Message from the Director

Carlen Fifer Headshot

Carlen Fifer, M.D.
Fellowship Program Director

I’m Carly Fifer, the Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Director at the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center.  Thank you for your interest in our program!

Here at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we pride ourselves in training the most outstanding academic Pediatric Cardiologists who are leaders in our field, something we have been doing for over 40 years!  How do we provide such consistently excellent training in Pediatric Cardiology?  Through our unique structure of fellowship training, housed within our world-renowned congenital heart center which provides a patient population ideal for learning, all within an uncommonly supportive and collegial environment, committed to the equity and well-being of all who work and are cared for at our heart center.

The Michigan Congenital Heart Center is a center of excellence for the care of children and adults with all forms complex congenital heart conditions.  Our heart center provides a high volume, high acuity, exposure to every aspect of pediatric cardiology, from common cardiac disorders to groundbreaking therapies, from fetal life through adulthood and all ages in between.  Because we are a large referral heart center in a medium sized college town, we see a higher proportion of abnormal pathology every single day compared to other large centers.  This creates the ideal learning environment where our fellows are exposed to tremendous breadth and complexity in all subspecialties.

Our heart center is also home to the Michigan Congenital Heart Outcomes Research and Discovery (MCHORD) Program, which is our nationally recognized research unit that provides dedicated mentorship, guidance, and education to our fellows through all aspects of scholarly activities.  Our center and faculty are leaders in many national clinical research initiatives, including PC4, PAC3, CNOC, NPC-QIC and the Pediatric Heart Network, providing numerous additional fellow opportunities for collaborative projects.

One of the most unique aspects of our fellowship that really solidifies the exceptional clinical experience is our graduated autonomy approach to training. Each fellowship year has different service and on call responsibilities, which build on the fellow’s education and experience. Through this graduated approach, fellows gain responsibilities as they learn, not over a crash course of days but over months, developing the necessary foundation first. This approach fosters the skill to perform procedures and care for patients at the highest level of precision and independence. We consider all their rotations in fellowship as a progressive, more humane approach to “boot camp”!

Finally, what I believe truly sets our program apart are all our amazing faculty and staff within the Michigan Congenital Heart Center, who create the culture of support and teamwork that is a hallmark of the Michigan Fellowship and fosters the ideal learning environment. Our faculty, who are all gifted clinicians and scholars, have an unwavering commitment to training our fellows, and prioritize teaching during every aspect of patient care. Many were fellows at Michigan themselves, and are committed to paying forward the unparalleled education they received, to the next generation of Michigan-trained pediatric cardiologists.

As I hope you can see, it is our top priority at the University of Michigan to foster the development of exceptional, well-rounded pediatric cardiologists who are outstanding clinicians and colleagues first and foremost, who have a passion for research and education, and who value equity and collaboration.

We truly believe that those who come to Michigan, will be the Leaders and Best in our field! Go Blue!

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