inclusion in how we recruit candidates and support fellows from all backgrounds.  

This is in the larger context of a University that strives for the same. OHSU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) leads and supports university-wide initiatives to create an environment of respect and inclusion for all people. This includes Unconscious Bias Training for all campus faculty, staff, and trainees, with a goal of mitigating the effects of unconscious bias in our everyday interactions and behaviors.   

Being a patient or provider in a pediatric intensive care unit is stressful enough. It is absolutely our duty to strive to mitigate any added stress from inequities or microaggressions in our fellowship and unit.

Contact us

Erin C. Burns, M.D.
Fellowship Program Director 

Mandy Ford
Interim Program Coordinator (June 12-August 11)

Sarah Nolte
Program Technician (returning August 14)

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