Rheumatology Fellowship

UF Health Shands Children's Hospital

Welcome to the UF Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program

Thank you for your interest in the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program at the University of Florida. Our program offers a three-year ACGME accredited clinical and research fellowship training

Program Highlights:

  • Fully funded for 3-year training
  • First year clinical experience followed by 2 years of advanced training in research
  • Pediatric rheumatology experience in both outpatient and inpatient setting
  • Large and diverse patient volume
  • Faculty expertise that foster educational enrichment for pediatric rheumatology fellows
  • Integration of rheumatology and immunology
  • Pediatric Infusion center
  • Rheumatology musculoskeletal ultrasound experience and certification

About Us

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital ranks among the top children’s hospitals in Florida. The University of Florida Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program is the only ACGME-accredited pediatric rheumatology training program in the state of Florida. The UF Health Pediatric Rheumatology service treats more than 2,000 pediatric rheumatology patients from more than 50 of the 67 counties in the state of Florida. Our team consists of 3 faculty, 6 nurse practitioners, 2 resident LPN’s, 1 full-time clinical research coordinator and 2 rotating research assistants. The UF Pediatric Rheumatology Center delivers care to the largest number of children with rheumatic disease in Florida.

Our Fellowship Program offers comprehensive clinical training and cross-disciplinary research in pediatric rheumatology. We are the largest registry site for the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) in the Southeastern United States. As part of a major research campus, we participate in investigator led, institutional, and industry sponsored research.

At UF, we are committed to providing outstanding comprehensive clinical care for children and adolescents with world class physicians and cutting edge research.

New Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship

The University of Florida College of Medicine, part of UF Health, has been awarded a grant to fund a pediatric rheumatology fellowship as part of a national effort to alleviate the desperate shortage of specialists nationally.


Melissa E Elder

Melissa E Elder M.D., Ph.D.

Professor & Chief
Phone: (352) 294-5252
Renee F Modica

Renee F Modica MD, MSED

Clinical Associate Professor
Phone: (352) 294-5252
Leandra Woolnough

Leandra Woolnough M.D., MSCS

Clinical Assistant Professor
Phone: (352) 294-5252

Our Mission

The program’s vision is to be a leading Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship, that provides education and skills necessary in providing state-of-the-art patient care, as well as research skills that will enable subspecialty fellow(s) to contribute to the progress of the program.  

Program Aims:

  • Demonstrate excellence in all areas of patient care in Pediatric Rheumatology, effective evaluation and treatment, and promotion of health by achieving a 90% pass rate on the subspecialty board certification.
  • Develop in depth knowledge about up-to-date Pediatric Rheumatology, biomedical, clinical, and pediatric scientific information and consistently apply this knowledge to patient care as evidence by 50% of clinical fellows having 2 publishable manuscripts.
  • Develop and strengthen professional skills, adhere to ethical principles, and demonstrate sensitivity to a diverse patient population.
  • Develop an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and demonstrate the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.
  • Develop the ability to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, and appraise and assimilate scientific evidence to improve their patient care practices.

Support for Fellow Research

The UF Department of Pediatrics offers a monthly mentoring committee for Early Career Development. This mentorship effort is led by Clay Matthews, PhD. This program supports fellows in basic and clinical research. While the primary focus is on grantsmanship, the team provides overall support help a driven trainee to achieve their goals.

Notable Fellow Success:

  • Our graduating fellows have continued on to successful academic positions at major medical centers
  • Dr. Paim received the CARRA travel award to attend VERITY Course. The VERITY course is hosted by Brigham focused on supporting Rheumatology Clinical research. This course is focused on Rheum specific challenges of research including study design, statistical analysis, data management, grantsmanship and career development
  • Dr. Ezequiel Borgia was awarded the 2019 Douglas J. Barrett Academic Fellowship Award. The Douglas J. Barrett Academic Fellowship Award recipients are chosen for their work displaying the highest qualities of scholarly activity in research, teaching and patient care.

Fellow Achievements in Research:

Joseph, N., Brazel, M., Paim, L., Thatayatikom, S., Rajderkar, D. Thatayatikom, A. Painful testes with prolonged fever as presenting symptoms od childhood-onset Takayasu arteritis. In submission.

Paim-Marques, L., de Oliveira, R. J., & Appenzeller, S. (2022). Multidisciplinary Management of Fabry Disease: Current Perspectives. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare, 15, 485–495. https://doi.org/10.2147/ JMDH.S290580

Chalhoub NE, Wenderfer SE, Levy DM, Rouster-Stevens K, Aggarwal A, Savani SI, Ruth NM, Arkachaisri T, Qiu T, Merritt A, Onel K, Goilav B, Khubchandani RP, Deng J, Fonseca AR, Ardoin SP, Ciurtin C, Kasapcopur O, Jelusic M, Huber AM, Ozen S, Klein-Gitelman MS, Appenzeller S, Cavalcanti A, Fotis L, Lim SC, Silva RM, Miramontes JR, Rosenwasser NL, Saad-Magalhaes C, Schonenberg-Meinema D, Scott C, Silva CA, Enciso S, Terreri MT, Torres-Jimenez AR, Trachana M, Al-Mayouf SM, Devarajan P, Huang B, Brunner HI; Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance Lupus Nephritis Work Group and the Pediatric Rheumatology European Society Lupus Working Party. International Consensus for the Dosing of Corticosteroids in Childhood-Onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus With Proliferative Lupus Nephritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2022 Feb;74(2):263- 273. doi: 10.1002/art.41930. Epub 2022 Jan 4. PMID: 34279063; PMCID: PMC8766607.

Paim-Marques, L., Cavalcante, A.V., Verçosa, I., Carneiro, P., Souto-Maior, M., Marques, E., & Appenzeller, S. Frequency of Fabry disease in a juvenile idiopathic arthritis cohort. Pediatric rheumatology online journal, 2021 jun; 19(1), 91. PMID: 34118938. doi: 10.1186/s12969-021-00563-9.

Paim, L. B., Landim, M., Firmino, S. L., Monteiro, C., Cordeiro, L. R., de Araujo, F. G., & de Carvalho, J. F. (2021). Canakinumab for Pulmonary Artery Hypertension and Macrophage Activation Syndrome Associated with Uncontrolled Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Indian journal of pediatrics, 2021 jun;88(6), 608–609. PMID: 33742412. DOI: 10.1007/s12098-021-03734-4.

Paim-Marques, L.B., Cavalcante, A., Castro, C., Muskardin, T., de Oliveira, J.B., Niewold, T.B., & Appenzeller, S. (2021). Novel mutation in the NRLP3 manifesting as an intermediate phenotype of cryopyrinopathies. Rheumatology international, Jan 2021; 41(1), 219–225. PMID: 32813153. DOI: 10.1007/s00296-020-04683-5.

Elder, M., Paim Marques, L.B., Thatayatikom, A., Bowden, J., da Silva, B., Aristizabal, J. Lipidomic Profiles of Synovial Fluid from patients with Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Naïve to treatment [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol.2020;72 (suppl 4). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/lipidomic-profiles-of-synovial-fluid-from-patients-with-oligoarticular-juvenileidiopathic-arthritis-naive-to-treatment/. Fellow

Borgia, RE, Gurka, M, Filipp, S, Elder, M, Cardel, M, Shiff, N. Race, Ethnicity and PatientReported Outcomes in Childhood-Onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (submitted)

 Borgia RE, Alarcón GS. Community-Engaged Research to Address Health Disparities in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2021 Mar;73(3):305-307. doi: 10.1002/acr.24432. PMID: 32841549.

 Storey T, Borgia RE, Merritt P, Woolnough L. Normal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Appearance of Marrow Adjacent to the Sacroiliac Joints in Children During Development. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2022 Jan-Feb 01;46(1):91-96. doi: 10.1097/RCT.0000000000001240. PMID: 35099140.

Borgia RE, Salloum RG. Implementation of Shared Decision-Making in Clinical Practice in Rheumatology. J Clin Rheumatol. 2020 Oct;26(7S Suppl 2):S98-S100. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000001106. PMID: 31295156.

Gerstein M, Borgia RE, Dominguez D, Feldman BM, Liao F, Levy DM, Ng L, Abdelhaleem M, Silverman ED, Hiraki LT. Predicting Macrophage Activation Syndrome in Childhood-onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients at Diagnosis. J Rheumatol. 2021 Sep;48(9):1450- 1457. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.200292. Epub 2020 Dec 1. PMID: 33262295.

Current and Past Fellows

Past Fellows

Name Year Graduated
Roberto Borgia 2020
Luciana Paim 2022


Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship applicants apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS©). After careful review of your application, qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview. The University of Florida Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship program participates in the National Resident Match Program (NRMP©).

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