Objective: To characterize the availability of pediatric rheumatology training in general pediatric residencies.
Methods: We surveyed 195 pediatric residency program directors in the US using a combined Web-based and paper-based survey format. The survey asked directors about the availability of an on-site pediatric rheumatologist in their institution, the availability of formal pediatric rheumatology rotations, and the types of physicians involved in teaching curriculum components related to pediatric rheumatology. Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive and bivariate statistics.
Results: Of the 195 program directors surveyed, 127 (65%) responded. More than 40% of responding programs did not have a pediatric rheumatologist on site. Programs with on-site pediatric rheumatologists were significantly more likely than those without on-site pediatric rheumatologists to have an on-site pediatric rheumatology rotation available (94% versus 9%; P < 0.001). Although pediatric rheumatologists' involvement in 4 curriculum areas relevant to pediatric rheumatology is nearly universal in programs with on-site pediatric rheumatologists, nearly two-thirds of programs without on-site pediatric rheumatologists rely on internist rheumatologists, general pediatricians, or other physicians to cover these areas.
Conclusion: Programs without pediatric rheumatologists on site are less likely to have pediatric rheumatology rotations and are more likely to rely on internist rheumatologists and nonrheumatologists to address rheumatology-related curriculum components. Lack of exposure to pediatric rheumatology during residency may impede general pediatricians' ability to identify and treat children with rheumatic diseases, undermine resident interest in this field, and perpetuate low levels of supply.