Penn Dermatology

Clinician-Educator Fellowship

Number of Positions per Year: 1~2 Prior 
Completion of dermatology residency. Application Deadline Applicants should apply individually to Dr. William D. James. Letters of intent welcomed throughout the year.

Description of Training Program


    The Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania has created a fellowship which focuses on developing academic-clinician teachers, entitled Dermatology Fellowship for Academic clinician-Teachers (DFACT).

    The general goal of this fellowship is to develop future leaders in dermatology who will attain positions such as residency program directors, professors in clinician-educator tracts, and departmental chairman. This goal will be accomplished through formal training in four modules: teaching, administration, clinical research, and clinical dermatology.

      • The purpose and specific aims of each module are::
        • Teaching: Provide the fellow with the teaching skills required of dermatologists who teach in academic settings.
          • Be familiar with current trends and organizational issues in medical education.
          • Teach effectively in the outpatient and inpatient setting.
          • Lecture effectively.
          • Learn how to provide effective feedback and evaluation.
        • Administration: Provide the fellow with the skills necessary to become an effective leader within an organization and to address problems of health care systems.
          • Develop managerial and leadership skills related to committee function in an academic institution.
          • Operate effectively within academic institutions.
        • Clinical Research: Provide the fellow with research and scholarship skills necessary to make significant contributions to the field of dermatology.
          • Identify important research questions, develop research protocols, and build analytic skills.
          • Develop a system of research mentorship linking individual trainees with experienced investigators.
          • Know the principles of clinical epidemiology, study design, and research methodology.
          • Identify an area of interest and engage in a sponsored research project
        • Clinical Dermatology: Provide the fellow with clinical skills necessary to practice and teach in academic medical centers and to develop an area of clinical expertise.
          • Practice effectively in the clinical setting.
          • Develop a specific area of clinical expertise.
          • Become a recognized scholar in a specific area of clinical expertise.

    Although there are formal mechanisms of education for dermatology residents and formal fellowships in research and clinical subspecialties (e.g. dermatologic surgery, pediatric dermatology and dermatopathology), there is only one fellowship directed at training future academic clinician-teachers in dermatology. The Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania developed DFACT in order to address the unmet need for training dermatologists to become future teachers, administrators, and "master clinicians."

    Dermatology as a specialty field needs to ensure its place in this new era of medicine by continuing its tradition of excellence in clinical practice and basic science research and by developing programs which encourage and promote scholarly teaching and education. Teachers in dermatology are integral to the success of dermatology residency programs and to engendering interest in dermatology in qualified medical students. Additionally, teaching and interactions outside of the specialty area will become more important as we try to ensure a basic knowledge base in dermatology is achieved by the ever-increasing numbers of primary caregivers.


    The University of Pennsylvania provides unique educational opportunities and resources which are integral to the mission of developing academic clinician teachers. Committee work in the administrative module may lead to interaction with scholars from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Care Economics who conduct research in health care policy and education through a collaborative venture between the Wharton School of Business and the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Dentistry. The Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics offers didactic coursework on fundamentals of medical research which will be a component of the clinical research module. The DFACT fellow will interact and exchange ideas with scholars from these various institutions whose leadership fully supports our goals and will make their resources available to us.

    The teaching, administrative, clinical research, and clinical dermatology modules will be integrated into the functions of the Department of Dermatology. Under the chairmanship of George Cotsarelis, M.D., the department is reaffirming its mission of academic and scholarly excellence in the fields of basic science research, clinical research, and clinical practice by supporting this program in order to promote excellence in clinical teaching and clinical research.

    Penn dermatologists are leaders in their fields of expertise and will provide mentoring and instruction for the fellow. The department has a diverse faculty conducting basic science research and investigating clinical dermatology in a variety of specialty clinics. Examples of specialty clinics include: John Stanley - bullous disorder, William James - acne and rosacea, Glen Crawford and Bruce Brod - contact dermatitis, Joel Gelfand - psoriasis, Lisa Pappas-Taffer and Victoria Werth - autoimmune disorders/bullous disorders, George Cotsarelis - hair disorders, Michael Ming, Rosalie Elenitsas and Emily Chu - pigmented lesions, Alain Rook, Carmela Vittorio, Ellen Kim and Sara Samimi - cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and Jim Treat and Albert Yan- pediatric dermatology. Finally, William James, Edward Bondi and Paul Gross have developed referral practices for difficult and challenging general dermatology patients. 

    The department offers clinical experience and research opportunities from a variety of patient populations at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Veterans' Administration Hospital, and Pennsylvania Hospital. DFACT is directed by William James, M.D., Vice Chairman and Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology. Dr. James is a nationally recognized scholar and educator in the field of dermatology.

    This fellowship is not a matched program. Individuals interested should write Dr. James stating your background, interests, and long-term goals. A current CV should accompany the cover letter.

Also see: On the Importance of the Clinician-Educator
Dermatology Fellowship for Academic Clinician Teachers
William D. James, MD
Arch Dermatol. 1998;134:151-153

Dr. William James (Director), Dr. & Mrs. Paul Gross (Philanthropy Founder and Supporters), and graduates as of 2014. Dr. Jeffrey Miller is the 1st graduate of this program, and is now Chairman of Dermatology at Penn State Hershey. Academicians are at NYU, Penn, University of California San Diego, University of Washington and Penn State Hershey.

Program Director

William D. James, MD
Vice Chairman & Paul R. Gross Professor
Director of Resident Program
2 Maloney Building, HUP
3600 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
P: 215-662-7883