Pediatric Surgery Clinical Research Fellowship

The pediatric surgery clinical research fellowship at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) provides research opportunities to aspiring pediatric surgeons. This non-accredited program is sponsored by the Emory Division of Pediatric Surgery, and includes one and two year tracks. 

Emory pediatric surgery research fellows pursue multiple clinical projects involving surgical health services research, focusing on such areas as local quality improvement, comparative effectiveness, cost effectiveness, health policy, and outcomes investigations using large clinical registries. Depending on funding, fellows also have the opportunity to obtain a Masters of Science in Clinical Research degree.

Productivity is aimed at completing one project/manuscript per month. Fellows will have the opportunity to present accepted projects at up to two domestic meetings annually (e.g., American Pediatric Surgical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons).

Research fellows assist in organizing the annual visiting professor and research symposium, will showcase the current CHOA/Emory research portfolio at the event, and have the option of interacting with the visiting professor, who is typically a nationally recognized figure in pediatric surgical health services research. 

In addition to research, fellows are exposed to the full gamut of pediatric surgery, and are expected to take night call once per week and one weekend per month. Applicants should be PGY-4 status or above to allow for senior level call-coverage.

CHOA provides health insurance benefits.

For more information, please visit Goals and Expectations for Pediatric Surgery Research Fellows.

Research Status and Opportunities

The academic faculty of the Emory Division of Pediatric Surgery are engaged in more than 50 active research projects. Since 2014, our faculty have averaged over 30 peer-reviewed publications per year and dozens of regional, national, and international podium presentations.

The variety of research projects in the division offer multiple opportunities for rewarding mentorship. Examples of our research activity include:

  • Dr. Matthew Santore and Dr. Amina Bhatia's trauma care-related projects, including an intramurally funded national survey of the use of ultrasound in trauma assessment. 

  • Dr. Megan Durham's collaborations with engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a phone-based application to assist children in the Division's colorectal and bowel management clinic. 

  • Dr. Matthew Clifton and Dr. Mark Wulkan's continued national leadership in assessing outcomes for newborns undergoing minimally invasive surgical intervention. 

  • Dr. Kurt Heiss' status as an authority in surgical quality and safety, particularly as a frequently published author on these topics.  

Opportunities exist to collaborate with undergraduates, medical students, students from the Rollins School of Public Health, and with our own Pediatric Biostatisitical Core. Monthly research meetings serve as a forum for learning basic skills related to health services research, for practicing presentations, and for interacting with local researchers.

Past Fellows

Heather Short, MD: 2015-2017

Katherine Baxter, MD: 2016-2018

Research Fellowship Publications

"Variation in preoperative testing and antireflux surgery in infants." Short HL, Braykov NP, Bost JE, Raval MV. Pediatrics. 2017 Jul 28. [Epub ahead of print]

"Challenge of balancing duration of stay and readmissions in children's operation." Short HL, Parakati I, Heiss KF, Wulkan ML, Sweeney JF, Raval MV. Surgery. 2017 Jul 11. [Epub ahead of print] [PubMed]

"A survey of pediatric surgeons' practices with enhanced recovery after children's surgery." Short HL, Taylor N, Thakore M, Piper K, Baxter K, Heiss KF, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Jun 17. [Epub ahead of print]

"Exploring regional variability in utilization of antireflux surgery in children." Short HL, Zhu W, McCracken C, Travers C, Waller LA, Raval MV. J Surg Res. 2017 Jun 15;214:49-56.

"Implementation of an enhanced recovery protocol in pediatric colorectal surgery." Short HL, Heiss KF, Burch K, Travers C, Edney J, Venable C, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 May 12. [Epub ahead of print]

"Defining the association between operative time and outcomes in children's surgery." Short HL, Fevrier HB, Meisel JA, Santore MT, Heiss KF, Wulkan ML, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2017. [Epub ahead of print]

"Regional variation in rates of pediatric perforated appendicitis." Sarda S, Short HL, Hockenberry JM, McCarthy I, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Feb 21. [Epub ahead of print]

"Cost comparison of initial lobectomy versus fine-needle aspiration for diagnostic workup of thyroid nodules in children." Baxter KJ, Short HL, Thakore MA, Fisher JG, Rothstein DH, Heiss KF, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2016 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]

"Increased morbidity and mortality in cardiac patients undergoing fundoplication." Short HL, Travers C, McCracken C, Wulkan ML, Clifton MS, Raval MV. Pediatr Surg Int. 2017 May;33(5):559-567.

"Improving ultrasound for appendicitis through standardized reporting of secondary signs." Partain KN, Patel AU, Travers C, Short HL, Braithwaite K, Loewen J, Heiss KF, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2016 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print]

"Clinical validity and relevance of accidental puncture or laceration as a patient safety indicator for children." Short HL, Heiss KF, Wulkan ML, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Jan;52(1):172-176.

"Return to the system within 30 days of discharge after pediatric appendectomy." Short HL, Sarda S, Heiss KF, Chern JJ, Raval MV. Am Surg. 2016 Jul;82(7):626-31.

"Enhancing recovery in pediatric surgery: A review of the literature." Shinnick JK, Short HL, Heiss KF, Santore MT, Blakely ML, Raval MV. J Surg Res. 2016 May 1;202(1):165-76. Review.

Inquiries and Contact

Interested applicants should contact either of the two following faculty:

Matthew Clifton, MD

Program Director, Pediatric Surgery Residency & Clinical Research Fellowship, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Mark Wulkan, MD

Professor of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine