Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program

The University of Minnesota (UMN) Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program is a 2-year clinical training program. For individuals whose goal is to become an academic rheumatologist, opportunities for additional years of research training exist in disciplines such as public health and health administration, and basic science/immunology.

The program has graduated thirty-six Fellows, ten of whom have pursued academic careers. Since our first accreditation in 1987, our ABIM exam pass rate has been 100%. The program was fully accredited in 2005 and again in 2011, both times with no citations. Additionally, the program accepts J-1 and H-1B Visas.

The Goal of the University of Minnesota Medical Center Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program of today is to produce highly competent clinical rheumatologists who, aligned with trainee career goals and with the needs of the community, become scholarly academic educators, productive physician scientists, and/or compassionate community providers.


  • Clinic based learning is complemented by inpatient consultation/team leadership/educator experience; these experiences stimulate system quality improvement and study. To comply with ACGME duty hour rulings, Fellows take call with Faculty every fourth weekend

  • Breadth of learning is complemented by focused learning: weekly required Fellow continuity clinics, general rheumatology clinics, and condition-specific clinics (scleroderma, lupus, joint aspiration, bone metabolism, vasculitis, early inflammatory arthritis, rheumatology-dermatology) comprise the clinic "menu".

  • Care of the general rheumatology patient population is complemented by exposure to our diverse clientele (Hmong, Somali, Russian, Veterans)

  • Experiential learning is complemented by self study and learning at didactics/conferences

  • Clinical training is complemented by research experience. Over the two year training period, Fellows conduct mentored research of their choosing over a total of four months. Abstract presentation at the Annual University of Minnesota Department of Medicine Research Conference and the Annual American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Scientific Meetings are expected deliverables. During this protected research period, Fellows continue to participate in weekly continuity clinics, conference/didactic seminars, and weekend call.

Regardless of the setting or learning activity, integration of basic science, immunology, and pathophysiology into clinical rheumatology, pharmacology, pathology, and radiology is promoted in addition to the promotion of development in all six ACGME core competencies.

Feedback and Evaluation Methods

Fellows receive feedback often and in multiple ways. (Example Below)

  • An entry multiple choice test of knowledge and application.

  • Quarterly electronic competency based E-value®s.

  • 360 reviews completed by by clinic staff and patients.

  • Yearly NBME/ ACR arranged ITE scores and national percentile rankings.

Semi-annually, annually and upon completion of the Program, the Program Director personally delivers summative evaluations to the Fellows. Every three months, Fellows complete confidential evaluations of Faculty and annually evaluate Program elements and the Curriculum. Fellow contribution to Program improvement takes place in the forms of attendance at the Continuity Clinic specific operations meetings, and membership with Faculty on the Education Oversight Committee and the Program Director Feedback Club.

This Program fosters a culture of excellence and professionalism, a climate of continuous discovery and curiosity, and promotes cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Training Sites

  • HCMC
  • Regions Hospital and Health Partners Specialty Clinic
  • HCMC

    Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is a comprehensive academic medical center and public hospital located in the heart of Minneapolis. Unique to HCMC are monthly joint Radiology and Rheumatology trainee Imaging seminars, the metabolic bone disorder clinic, and a prevalence of patients with SLE in immigrant Asian populations and the younger minorities with severe nephritis. The patient case mix also favors rheumatic complications of hemodialysis and renal transplantation, complications of HIV infection, complications of hepatitis C, crystal-induced arthritis. Inpatient consultation services at HCMC provide Fellows with experience evaluating and caring for a highly diverse multi-ethnic population with complex multi-system illness and social service issues.


    University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) is a tertiary care referral hospital and hospital based clinic for the Fairview Health System for the Upper Midwest. As such, the patient population it serves is diverse; disease states include common (psoriasis, temporal arteritis) and less common (multiple sclerosis, CNS vasculitis) ones and patients with a range of no to multi-organ (eg. transplant) co-morbidities.

    Clinics include general rheumatology and diagnosis-specific clinics, such as:

    1. Joint-based rheumatology alongside orthopedics: crystal arthropathy, spondyloarthropathy, regional joint pain, degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
    2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and evaluation of positive ANA
    3. Scleroderma
    4. Vasculitis
    5. Early Inflammatory Arthritis
    6. Rheumatology-Dermatology

    Clinics in Pediatric Rheumatology and Orthopedics and instruction in Bone Densitometry interpretation are available. Patient mix in Orthopedic clinics includes individuals with sports and athletic-related problems, fractures, and non-sports related trauma and evaluation of patients for arthroplasty and bone tumors.


    Minneapolis VA Healthcare System

    The Minneapolis VA Health Care System (MVAHCS) is a modern facility serving a large veteran regional referral population. As such, Fellows develop familiarity with the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and prevention, and treatment of rheumatic diseases frequently encountered in the VA patient population, especially systemic vasculitis, surgical and medical complications of rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies, crystalline disorders. A clinic designated for joint aspirations and use of the musculoskeletal ultrasound is a highlight of the VA block rotation.

  • Regions Hospital and Health Partners Specialty Clinic

    Regions Hospital and Health Partners Specialty Clinic is one of the top 55 urban hospitals nationwide and the only urban hospital in Minnesota to be named a Leapfrog Top Hospital in Minnesota. A Level 1 Trauma Center, it serves patients referred from the Midwest and the rest of the United States. The Inpatient Rheumatology Teaching Service is highly sought after for the opportunity to learn while caring for a high volume of patients with lupus, the vasculitides and complex multisystem illnesses. There are four experienced teaching faculty. The health care system has been recognized nationally for its emphasis and leadership in quality improvement. The Health Partners Institute for Education and Research supports trainees in their research endeavors.

First Year Fellow

Anahita Alvanpour, MD

Medical School: Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
Residency Program: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Atlanta, GA

Second Year Fellows

Sahar Lotfi-Emran, MD, PhD
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
Residency Program: University of Minnesota Internal Medicine Residency Program, Physician Scientist Training Pathway, Minneapolis, MN

eric "samu' miller

Eric "Samu" Miller, MD
Medical School: University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth, MN
Residency Program: Hennepin County Medical Center, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Minneapolis, MN
About Me: I am very excited to train in Rheumatology because it is one of the few specialty fields that involves multiple organ systems and I think this makes for a fascinating, complex, and rewarding field of work. I am most excited to form new relationships and provide continuity of care to those patients that are afflicted with autoimmune diseases. I feel honored to care for people with an autoimmune disease at the University of Minnesota and its affiliated hospitals. I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota and completed the majority of my medical training at the University of Minnesota Medical School and my residency training at Hennepin County Medical Center. I am engaged and excited to be getting married in September 2018. No human children yet but we are proud parents of a golden retriever puppy named Lucy. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors including hiking, biking, running, skiing, and camping.

luke monteagudo

Luke Monteagudo, MD
Medical School: University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
Residency Program: Tripler Army Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program, Honolulu, HI
About Me: I was introduced to the world of Rheumatology during medical school in Connecticut. I explored the field further with research and patient care during my residency in Hawaii. I am very excited to continue my education in this area at the University of Minnesota where passionate faculty and diverse patient populations meet. I enjoy photography, traveling, and camping. The 'Land of 10,000 Lakes’ will be a great place to continue my love of sailing.

gabby thottam

Gabby Thottam, MD
Medical School: American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Sint Maarten, Kingdom of the Netherlands
Residency Program: Roger Williams Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program, Providence, RI
About Me: I love rheumatology for its complexity and importance in the understanding of the immune system as well as its ability to be present in most of today's population with diseases such as crystal arthropathies and osteoarthritis. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of rheumatologists during my residency in Providence, RI that showed me that rheumatologists are not only brilliant and caring-but also love what they do! In my free time, I am usually in the kitchen working on my culinary skills, jumping rope, or planning my next adventure. Growing up in Ohio, I am beyond excited to return to the Midwest after spending the last 4 years in NYC and New England. I love the outdoors and am hoping to rescue a dog to become my new hiking partner! I look forward to continuing my education here at the University of Minnesota as well as exploring this beautiful state!

Third Year Fellow

matt mcelwee

Matt McElwee, MD, PhD
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH (2015)
Residency: University of Minnesota Internal Medicine Residency Program, Minneapolis, MN (2017)