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Pediatric Residency Program Curriculum

With more than a million patient visits each year, our pediatric residents receive a well-rounded experience in the field of pediatrics. Our goals are to provide:

  • Diverse clinical and educational experiences that enable you to develop clinical expertise in pediatric medicine
  • Opportunities that ensure you understand the medical literature and apply the principles of evidence-based medicine when managing pediatric patients
  • Opportunities for you to develop and apply research skills to study the causes, treatment and management of childhood illness
  • Experiences that allow you to serve as educators to patients and families, the community and other healthcare providers
  • Mentoring opportunities to help you develop as a lifelong learner

Required Rotations:

  • 10 blocks Inpatient Medicine
  • 2 weeks Inpatient Hematology-Oncology
  • 2 blocks PICU
  • 6 weeks NICU
  • 1 block Newborn Nursery
  • 3 blocks Ambulatory
    • Includes one block Community Advocacy
  • 1 block Ambulatory Adolescent
  • 1 block Ambulatory Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics
  • 3 blocks Emergency Medicine
  • 1 block Subspecialty Outpatient Ambulatory Electives
    • 2 each of 2 week electives
  • 5 blocks Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty Elective
  • 6 blocks Individualized Curriculum Elective
    • Divided into 8 electives
  • Total vacation: 12 total weeks: PL 1 - 3 weeks; PL 2 - 4 weeks; PL 3 - 5 weeks


PL 1 Year

  • 2 blocks: Inpatient Hospital Medicine
  • 2 blocks: Inpatient Subspecialty
  • 1 block: Inpatient not specified
  • 1 block: 2 weeks NICU (day shifts only), 1-week Developmental Behavioral Peds (ambulatory), 1-week vacation
  • 1 block: Emergency Medicine
  • 1 block: 3 weeks Community Advocacy (ambulatory), 1 week vacation
  • 1 block: Adolescent Medicine
  • 1 block: Newborn Nursery at SUMMA
  • 2 blocks: Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty (Elective)
  • 1 block: 3 weeks Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty (Elective), 1 week vacation        

PL 2 Year

  • 2 blocks: Inpatient Hospital Medicine: Supervisor
  • 1 block: Inpatient Subspecialty: Supervisor
  • 1 block: NICU at SUMMA
  • 1 PICU
  • 1 block: Emergency Medicine
  • 1 block: Ambulatory
  • 1 block: Development Behavioral Pediatrics (ambulatory)
  • 1 block: 2 weeks Subspecialty Outpatient (elective), 1-week Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty (Elective), 1 week vacation
  • 1 block: 3 weeks Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty (elective), 1 week vacation
  • 2 blocks: 3 weeks Individualized Curriculum Elective, 1 week vacation
  • 1 block: 2 weeks Inpatient Subspecialty (Hematology-Oncology), 2 weeks Subspecialty Outpatient Hematology Oncology

PL 3 Year

  • 2 blocks: Inpatient Hospital Medicine: Supervisor
  • 1 block: PICU
  • 1 block: Emergency Medicine
  • 1 block: Ambulatory
  • 1 block: Mental Health (ambulatory)
  • 2 blocks: Individualized Curriculum Subspecialty (elective)
  • 5 Blocks: 3 weeks Individualized Curriculum Elective, 1 week vacation

Ambulatory electives:

  • Advanced Adolescent
  • Advanced Community Advocacy
  • Advanced Development
  • Amish Health and Ambulatory Genetics at the New Leaf Clinic (rural rotation)
  • Fast Track: PEM
  • Healthy Active Living
  • Locust Pediatrics (urban rotation: underserved population-including refugees and children in foster care)
  • Rural rotation

Subspecialty Medical Electives

  • Allergy-Immunology
  • Anesthesiology/Procedural Sedation
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Genetics
  • Infectious Disease
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Palliative Care
  • Pharmacology/Toxicology
  • Pulmonology
  • Radiology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rheumatology
  • Sports Medicine

Other Medical Subspecialty Electives

  • Advanced elective in any pediatric medical subspecialty
  • Advanced Newborn
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cardiac Imaging
  • Hematopathology
  • NICU: Advanced: PL 2
  • NICU: Community based at Mercy Hospital-St. Elizabeth (Mahoning Valley): PL 3
  • NICU: Introduction to NICU: PL 1
  • PICU: Advanced: PL 3
  • PICU: Introduction to PICU: PL 1

Hospital Medicine Electives

  • Hospital Medicine, Akron Campus
  • Hospital Medicine, Community-based at Akron Children's Beeghly or at Wooster Community Hospital

Pediatric Surgery Electives

  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Dentistry
  • ENT
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Urology

Other Electives

  • Administrative Leadership
  • Bioethics
  • Domestic: away rotation in the US
  • Global Health: international
  • Informatics
  • Lactation
  • Parenting
  • Procedures
  • Professional Development
  • Quality Improvement
  • Research
  • Teaching

The goal of this rotation is to provide a rich, community-based experience in which the resident:

  • Identifies community-based organizations involved in supporting the optimal growth and development of children and families in our region.   
  • Engages with community so that the resident and agencies can properly advocate for children.  
  • Develops insight into the principles of the patient centered medical home.  
  • Develops an understanding of the unique and complex circumstances of Children with Special Health Care Needs.  
  • Develops an understanding of the social determinants of health including the effects poverty, housing, income and toxic stress have on child development and health.  
  • Participates in small group discussions with faculty about diversity, racism and social determinants of health.

Rotation Overview

  • Full day experiences
    • New Leaf Center: serves the Amish population
    • Locust Pediatrics: serves our refugee population
    • Dental Clinic
    • CARE center: child abuse center
    • School Health in the Akron Public Schools
    • Reach Out and Read program
  • Half-day experiences
    • Bridges Out of Poverty - virtual
    • Legal Aid session with Akron Children’s legal aid lawyer
    • Lead Clinic, Locust Pediatrics
    • Family Child Learning Center
  • Seasonal experience
    • Hartville migrant clinic with Akron Children’s pediatricians
  • Independent scheduling - virtual
    • WIC
    • Help Me Grow/Early Intervention

Advanced Community Advocacy Elective

  • Includes completing the AAP Advocacy Training Modules.
  • Contacting federal legislators on a child health issue, based on your interests, through the AAP.
  • Submitting a one paragraph update on two different advocacy topics of your choice.  These updates will be included in the Residency program’s Weekly Wednesday E-mails to educate residents in the program about advocacy.
  • Highly recommended: Select an advocacy issue to work on as your required residency QI project.

Advanced Community Advocacy Elective: Clinical Requirements

  • The resident must choose and attend 6 half-day sessions from the following areas during the rotation:
    • SDH: Healthy Weight Clinic
    • SDH: Care Center
    • SDH: Addiction Medicine
    • SDH: Lead Clinic, Locust
    • SDH: Dental Clinic
    • SDH: Mental Health: work with the LISW Social Workers in the BHU in the ED
    • DEI: Center for Gender Affirming Medicine
    • DEI/SDH: Locust Pediatrics or ACHP East: working with the underserved and refugee/immigrant population
    • Population Health: work with the Case Manager in the ED

Adolescent Medicine Rotations

  • Interns get the opportunity to work in the Center for Gender Affirming Medicine for transgender and LGBTQ+ youth during this rotation.
  • The Center’s team includes gender-affirming physicians, medical assistants, social workers, nurse coordinators, mental health therapists and endocrinologists.
  • Residents who wish to spend more time in the Center can choose to do an Advanced Adolescent Medicine rotation.

Social Determinants of Health

  • Resident Health Equity Curriculum: During Noon Conferences
    • Overview on the Social Determinants of Health and Workshop on Food Insecurity: intern session
    • Transportation Barriers: intern session
    • Health Care Treatment Costs/Cost Effective Care: sessions occur annually

Pediatric Residency’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives

  • Resident-led Morbidity & Mortality Conferences
    • Emphasis on mitigating biases including implicit biases.
  • Resident Conversation Circles 
    • 6 sessions per year
      • Each session provides a structured format for residents to discuss a variety of topics, including race, gender identity and LGBTQ+ issues. 
  • DEI Boot Camp Session at Intern Orientation
    • Session at intern boot camp where interns spend time talking with representatives from the LGBTQ+, refugee, and the Amish communities.  
    • The goals are for our interns to:
      • Learn how members of these groups experience living in Akron and interact with the health care system.
      • Discuss ways that our residents can help advocate for their well-being.

Hospital Supported Community Events and Programs

  • Read to Me Day
  • Akron Children’s pays your registration fee for the Akron Marathon
  • Akron Canton Regional Food Bank at Akron Children's
  • Annual Have a Heart do your part Radiothon
  • Harvest for Hunger Program
  • Annual Kids are #1 Run

Resident Opportunity in Global Health: Dominican Republic at the Oscar de la Renta Pediatric Center

  • Managed in partnership with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health, Servicio Nacional de Salud, Akron Children's Hospital and Grupo Puntacana Foundation.
  • Serves a population of more than 15,000 children living in the underserved communities in and around Veron Punta Cana. 
  • Services are rendered free of charge, with a modest fee for laboratory services.
  •  The facility diagnoses and treat common illnesses, offers regular checkups and immunizations, take x-rays and scans, and tracks children's growth progress.
  • Residents work in an ambulatory pediatric clinic.
  • Safe lodging for residents in a suburb in Punta Cana. 
  • Safe transportation:
    • To and from the airport to lodging
    • To and from lodging to the clinic
    • To and from the Westin Hotel in Punta Cana which is on the beach: residents can use the hotel’s facilities

Global Health Partnership with NEOMED for Residents

  • Clinical experiences and rotations
    • Work with our medical team at one of our academic partner institutions in India, Nepal, Kenya, Colombia, Mexico.
  • Community health in remote settings
    • Work with health program teams to improve healthcare in poor, disadvantaged, and remote communities in India, Nepal, Kenya.
  • Global research and innovation
    • Work with NEOMED and international researchers or team up with innovators at the Nepal and India innovation centers and help solve medical challenges.

NICUs Where our Pediatric Residents Rotate

  • NICU at Akron Children’s (ACH) Akron campus (Main): Level 4 NICU
    • Faculty: ACH Neonatologists
    • No onsite deliveries
    • 75 beds
  • Akron Children's NICU at Summa Health System - Akron Campus: Level 3 NICU
    • 5 miles from our ACH Akron campus
    • Faculty: ACH Neonatologists
    • Onsite deliveries
    • 22 beds
  • Akron Children's Hospital NICU at St. Elizabeth: Level 3 NICU
    • 1 hour away from our Akron Campus
    • Faculty: ACH Neonatologists
    • Onsite deliveries
    • Elective site for those residents interested in becoming Neonatologists 
    • 25 beds

Intern NICU Required PL 1 Rotation 

  • 2-week PL 1 rotation (1 week at Akron campus; 1 week at SUMMA)
    • Work 6a-4p M-F and 2 weekend mornings per month
    • There is no overnight coverage required

PL 2 Required Rotation 7/2024-2025

  • PL 2s will rotate at the NICU at SUMMA 
    • 2 weeks: Total of 6 shifts; 12-hour day shifts for rounds and deliveries 
    • 2 weeks: Total of 6 shifts; 12-hour night shifts for admissions, consults, and deliveries
    • No weekends or holidays required
    • Goal of more autonomy and less "learner competition" for delivery experience

Delivery Experience

  • Residents who are interested in NICU can do
    • Introduction to NICU: PL 1
    • Summa NICU Delivery Experience: P: 2
    • Advanced NICU
    • Community NICU
    • Community-based Hospital Medicine Rotation: Wooster

Goal of the QI Curriculum

  • Residents will be able to discuss QI methodology by actively participating in group QI projects
    • Exposure to multidisciplinary work groups, hospital logistics, presentation skills along with QI methodology


  • All residents are required to be actively involved in a QI project each academic year with an aim statement, key driver diagram, collection of data and completion of at least 1 PDSA cycle per academic year.
  • Residents present their QI projects each fall and spring during Noon Conference and turn in group summary and individual reflection
    • 3 didactic Noon Conference sessions/year (1 for interns only and 2 for all residents)
    • 2 Noon Conference sessions that are broken into smaller groups to share progress and learning
    • Friday Noon Conference time is available for QI group work (as requested by residents) with support from quality services to help with their QI projects during this time
  • Residents complete 2 or 3 online IHI Open School modules each year (different for each academic year)

Residency QI Committee

  • QI Residency Leadership Team: Dr. Samantha Gunkelman, Dr. Sladjana Courson, and a designated chief resident
  • Dr. Gunkelman and the designated chief resident serve as representatives from the residency program to the Hospital Based Care QAPI.
  • Assistance from ACH’s Quality Services
    • Gives didactic presentations to the residents on QI.
    • Provides support to the residents at group QI work sessions at Noon Conferences.
    • Provides feedback at small group Noon Conference sessions.
    • Provides feedback with individual group projects as needed.

QI Elective

  • Elective is offered to senior residents with expectation that residents will:
    • Obtain IHI Open School Basic Certification.
    • Work on one’s QI group project with time allotted to prepare to present or publish one’s QI Project if desired.
    • Implement QI methodology in one’s QI project (pareto charts, control charts, process mapping, FMEA, etc.).
    • Participate in Quality Service activities/committees; including attending quality services morning huddle, safety rounds, and QI committee meetings.
  • Much of this work during this elective can be done remotely.

Resident QI Projects from the 2022-23 Academic Year

Several resident group QI projects were focused on advocacy.

  • Improving Inpatient Resident Rotations Effectiveness
  • Reducing Pain with Needles
  • Inpatient Asthma Improvement (Discharge Checklist/Home Health/MATH referrals)
  • Improving Resident Breastfeeding Support
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Firearm Safety
  • Discharge Patient Instructions
  • Discharge by Noon
  • Improving Patient Experience for those with Autism
  • Resident Efficiency
  • Emergency Transfer/Situational Awareness
  • Screening for Sex Trafficking
  • ET Tube Code Sheet
  • ED to Inpatient Handoff
  • Nighttime Curriculum

Research Curriculum

Although we do not have a specific research requirement at Akron Children’s, all residents are required to be actively involved in a QI project, as well as prepare M&M and noon conferences and participate in a journal club/EBM, which is all scholarly work.

Resident Presentations and Publications

In recent years, our residents have presented and published research. Residents that are interested in research have plenty of opportunities to participate.

Year Presentations Publications
2023 5 2
2022 4 4
2021 5 3
2020 3 4

Recent resident publications:

Additional information about resident scholarly activity can be found here.

This is a longitudinal 18-month curriculum track for second- and third-year residents that begins in January of every academic year.

  • It is administrated by the chief residents.
  • The faculty mentors are Dr. Heksch and Dr. Ramundo.
  • Residents receive 6 foundational lectures on medical education topics from faculty and the chief residents.
  • Each resident in the track is required to give 4 presentations on pediatric topics to M3 students during their pediatric clerkships.
  • There are additional opportunities for mentoring sub-interns.
  • Residents complete a curriculum project over the course of the track: can work in pairs or in a group.
  • Residents are required to complete a Teaching elective in their PL 3 year and enroll in our program’s Residents as Teachers Track (RAT Tract).

Our simulation curriculum takes place at the Akron Children’s Simulation Center for Safety and Reliability, a 30,000 square foot center located in downtown Akron 1 mile from our main campus. The Simulation Center provides a fully integrated learning experience, including faculty observation areas with audio/video capability for evaluating and debriefing participants.

Purpose of the Simulation Curriculum

  • Prepare interns entering our program for their clinical roles
  • Enable residents to learn procedures in a safe environment
  • Enable residents to work as team members and team leaders during resuscitations
  • Enable residents to apply NRP principles at deliveries in order to effectively and efficiently resuscitate newborns
  • Prepare residents to deliver difficult news to patients and their families
  • Ensure that residents can perform LPs and effectively BVM patients who are in respiratory failure

Resident Simulation Curriculum

  • Intern boot camp
  • Term Newborn (TN) and PEM Simulation Curriculum
  • NICU simulation curriculum
  • Mastery training
  • Procedures: UVC, IO, peripheral IVs, intubation, trach care and changes, OG/NG placement, bladder catheters, BVM ventilation, lumbar punctures and circumcisions
  • In-situ multidisciplinary simulations

Mandatory Intern Orientation

Starts after 6/15 annually. Intern attendance is required.

  • PALS and NRP courses
  • EPIC training
  • Intern “boot camp”
    • 2.5 days of multidisciplinary and multimodal simulation at the Simulation Center
      • Simulators
      • Standardized patients
      • Didactics
      • Procedural skills stations
    • 2022 numbers – 36 standardized patients, 39 faculty
    • Cases
      • Adolescent Abdominal Pain in the PED
      • Shared Decision-Making
      • Sick vs. Not-Sick Mini-Cases
      • Seizure Resuscitation
      • Asthma Floor Team Admission
      • Family Centered Rounding
      • Medication Reconciliation/Discharge Planning
      • Mindfulness
      • DI/SA scoring
      • “An Afternoon on the Impatient Floor Team”
      • DEI Panel Discussion
    • Skills
      • LPs
      • BVM
      • Auscultation of Murmers

Longitudinal Simulation Curriculum – TN/PEM


  • PGY-1 on their TN rotation
  • All residents during their PEM rotations

Schedule during the 4 week block

  • 3 Friday sessions with the simulation team
  • 1 Friday session with the Palliative Care team on “Breaking Bad News”

Each 4-hour session is on Friday afternoons

  • Procedural skills for 2 hours
  • Team-based simulation case for 2 hours

NICU Simulation Curriculum


  • Interns and PL 2 residents on their NICU rotations


  • 4 Fridays during the block


  • Three 1-hour: low fidelity NRP (delivery) simulations
  • One 4-hour: high fidelity simulation with procedural skills training


  • Decision to Intubate
  • Decision to Start Chest Compressions
  • Premature Infant Considerations


  • Warmer Set-Up: Neo-Puff
  • PPV/Intubation
  • Emergent UVC
  • Thoracentesis

Mastery Training

  • Rising PGY-2 and PGY-3s demonstrate mastery at LP and BVM prior to start of next academic year
  • Combined with Just-In-Time Training

In-SITU Mock Codes

  • 79 hospital mock codes were held in 2022; 49 in 2021; 79 in 2020
  • Multidisciplinary Health Care Team, including residents

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