Duration: One year
No of seats and timing: Three per year. Two in general seats and one for sponsored. Maximum number of fellows at any time is three.
Exams are held twice in a year for January and July sessions depending on the vacancy, with the process starting 3-4 months before. Details are available on the AIIMS website (www.aiims.exam.org)
Accreditation: Fellowship certificate and certificate of teaching experience are awarded by AIIMS after the successful completion of tenure and the exit exam
Eligibility: MD/DNB Radio-diagnosis with a 3-year mandatory senior residency from MCI recognised teaching hospital/institute.
Entrance Exam: Two step examination. Stage I is computer based theory exam of 60 marks which consists of 60 MCQs with most of the questions being from Pediatric Radiology and the rest from general radiology and physics. 50% marks are required to pass this first part. Based on merit and availability of the seats, candidates equalling three times the number of available seats will be called for the stage 2 examination. Department assessment is of 40 marks in which two long cases are allotted related to Pediatric radiology followed by spotters (also on pediatric radiology), both of which consist of 20 marks each. The final result is based on combined stage I and stage II marks.
Fellowship Structure: The fellowship is a mixture of diagnostic as well as interventional radiology. Intervention is primarily non vascular; however there is full freedom to assist in vascular intervention as well.
Diagnostic: The diagnostic component pertains to pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery imaging. The training is imparted under an expert team of dedicated pediatric radiologists. Various subspecialities including pediatic pulmonology, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric surgery, pediatric neurology and pediatric endocrinology and genetics practice at AIIMS, giving wide exposure to subspecialty level reporting. Accordingly, the pediatric radiology faculty also have subspecialty level interests such as pediatric neuroradiology, pediatric chest radiology, pediatric intervention etc .
As AIIMS is the apex institute of referral, one gets exposure to all kind of cases, including the rarest of the rare. Diagnostic component includes cases of pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery, including congenital malformations, infections, tumors, pediatric ILD, and neoplasms with good clinical details as well as follow-up. There is great exposure of neonatal ultrasound as well and fellows have to frequently go to NICU or PICU for bedside ultrasound. There is separate trauma building in AIIMS with a separate radiology department where imaging of all (pediatric and adult) trauma is performed. Fellows may go and see the cases of trauma, if time permits.
Intervention: There is full exposure to hands-on non-vascular interventional procedures which include guided (USG or CT) aspirations and drainage, PCN, PTBD, sclerosant therapy in lymphovascular malformation, and esophageal dilatation in cases of stricture. Interventions are under the supervision of dedicated pediatric intervention faculty. The procedures are done either in the department or bed side, and the pediatric fellows get the call for the same. Junior or senior residents are posted in intervention to assist for the procedures as well. Other intervention procedures performed include RFA for osteoid osteoma, TIPS for Budd Chiari etc, in which fellows can assist in the procedures. In the DSA lab, fellows have full freedom to observe other adult interventional procedures like TACE for HCC, uterine artery embolization etc.
Academic Activities and Mutidisciplinary meets: The fellow gets the opportunity to attend multiple weekly clinico-radiological meets, including pediatric neurology, pediatric pulmonology with oncology, pediatric oncology, pediatric surgery and genetics, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric endocrinology, and nuclear medicine. The fellows along with junior and senior residents posted have to present all cases; however the primary responsibility falls on the pediatric fellow. Cases to be discussed are sent to radiology department one day prior to the meets for us to have a look.
In addition to this, pediatric fellows have to present either an interesting cases of the week or any topic allotted by the respective faculty every week.
There is no mandatory thesis which is a part of the course; however fellows can do one project during this one year course which is allotted by the faculty. It is expected from fellows to collect data and write at least one original article and various other publications depending on the time available and their inclination. Proper guidance is given by faculty in writing which not only refine your resume but is also of great help in case you want to continue in academics.
Duty Hours: Daily 9 to 5 pm except Saturday (upto 1 pm). However on the day of clinic- radio meets which usually start early in the morning, it is mandatory to reach by 8:30. Work hours can extend beyond the prescribed hours depending on the departmental work. There is no night duty. Intervention calls are attended by the senior or junior residents posted in intervention. There is no separate intervention posting. Clinicians or residents posted in intervention call the fellows in case of difficult procedures .
Fees and Salary: Nominal fee of few hundred rupees is to be paid at the time of admission to fellowship. The salary is two increments above third year senior residents, which translates to 1.3-1.5 lakhs/month including HRA at present.
Accomodation: accommodation is provided by the institute. There are ample options available around the campus in different locations as per need and comfort.
Leaves: You are entitled to 24 leaves in a year which can be availed any time, guided by the needs of the department and discretion of faculty.
Exit exam: Only practical exams conducted including spotters, two long cases followed by case based and intervention based viva. There is also a machine viva in which you have to do ultrasound in front of the examiners depicting the proper technique. There are two external examiners for the same.
Tips to secure Fellowship: In addition to general radiology texts, one must go through the AIIMS-MAMC-PGI series in Pediatric radiology. The practical part of the entrance exam includes only pediatric cases, so pediatric spotters and cases should be mastered.
Pros and Cons: In the present scenario, it is a must for radiologists to do superspecialisation, especially if one wants to work in a Medical College and wants to pursue academics in future. During this fellowship, one can see variety of pediatric cases and receives a lot of guidance for publication from the faculty. Apart from the faculty, there is a lot of academic discussion amongst junior and senior residents as well, which hones your teaching skills and helps everyone improve.
There are no cons except that there is no separate Pediatric Radiology department; however there are fixed days when CT or MRI are done for Pediatric patients.
Personal experience: It has been a great experience to work in AIIMS which is the prime institute of India. Pediatric radiology is one of the subspecialties wherein one doesn’t ample experience during residency; hence the value addition by this fellowship is tremendous.
Faculty are extremely caring, with a cordial working environment, and I got lot of guidance in not only in Diagnosis and intervention but also in the publications. All the junior and senior residents are hardworking and academically sound. I found the programme excellent and well balanced, and it has added a definite edge and direction to my career. Working in AIIMS was highly memorable and the faculty and residents are still in regular touch with me.
– Dr Poonam Sherwani, DNB, MNAMS, Fellow Pediatric Radiology (2018-2019), EDIR, DICRI
Associate Professor. Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, AIIMS Rishikesh