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Life after Fellowship

Alum and mentors pose with arms around each other. There is a hawk sports mascot in the middle and a band plays on a stage in the background.
American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting - Atlanta, GA 
(Alum and Mentors; Dr. Kugasia 2018, Dr. Arora 2021, Dr. Khandelwal 2010,  Dr. Jolly, Dr. Shakoor 2002, Dr. Kwiatkowski 2019 and Dr. Hassan. Pictured left to right.)

The RUSH Rheumatology fellowship program strives to produce outstanding rheumatologists who retain their intellectual curiosity through lifelong learning, regardless of their career choice. We are pleased to produce a balance of superb community clinicians and medical school-based academicians. Approximately 40% of our graduates choose careers in full time academic medicine. Recent graduates include nationally recognized educationalists and investigators at the most prestigious institutions nationwide. Examples of Fellowship Training Directors among our alumni include Narender Annapureddy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Anisha Dua, Northwestern University, and Augustine Manadan, RUSH University Medical Center. Investigators include Rohit Aggarwal, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Berna Goker, Professor and Chief of Rheumatology at Gazi University Medical School in Ankara, Turkey, and Najia Shakoor, Professor at RUSH. However, we are equally proud of our clinically-based graduates who provide critical services in their communities and often continue to serve the national Rheumatology community through service on committees of the American College of Rheumatology as well as their local foundations.

These are just a few sentiments shared by our alum.


The clinical exposure across RUSH and County hospitals is phenomenal and more than cover the entire spectrum of rheumatology. The resources available for clinical research including the option for pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Research concurrently with fellowship are exceptional. If I had to redo my fellowship I can not think of a better place to do my training.

-Narender Annapureddy, MD RUSH Class of 2014

At RUSH I was provided with excellent mentors, now lifelong, who shared my dedicated interest in education. I was able to conduct several research studies focusing on aspects of medical education as they related to rheumatic disease. I was also given the resources, guidance and clinical exposure necessary to launch my career as an educationalist. The two years I spent at RUSH had the most profound impact on my career. I will forever be grateful and treasure my time there. -Alysia Kwiatkowski DO, MS RUSH Class of 2019

My fellowship at Rush truly shaped my career. It introduced me, someone truly naive and not necessarily even looking for a career in research at the time, to the fascinations of clinical investigation. Without the mentorship and opportunities during my fellowship training, I would not have become a clinical investigator. Now, I mentor residents and students in scholarly activity, planting the same seeds that were provided to me and opening their minds to the vast opportunities of a career in medicine. I tell everyone, I have the best job in the world at the best place in the world. - Najia Shakoor, MD RUSH Class of 2000

Community Clinicians

"Rheumatology fellowship training at RUSH is a unique educational experience, it offers a rich exposure to every aspect of rheumatology and gives the opportunity to choose and excel in any career path from academia to private practice. During my fellowship at RUSH which also included the invaluable training at John Stroger hospital of Cook County I was fortunate to learn from the leaders in the field and felt well-prepared for private practice. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills to treat common conditions as well as complex cases fellows are privileged to work with an incredible faculty in a collegial and compassionate atmosphere." -Ofelya Gevorgyan, MD RUSH Class of 2019

"Excellent mentorship is one of the strongest attributes of this program. The faculty there have created an outstanding learning environment that is challenging in a positive way. Over the course of two years, I felt like part of a family and made lifelong friendships with colleagues as well as mentors. Between working at both RUSH and John Stroger Hospitals, I encountered a wide range of clinical pathology that has prepared me well enough to make me confident in my current private practice. If I had to choose a rheumatology training program again, I would choose RUSH in a heartbeat. -Aman Kugasia, MD RUSH Class of 2018

When I chose RUSH over other programs, I was looking for better clinical training. I found a deep culture of mentorship and a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient experiences that well-prepared me for the years ahead. My time in the lab also laid a foundation for future challenges. Our unique specialty obligates its practitioners to think, to seek, and to learn; and my fellowship gave me critical tools that I use daily while striving for answers in my practice. My connection with the department of rheumatology has always meant that I could ask for backup. The value of my training, and the teachers and friends I found at RUSH, cannot be overstated. -Benjamin Frank, MD RUSH Class of 2002

Class Alum Path
2018-2020 Alexsandra H Small, MD Private Practice
2018-2020 Sana Afroz, MD Community
2017-2019 Alysia Kwiatkowski, DO Academic Medicine - University at Buffalo (Senior Associate Program Director)
2017-2019 Ofelya Gevorgyan, MD Academic Medicine - Tacoma General Hospital
2016-2018 Aman Kugasia, MD Community
2016-2018 Juan Schmukler, MD Academic Medicine - Mount Sinai Medical Center
2015-2017 Stacy Weinberg, MD Academic Medicine - NorthShore University HealthSystem
2015-2018 Jacquelin Chua, MD*  
2014-2016 Chandrahasa Annem, MD  
2014-2016 Nisarg Ghandi, MD Private Practice
2013-2015 Hajra Shah, MD Academic Medicine - Wake Forest University
2013-2015 Pamanabhan Raghu, MD Academic Medicine - RUSH University Medical Center
2012-2014 David Giangreco, MD Private Practice - Northwestern Medicine
2012-2014 Narender Annapureddy, MD Academic Medicine - Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Program Director)
2011-2013 Tanisha Mathur, MD Community
2011-2013 Justin Gan,MD Academic Medicine - NorthShore University HealthSystem
2010-2012 Aravid Gopal, MD Academic Medicine - Advocate Christ Medical Center
2010-2012 Anisha Dua, MD Academic Medicine - Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine (Program Director)
For additional alum, please email
Connect with RUSH Rheumatology & University Alumni