The goal is to create a balanced training experience that will prepare fellows for a successful career in neonatology.

Throughout the three-year program, fellows benefit from:

  • A committed faculty that includes pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists
  • A large and diverse clinical service
  • Rich curriculum of multidisciplinary conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Strong research mentorship

Our curriculum and clinical service emphasize normal development and pathology during the prenatal, intrapartum and neonatal periods.

Our high-volume clinical service provides fellows with experience in the management of clinical problems, from routine newborn care to the most intensive critical care, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and cardiothoracic surgery. The number and variety of high-risk obstetrical patients ensure that fellows become knowledgeable in identifying high-risk pregnancies and evaluating fetal well-being and maturation.

Our training program is closely aligned with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Obstetrical Residency Programs at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Our division also includes a variety of research opportunities and an active neonatal follow-up program, which provides both diagnostic and referral services to infants after discharge.

For more information on our curriculum, download the Neonatology Educational Curriculum Overview (PDF).


Fellowship training begins with a one-month orientation. The orientation helps fellows become familiar with each unit and the hospital systems, to learn the daily routines and responsibilities of team members and to begin to develop relationships with members of the health care team, including:

  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nutritionists
  • Pharmacists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Ethics and palliative care experts

After the orientation, fellows start either clinical or research months, depending on their schedule, and begin to take overnight call. Research months will be spent reading and developing an idea for a mandatory scholarly activity fellowship project. By March of the first academic year, with guidance from the program director and other faculty members, first-year fellows identify an area of interest for research, select a mentor and form their Scholarship Oversight Committee.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical training rotation takes place at Brenner Children’s Hospital, a facility of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and at Forsyth Medical Center (FMC).

FMC delivers nearly 7,000 newborns a year, and more than 1,000 of these are admitted to the 40-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Brenner Children’s Hospital, including infants who require surgery in the neonatal period..

The 60-bed NICU at FMC is staffed exclusively by faculty neonatologists from the Neonatology Section of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

The nearby Ronald McDonald House serves both Brenner Children’s Hospital and FMC.

To learn more about fellowship rotations, download the Neonatology Fellowship Rotations Overview (PDF).

Research Opportunities

We understand that many graduates of pediatric residency programs have limited research experience which is why we devote a curriculum and mentorship program to research training, including regular research conferences and didactic sessions in study design, data analysis, manuscript preparation and grant writing.

Learn more about the research opportunities available through the Neonatal Fellowship program.

Global Opportunities

Modupeola Akinola, MD and Lisa Washburn, MD participate in efforts to decrease infant mortality by working with Kybele, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to improving childbirth conditions worldwide through medical education partnerships. Fellows who are interested in Kybele and other global opportunities should speak to their faculty mentor for more information.

There are two funds offered by the WFSM Office of Global Health that provides financial assistance for global health experiences. Fellows may apply to the funds one time every 12 months.

Master's in Science Program

The Department of Public Health Sciences is nationally regarded for its leadership in clinical, epidemiological and health outcomes research. Fellows in our program are eligible to apply to the Department of Public Health Sciences for admission to the Master’s Program in Science – Clinical and Population Translational Science (CPTS). The fellowship and the coursework for the master’s degree can take place simultaneously, allowing completion of both programs in three to four years.

In addition, the Office of Research regularly offers workshops on manuscript writing and presentations.

Conferences and Didactics

Included in the curriculum is a series of valuable conferences that help enhance our fellows’ learning experiences.

The conference schedule includes:

  • Brenner Children's Hospital ICN Multidisciplinary Conference
  • Chronic Care for Babies with Extended Stays (CCBES)
  • Core Knowledge Curriculum
  • Neonatology Research & Quality Improvement Conference
  • Fellows' Lecture Curriculum
  • Forsyth Medical Center Clinical Conference
  • Journal Club
  • Mortality and Morbidity
  • Pediatric Cardiac Echo Lecture Series
  • Pediatric Grand Rounds
  • Perinatal Research
  • Pediatric Surgery Conference
  • Prenatal Diagnosis Conference

Download the Neonatology Fellowship Conference Overview Guide (PDF) to learn more about each conference.