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Pediatric Residency Program

A. Rabbani, MD
Chief, Department of Pediatrics
Director, NICU and SCN

D. Ziegler, MD
Program Director
Director, General Pediatrics

L. Stewart, MD
Assistant Program Director
Staff Pediatrician

H. Sawaf, MD
Vice-Chief, Department of Pediatrics
Director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

N. Relich, MD
Co-Director, NICU and SCN

M. Thirumoorthi, MD
Director, Pediatric Infectious Diseases

A. Witkowski, MD
Director, Pediatric Intensive Care

R. Hertz, DO
Director, Osteopathic Program

A. Prabku, MD
Director, Pediatric Cardiology

H. Lyons, MD
Director, Pediatric Gastroenterology

M. Saberi, MD
Director, Pediatric Nephrology

R. Salazar, MD
Director, Pediatric Allergy

M. Thirumoorthi, MD
Director, Pediatric Infectious Diseases

K. Alton, MD
Director, Adolescent Medicine

C. Petroff, MD
Director, Pediatric Clinic

M. DeGraw, MD
Director, Child Protection Unit

B. Degnan, MD
Director, Pediatric Endocrinology

I. Allarakhia, MD
Director, Pediatric Neurology

M. Cullen, MD
Director, Pediatric Surgery

J. Adams, MD
Staff Neonatologist

R. Casabar, MD
Staff Neonatologist

M. Duenas, MD
Staff Neonatologist

D. Patel, MD
Staff Neonatologist

D. Transue, MD
Staff Endocrinologist

P. Gerrits, MD
Staff Endocrinolgist

A. Lorenzana, MD
Staff Hematologist/Oncologist

B. Dekelbab, MD
Staff Endocrinologist

M. McMillan, Ph.D
Staff Pediatric Psychologist

P. Anne, MD, MPH
Staff Cardiologist

M. Ayas, MD
Staff Gastroenterologist

R. Farjo, MD
Staff Infectious Diseases

B. Hamzeh, MD
Staff Pediatrician

S. Raza, MD
Staff Pediatrician

C. Bauerfeld, MD
Staff Pediatric Intensive Care

The goal of the physicians involved in the pediatric training program is to prepare intelligent and dedicated physicians to become outstanding pediatricians. We also strive to provide an excellent base for those pediatricians who wish to develop their potential as pediatric subspecialists. Our diverse population base, our status as a referral center, our full-time staff dedicated to teaching and our superior residents have posted some impressive number including a 97% pediatric board passing rate over the past seven years (94% on the first attempt) and a five-year accreditation.

Other facts which document the quality of our program includes the following: The St. John residents had the third highest score of the 214 Pediatric training programs in the United States. One of our third year Chief Residents had the highest in-training exam score of any resident in the country this past year. Former residents have been chosed for fellowships in such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Baylor, and the Mayo Clinic.

We continuously adapt the training program with significant input from our pediatric residents to maximize the learning experience for our residents.

First-Year Resident
  • Inpatient Pediatrics 4 months
  • Ambulatory Pediatrics* 3 months
  • Neonatology 1 month
  • Acute Care Experience 1 month
  • Emergency Room 1 month
  • Subspecialty Elective 1 month
  • Adolescent Medicine 1 month
Second-Year Resident
  • Inpatient Pediatrics 2 months
  • Ambulatory Pediatrics 3 months
  • Neonatology 2 months
  • Pediatric Intensive Care 1 month
  • Subspecialty Electives 2 months
  • Behavior/Development 1 month
  • Elective 1 month
Third-Year Resident
  • Inpatient Pediatrics 1 month
  • Ambulatory Pediatrics 2 months
  • Pediatric Intensive Care 1 month
  • Subspecialty Electives 3 months
  • Ambulatory Subspecialty 1 month
  • Community Preceptorship 1 month
  • Elective 1 month
  • Neonatology 1 month
  • Emergency Room 1 month

*Option of doing one month OB-Gyn instead of one month ambulatory pediatrics. If this option is taken, the resident can meet State of Michigan DO internship year requirements.

Outcomes-Based Data

The program continues to receive the maximum 5-year approval by the residency review committee of the ACGME review after review. Residents continuing with training in fellowship programs the last few years have been offered and have accepted fellowships from competitive programs such as Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Michigan and Baylor. The American Board of Pediatrics publishes the data of board passing rate for first time takers in each and every program in the country on their website (www.abp.org). Over the last several years the 3-year moving average has been 89-94%. We have repeatedly been the 1st or 2nd highest in the state for years. We embrace the concept of reduced work hours for residents and are fully compliant on all particulars on each rotation. We stay abreast with ongoing technology. Residents are provided with the most current handheld device equipped with appropriate software. It is theirs to keep at the conclusion of their residency. We participate in a web-based system for evaluations, scheduling and documentation of procedures. Residents meet as a group every other month with the Chief and Program Director to give input on these and other matters.

Pediatric Inpatient Service

Children with a wide variety of conditions are seen at SJH&MC. As pediatric residents progress, they have increasing responsibility in the management of these children. The first-year resident has primary responsibility for initial assessment and daily total care for the patient on the pediatric floor. This care is provided under the close supervision of the senior pediatric resident and full-time teaching staff. The second-year resident has primary responsibility on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit under appropriate supervision. The third-year resident has greater responsibility for supervision of other residents. Work and teaching rounds are conducted daily by members of the full-time teaching staff.

The diversified interests of the full-time staff enhance the resident’s learning experience. A wide variety of pediatric surgical problems are also seen. The pediatric resident assumes co-responsibility with the surgical resident for evaluation and follow-up of patients with surgical problems.

Ambulatory Pediatrics

Considerable emphasis is placed on pediatric outpatient medicine. Over one-half of the resident's experience is set in one of the ambulatory venues. Full-time pediatric generalists directly supervise the pediatric residents in the clinic.  The hospital clinic includes continuity clinics, both well and sick general clinics, plus subspecialty clinics such as hematology/oncology, dermatology, allergy, cardiology, neurology, child development, endocrinology, gastroenterology and pulmonology. Each individual clinic is supervised by board certified staff in the specific subspecialty. In addition, one month in the first year is spent in the after-hours pediatric acute care clinic. One month in the third year is spent in ambulatory opthamology, urology, nephrology, and otolaryngology.

Emergency Room Rotation

St. John Hospital and Medical Center is a trauma center. Visits average approximately 70,000 per year, 22,000 of which are pediatric patients. The pediatric resident spends two month-long block rotations in the pediatric and trauma modules of the ER. During the third-year block experience, they are the sole senior resident in the pediatric unit during their assigned hours of coverage.


The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at SJH&MC is one of the busiest in the state and one of the major referral centers for critically ill newborns in southeast Michigan. A large portion of the approximately 5,000 deliveries per year at St. John are maternal transfers. This allows the pediatric resident to be involved with intensely ill newborns from the moment of birth until discharge from the hospital. The NICU is staffed by six board certified neonatologists. Pediatric residents are given increasing autonomy in the handling of critically ill newborns as they progress though the program. Skills such as umbilical artery and vein catheterization, intubation and management of mechanical ventilation are just a few of the techniques learned during rotation through this unit.

Subspecialty/Elective Rotations

A wide variety of subspecialty electives are available to pediatric residents at St. John Hospital. Subspecialty choices are made by the resident to tailor the residency experience to meet his/her needs. All subspecialty rotations are supervised by board-certified subspecialists interested in teaching.

Community Pediatrics

Each resident spends a block month with a pediatrician preceptor during which he/she is instructed about advocacy for children, health needs of children and insurance and government impact on health care delivery. Also, all residents spend time in school-based clinics and are given the opportunity to attend diabetic and/or asthma camp.  (Dr. Transue is one of the Directors of the Michigan Diabetes Camp for Children).

Teaching Sessions

Morning Report

Morning report is held each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. This meeting is directed by the senior residents and is attended by full-time and private staff as well as all pediatric residents and students. During this conference, recently admitted cases are discussed.

St. John Pediatric Conferences

Weekly conferences are held each Tuesday morning. The first Tuesday of each month is a guest lecture by a visiting professor. On the second Tuesday of each month, there is a formal departmental meeting conducted by the Chief of the Department. At this meeting, topics relating to hospital planning, departmental changes, economic questions, etc., are discussed. These meetings are of value to the residents in preparing them for office, hospital and community responsibilities. The third Tuesday of each month, a pediatric radiology conference occurs. Current patients with interesting X-rays are used as a starting point for hour-long formal instruction. Pediatric Grand Rounds occur on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Full-time and private staff discuss patients with interesting or unusual diseases.

Pediatric Journal Club

This meeting occurs twice a month. One meeting is evidenced-based. The resident researches a clinical question in the literature and presents the evidence from the literature. The other meeting is a critical appraisal conference in which residents learn how to properly read and digest journal articles.

Clinical-Pathology Conference (CPC)

During the CPC, residents discuss the differential diagnosis, work-up, findings and final diagnosis. Each resident is assigned two CPCs during the 3-year residency, with the complexity increasing corresponding to the resident’s year of training.

Teaching and Work Rounds

Work and teaching rounds occur daily on the infant and child units, child and adolescent units, nursery and neonatal units, and pediatric intensive care units.

Noon Conference

Pediatric luncheon conferences occur Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The speakers are the full faculty from St. John Hospital and Medical Center that discuss subjects from a variety of different areas in pediatrics. Free lunch is provided to the residents and students.

National Meetings

St. John Hospital and Medical Center covers the expenses for the second and third-year residents to attend annual national meetings.

Osteopathic Accreditation

The St. John residency affiliation with Oakland General Hospital is also fully accredited by the AOA.  Osteopaths may directly enter the St. John program without doing an osteopathic intern year and be fully accredited. (Minor variation occurs in the first year schedule to meet the State of Michigan requirements).


The James T. Farley Concentrated Care Building includes updated pediatric inpatient facilities, a 40-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a six-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, delivery suites, Emergency Center, operating rooms, laboratories and the Radiology Department.  The Ambulatory center was rebuilt in 2005 to allow residents and their patient a setting more akin to a private pediatrician's office. These facilities will enable us to continue to provide an up-to-date, excellent and broad educational experience in Pediatrics.

For more information please contact the Graduate Medical Education Department at (313) 343-3875, or visit the web at http://stjohn.org/physicianresources.cfm.

Medical Education Department
St. John Hospital and Medical Center
22101 Moross Road
Detroit, Michigan  48236


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St. John Hospital & Medical Center Pediatric Residents Score Second Highest in the Nation on Board Exams