UTHSC Rheumatology Fellowship

The Rheumatology Fellowship program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has been in existence since 1959 when it was established by Professor Glenn Clark, one of the first full-time rheumatologists in the United States and the first rheumatologist in the Memphis area.

Since that time, the program has graduated 106 Fellows to be independently practicing rheumatologists. The career paths of graduates has spanned a broad range, from academic teachers and researchers, directors in the pharmaceutical industry, and clinical practitioners across the United States and the world.

Prerequisite Training/Selection Criteria

Medical Education

  • Graduates of Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-approved U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools
  • International Medical Graduates who have valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
    (ECFMG) certificates
  • United States or Canadian medical schools must have completed at least three years of approved residency
    training in internal medicine

Visa Status

Visa status for International Medical Graduates must fall within the following categories:

  • Permanent Resident or Alien status (i.e., “Green Card”)
  • J-1 visa

Selection of Residents

To be considered for Rheumatology Residency Program, a complete file must be on hand at the time of review.
A complete file consists of:

  • ERAS Completed Application
  • CV
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • ECFMG Certificate (if applicable)
  • Transcript
  • Permanent Residency Card (if applicable)
  • USMLE sheets (all steps needed)

How to Apply

Positions are offered through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). All applications must be submitted through ERAS.

A complete application consists of:

  • Current Photograph (required)
  • Personal Statement
  • Medical School Transcript
  • MSPE
  • USMLE or COMLEX Scores (passing scores are required for steps 1, 2 and 3)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (including the medicine chair)

All ERAS applications are reviewed and invitations to interview will be extended to those selected via e-mail. 

Interviews are held September - November of prior year for the July 1st start date.

 Applications received after our deadline of August 15th will not be considered for an interview.

Clinic and Hospital Schedules

The PGY4 does 9 months of hospital consult service/year and the PGY5 does 3 months of hospital consult service/year. Both PGY4 and PGY5 fellows have 4 clinics (1/2 day each) per week. These consist of two VA continuity clinics and one continuity clinic experience at Medplex. In addition, each fellow attends a ½ day/week clinic in a private office setting. The PGY4 fellow also has six months of a ½ day/week pediatric rheumatology clinic.

One ½ day per month is scheduled for a DXA clinic in which fellows learn to interpret DXAs and operate a DXA unit. An additional ½ day once per month is scheduled for a musculoskeletal ultrasound clinic.


Electives are available in muscle biopsy interpretation, physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopedics and in patient pediatric rheumatology.


A major strength of this program is its structured, comprehensive didactic series in all aspects of rheumatology. This is made possible by core faculty members, volunteer faculty members and basic scientists. Below is an overview of these conferences; please see conference schedule for daily topics.

UTHSC Conference Summary for Rheumatology

Tuesday 9AM: Core curriculum lectures including basic immunology, biostatistics and epidemiology, subspecialty topics in rheumatology and core clinical rheumatology topics.

Tuesday 10AM: Rheumatology Grand Rounds or Rheumatology Board Review

Tuesday 11 AM: Rheumatology Journal Club

Wednesdays 8AM: Medical Grand Rounds

Fridays: Alternate with DXA conference, ultrasound conference, metabolic bone conference, clinical case series (including radiology) and clinical journal watch.

Outside Conferences

Our fellows attend a number of outside conferences including the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) (Division also pays for examination), a and a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Course. Depending on interest, fellows may also attend board review conferences and conferences in pain management.

Fellow Research

All fellows are expected to publish at least one article in the peer reviewed literature during their fellowship. They are also required to participate in a quality improvement project. Our fellows have a track history of publications (see Fellow Publications section) 

Current Fellows 


resident photo
Bradley Postlewaite, MD

resident photo 

Vaishnavi Pulusani, MD


resident photo
Syed Islam, MD

Salary and Benefits

2017-2018 Resident Compensation Rates for ACGME-Accredited Programs

PGY Level Base Annual with Disability
Life Benefits *
Monthly *
PGY 1 $50,640.00  $51,240.00 $4,270.00
PGY 2 $52,404.00 $53,004.00 $4,417.00
PGY 3 $54,000.00 $54,600.00 $4,550.00
PGY 4 $56,400.00 $57,000.00 $4,750.00
PGY 5 $58,104.00 $58,704.00 $4,892.00
PGY 6 $60,840.00 $61,440.00 $5,120.00
PGY 7 $63,120.00 $63,720.00 $5,310.00

*In addition to the base salary, those residents participating in the disability and group life insurance programs provided through GME currently receive an additional $600 per year for disability and life insurance benefits as shown above in Column 3. 

For more resident salary information, please see GME Policy #210.

Fringe benefits include:



Residents may take up to three (3) weeks of annual leave per year. Annual leave is not accumulated from year to year. Residents do not receive pay for unused annual leave.

Educational Leave

Educational leave can be taken during fellowship with approval from the Program Director.

Sick Leave

Fellows accumulate three (3) weeks of sick leave per year. Sick leave is non-cumulative from year to year. Residents are not paid for unused sick leave.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is available to residents for the birth or adoption of a child. Sick leave and annual leave may be used in order for the resident's salary to continue. Additional time is permitted with the approval of the Program Director and will be leave without pay. Due to ASCO/ASH rules, time off may delay completion of the fellowship.


Moonlighting opportunities are available and requires Program Director Pre-Approval.

Contact Us

Rheumatology  Fellowship

956 Court Ave., Suite G-326
Memphis, TN 38163-0001
Tel. 901-448-5774
Fax 901-448-7265

Debendra N. Pattanaik, MD
Program Director

Syed H. Raza, MD
Assistant Program Director

Demaria Young
Program Coordinator
Phone: (901) 448-6605