These are truly remarkable times for rheumatologists. When I first started, our major arsenal against arthritis was limited to gold and methotrexate, and we would admit patients to hospital for 20 or more joint injections with steroids under general anesthesia. We shared clinics with physical therapists to manage the deformities caused by diseases we couldn't treat. Scleroderma was considered untreatable, and corticosteroids were our go-to treatment for everything.
So much has changed thanks to laboratory and clinical research, including some conducted at our institution. We now have multiple classes of highly effective anti-rheumatic medications that target specific immune and inflammatory pathways. We are recognizing and effectively treating new conditions, acknowledging somatic mutation as a new mechanism of rheumatic disease, providing effective treatment for scleroderma, and witnessing the initial stages of alternatives to toxic corticosteroids for controlling acute disease.
Despite these advances, there is still much work for the next generation of rheumatologists. We still lack a fundamental understanding of the underlying causes of most diseases we encounter, there are undoubtedly more diseases waiting to be recognized, and we need to learn how to translate all these advances into treatments. While the need for compassionate care remains constant, our ethical responsibilities now include a greater and specific focus on issues of equity, inclusivity, and diversity, both in terms of patient care and our training environment.
To meet these challenges, it is crucial that we continue to train exceptional future rheumatologists. Our goal is to equip every Fellow with the skills necessary to provide the highest quality of clinical care and also help them achieve their individual career aspirations. We emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and quality improvement, and the understanding that the future of rheumatologic care relies on Fellows and graduates supporting research and education.
In recent years, we have significantly expanded the scope of our program to foster the career development of physicians who aspire to excellence as practicing clinicians. To facilitate Fellows achieving their specific career goals, we have developed individual tracks for second-year Fellows, including advanced clinical, education, and quality improvement options. We are also open to Fellows exploring novel interests.
With a rich history of training physician-scientists, we offer two types of research training in Fellowship. All Fellows are eligible to choose the research track for their second year of the standard two-year Fellowship, but we also offer select trainees a three-year Fellowship program focused on research. While the first year remains dedicated to clinical training, the subsequent two years are committed to a clinical, translational, or basic research project mentored by a senior faculty member. The goal is to equip trainees with all the tools needed to become successful independent investigators focused on improving the understanding of, and care for, people living with rheumatic diseases.
Our program boasts a relatively large group, consisting of 64 faculty members, 37 of whom actively see patients in our rheumatology clinics and 17 with major research activities. This extensive team allows us to provide comprehensive patient care and engage in diverse academic activities, including specialized clinical and research programs. All our Fellows benefit from excellent training opportunities, regardless of their career focus.
I enthusiastically welcome your interest in our Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program and invite you to learn more about us.
Rory M. Marks, MB BS
Fellowship Program Director
Rheumatology Division Chief
Our Division Chief, John Varga, MD, began his appointment on September 1, 2020. Dr. Varga is the sixth Division Chief, following in the esteemed footsteps of Drs. Ivan Duff, Giles Boles, Irving Fox, Thomas Palella, and David Fox.
Dr. Varga earned his BA at Columbia University and his MD from New York University. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Rhode Island Hospital and Fellowship in Rheumatology at Boston University. Following his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Varga held junior faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He was later appointed Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Illinois Chicago, and in 2004 joined the faculty at Northwestern University as the John and Nancy Hughes Distinguished Professor of Medicine, where he established and directed the multidisciplinary Scleroderma Program.
Dr. Varga’s translational research has focused on scleroderma and fibrosis, and he is known for his work on defining TGF-beta-mediated fibrosis. In addition to his research, Dr. Varga's passion is education. He has mentored trainees at all levels, several of whom have gone on to develop successful academic careers.
Fellowship Program Director
Rory M. Marks, MB BS was appointed Director of the Rheumatology Training Program in August 2004. Dr. Marks is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. He received his undergraduate and graduate medical education at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia (1970-1976), trained in Internal Medicine, Clinical Immunology, and Pathology, and was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan from 1987-1990 before his appointment in the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Marks is board certified in Rheumatology, and maintains his original certification in Clinical Immunology and in Pathology. Dr. Marks has a strong interest in clinical care and physical examination skills.
Associate Program Director
Our Associate Program Director, David Roofeh, MD, graduated from our own Rheumatology Fellowship Program in 2019 and was appointed Associate Program Director in July 2021. Dr. Roofeh is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and member of the Scleroderma Program. He received his BA in Philosophy and Psychology (Hons) from New York University, his MD from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and completed residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College-Thomas Jefferson University/Christiana Care Health System before joining our adult Rheumatology Program. Dr. Roofeh has just accepted a position as Director of the Rheumatology Training Program at Rutgers-Robert Woods Johnson Medical School in New Brusswick, New Jersey, creating an open position for an Associate Program Director.
Fellowship & Education Program Administrator
Julie C. Welch, MAOM, MAEL, a native of Ann Arbor, joined the Division of Rheumatology in 2015. Before coming to Michigan Medicine in 2013, Ms. Welch was a principal of a prominent local property management company. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, and a Master’s Degree of Educational Leadership. Ms. Welch works closely with Dr. Marks and also with Dr. Seetha Monrad, Associate Dean for Medical Student Education.
Program Evaluation Committee: Mandated by the ACGME to advise the Program Director through oversight of all activities of the Program, with review of progress in meeting goals, guiding ongoing program improvement, and review of the operating environment. Members are appointed annually by the Program Director.
- Members: Basmah Al Dulaijan, MB BS; Dinesh Khanna, MD, MSc; Puja Khanna, MD, MPH; Wendy Marder, MD; Rory Marks, MB BS; Anne Murphy, MD; Gary Smith (Division Administrator); Aaron Stubbs, MD; John Varga, MD; Andrew Vreede, MD; and Julie Welch
Clinical Competency Committee: Mandated by the ACGME to review evaluations and assess the progress of each Fellow. Members are appointed annually by the Program Director.
- Members: Nada Abdulaziz, MBBS; Samardeep Gupta, MD; Rory Marks, MB BS; Zeinab Saleh, MD; and Andrew Vreede, MD
Senior Fellow Mentoring Committee: Provides oversight of academic activities for second year Fellows. Members are chosen for their expertise with the different tracks available for Fellows and are appointed annually by the Program Director.
- Members: J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD; Dinesh Khanna, MD, MSc; Rory Marks, MB BS; Seetha Monrad, MD; and John Varga, MD
Fellowship Selection Committee: Includes all faculty members who interview applicants for Fellowship and meets to discuss evaluations and to generate a ranked Match list.
- Members change annually and are appointed by the Program Director to represent a diversity of background and interests to applicants.
- 2022 Members: Katherine Chakrabarti, MD; Julia Ford, MD; J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD; Puja Khanna, MD, MPH; Stephanie Lazar, MD; Jacqueline Madison, MD; Wendy Marder, MD; Rory Marks, MB BS; Aaron Stubbs, MD; and Beth Wallace, MD
More than half of our faculty members have prominent roles in training our Fellows, including didactic teaching, ambulatory clinic and inpatient mentoring/supervision, and research mentoring.
Why Choose Our Fellowship Program
Learn about our strengths, clinical and research opportunities, and what makes our program stand out from the others. PLAY ALL VIDEOS.
How to Apply
All applications must be submitted through ERAS. Please do not send us applications or supporting information directly. We fully adhere to ERAS cycle deadlines.
We regret we cannot offer interviews to all the candidates that submit applications. A Fellowship committee independently evaluates each application. Based on this initial evaluation, applicants are chosen to be offered interviews. We usually interview 15-20 candidates.
Why Train at Michigan Medicine?
For more information about our Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program, please contact:
Julie C. Welch
Fellowship & Education Program Administrator
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Rheumatology
300 North Ingalls Building, Room 7C27
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5422
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Well-Being
The Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM) Division of Rheumatology is committed to creating and cultivating a diverse and inclusive community that provides our faculty, learners, and staff with the opportunities and support they need to thrive. Visit the DOIM Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Well-Being to learn more.
Salary and Benefits
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