The primary goal of UNC’s fellowship program reaches beyond simply providing advanced, innovative, and well-rounded medical training. It also embodies a philosophy about which its faculty are particularly passionate…providing the highest quality clinical care to patients.
To achieve this, fellows not only learn clinical aspects of allergy and immunology while working side-by-side with faculty in a traditional ‘attending clinic,’ but they also learn to provide longitudinal care in their own ‘continuity clinic,’ in which they have primary oversight for a cohort of patients they follow throughout their training.
Fellows also benefit from being able to see patients in four distinct UNC facilities, which provides experience with not only a variety of different diseases, but also a broad range of patients in terms of age, race and ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds.
The fellowship program includes four practice settings:
- UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic at Carolina Pointe II
- UNC Hospitals Specialty Care Clinic
- NC Children’s Specialty Clinic at Rex Hospital
- Inpatient consultations at UNC Hospitals
In addition to the core allergy and immunology training, fellows are encouraged to pursue additional learning opportunities through established electives in Rheumatology, Otolaryngology, Dermatology, Infectious Diseases and Pulmonology. Because of the considerable clinical overlap allergy and immunology can have with other specialties, these electives broaden the fellow’s understanding of the complexities of the immune system, further preparing them to be experts in all aspects of allergy and immunology.
Didactic training provides the foundation upon which clinical reasoning is applied. Since its inception, the UNC Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program has maintained a strong emphasis on formal learning through a weekly, dedicated “didactic day.”
Learning opportunities include:
- Allergy and Immunology “Boot Camp”
- Topic-Based Journal Club
- Allergy and Immunology Case Conferences
- Multi-Disciplinary “Fever Board” Case Conferences
- Joint Immunology Seminar Series with Duke University
- Clinical and Basic Immunology Board Review
- Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology Grand Rounds
- Internal Medicine and Pediatric Grand Rounds
All fellows are encouraged to attend and participate in scientific conferences to supplement their learning. The fellowship program provides coverage of participants’ existing clinical duties so fellows are able to attend the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) meeting each spring. UNC fellows have presented their work at AAAAI, the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) meeting; the Clinical Immunology Society’s Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (CIS PID) summer school; the Aspen Allergy conference; the Southeastern Allergy Asthma & Immunology society (SEAAI) conference; and the Regional, State and Local (RSL) meeting of the NC Society of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.
Mentored Research Training
UNC’s fellowship instructors strongly believe that conducting mentored research is just as important as clinical training in terms of preparing fellows for successful careers. By
conducting their own research, fellows are provided with an opportunity to study the science behind clinical care. Training in research also teaches problem-solving skills and specific ways of thinking that help ensure graduates will be true experts in their field.
To achieve a balance of exceptional clinical as well as research training, the program is structured with a focus on developing clinical expertise during the first year, followed by a second and third year that are dedicated to conducting substantive research.
During their clinical first year, fellows identify a project and research mentor. They also select a mentorship committee that will advise them regarding the focus of their research, and with which they meet regularly to help further prepare them for their professional careers.
A broad range of research opportunities exist at UNC both within allergy and immunology as well as in related specialties, including but not limited to:
- Environmental asthma through the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB)
- Food allergy, through the UNC Food Allergy Initiative (UNC FAI)
- Delayed allergy to mammalian meats (alpha-gal)
- Primary immune deficiency research
- Eosinophilic esophagitis with UNC Gastroenterology
- Epidemiological and biostatistical research through collaborations with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
To further supplement research training, audited and degree-program course work is available through the UNC Department of Pediatrics fellowship curriculum, the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.