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Message from our Vice-Chair for Medical Education, Dr. Dewesh Agrawal

D Agrawal

As the former director of our pediatric residency program (2007-2020), I am excited about your interest in our terrific program. The mission of the pediatric residency program at Children's National Hospital is to provide world-class education and innovative training experiences to pediatric residents in a nurturing environment that promotes trainee wellness in order to improve child health from a local, regional, national and global perspective through clinical care, education, advocacy and research.

Like most large residency programs based at free-standing children's hospitals, our program provides residents with extensive training in pediatric subspecialty care, as well as providing a superb foundation in general pediatrics. However, Children’s National has many distinctive features which contribute to our reputation as one of the leaders for the care of children and training in pediatrics.

One of the important attributes distinguishing Children’s National is our patient population. Washington, D.C., is a city with a pluralism of cultures, and this is reflected in our patient population. Children's National provides care for children whose families go back many generations in the District, as well as families who come from around the country and the globe. Exposure to patients and their families in this diverse and multicultural environment aids in the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that our residents use as the foundation for excellent care in any future pediatric career setting. Because of this we have become a program committed to both global health and community health.

Being in the nation's capital, we take advantage of our location to provide educational experiences for residents in both the federal government and agencies dedicated to children’s health care at national and local public health levels. Our residents can choose to participate in health policy initiatives though a partnership with The George Washington University School of Public Health. Annually, residents participate in AAP Advocacy Day through the Washington federal affairs office of the American Academy of Pediatrics where they meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill to discuss legislation impacting the health of children. In conjunction with our Office of Government Affairs and Child Health Advocacy Institute, our physicians are instrumental in formulating important city-wide, regional and national initiatives that improve health care beyond our own doorstep.

Residents are encouraged to participate in our innovative Robert H. Parrott REACH Program. This program funds second- and third-year residents with one half-day per week of protected time to work on projects in research, education and advocacy in child health care. Residents are mentored through this experience by clinical faculty and faculty from Children’s National Research Institute, offering an immense selection of projects for interested residents to explore. Every year, our residents publish the fruits of their work in peer-reviewed journals and present their projects at national meetings, including the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

Four major 3-year tracks in our program offer a chance for training in an environment best suited to individual interests. All four tracks have 24 months of pediatric training in common, ensuring that graduates are indistinguishable in their ability to provide excellent general pediatric care and are equally qualified to pursue a subspecialty career if they so choose after residency. The Primary Care Track and, the Leadership in Advocacy, the Underserved, and Community Health (LAUnCH) Track (formerly known as the Community Health Track) provide a small learning home within the larger home of Children’s National. Our Primary Care Track residents spend 10 months at the Foggy Bottom Children’s Pediatricians & Associates practice where they become an integral part of a primary care practice. The LAUnCH Track focuses on health disparities, dismantling systemic racism and the development of skills in health policy, advocacy and community health care delivery.

Our newest 3-year track commenced in 2019 for residents with substantial research experience and a desire to continue research during residency. The Children’s National Research Track offers an adjusted training curriculum that allows for up to nine rotation blocks of research elective time during the traditional 3-year residency training period. Mentorship is a central feature of the CN Research Track. A customized mentoring committee of experienced Children's National investigators is assembled for each Research Track resident. A primary research mentor is then identified based on the applicant's experience and career interests, which may be oriented toward basic science, clinical science, public health or health policy.

Opportunities housed in each of the above tracks are available to all residents, and residents who develop expertise in one track often share this expertise with their peers in other tracks. In doing so, we have found that having these tracks adds diversity and strengthens the program as a whole.

Despite the size and diversity of our program, we remain focused on the growth, development and wellness of each individual resident. Special attention is given to assisting residents in acquiring problem-solving competency, improving technical expertise and developing skills in leadership and teaching. Our annual two-day intern retreat facilitates cohesiveness within the intern class, and this camaraderie extends into the senior years. In 2002, Children’s National began a Master Teacher Leadership Development Program. Today, almost 100 of our faculty have gone through the program, which includes a minimum of 18 hours of graduate-level coursework at The George Washington University School of Education. The Master Teachers at Children’s National are integrated into our residency program, greatly enhancing the educational experience of each of our residents. For example, they have been instrumental in implementing our robust Medical Education Pathway for those residents with a passion for education.  Additionally, we have a well-developed adviser system that pairs skilled faculty mentors with residents to help guide them through their training and support them on their individualized career paths.

Our program continues to grow, both in size and academic stature. Children’s National is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 5 pediatric hospitals in the nation. Each year, our residency program receives around 2,500 applications for our 41 intern spots. In fact, we receive applications from two-thirds of all seniors at U.S. medical schools interested in pediatric residency training. At Children’s National, you will be surrounded by first-class residents while receiving world-class pediatric education and training.

Successful applicants to our program seek to extend themselves beyond just the nuts and bolts of medical management. Residents in our program develop excellent teaching skills, interpersonal and communication skills and have opportunities to participate in research, quality improvement, child advocacy and health policy initiatives. Graduates of our program are not only outstanding pediatricians, but find they have the foundation to become leaders in their communities, whether in general practice, academic medicine, subspecialty care or health policy.

I hope that you will strongly consider sending us an application, and I look forward to meeting you during your visit here.


Dewesh Agrawal, M.D.
Vice-Chair for Medical Education, Department of Pediatrics
ACGME Designated Institutional Official, Children’s National Hospital
Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences