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Residency Programs - Pediatric

Residency Programs - Pediatric

Our Pediatric Residency Program is a three-year, ACGME accredited training program that provides a balance of inpatient and outpatient experiences for trainees.


We accept applications through ERAS. Learn more about the ERAS process.

We sincerely hope that you will consider the unique combination of features that our Pediatric Residency Program offers.

Our state-of-the-art hospital, which opened in 2013, is the only children's hospital in central Pennsylvania. It houses the region's only PICU, pediatric trauma program, and pediatric cardiac surgery program, and is home to the vast majority of the pediatric specialists in the region. This lack of local competition is a tremendous benefit to our residents, who are assured of caring for virtually every complex, critically ill or critically injured child in the region.

Our residents also encounter vast cultural diversity, since we are the children's hospital for many Amish and Mennonite populations, large farming communities, the suburbs surrounding the state capital, and a number of cities with significant immigrant communities, including Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, and York.

At the same time, we are still close enough to the East Coast for easy day trips to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, each of which is located less than three hours away. Hershey also allows for very affordable living on a resident's salary; many residents purchase homes, and those who rent often live in safe, high-quality apartments located very close to the hospital.

Given Hershey's status as a major tourist destination and nearby Harrisburg's position as the state capital, our area features many excellent restaurants, national concert tours, minor-league baseball and hockey teams, and the Hersheypark amusement park.

All applicants must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) by December 1 and must register for a PL-1 position through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Applications are considered without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.  We sponsor J-1 visas only. 

We require:

  • Personal statement
  • MSPE (Dean's letter)
  • Medical school transcript
  • USMLE or COMLEX scores
  • Three to four letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom you have worked

We do not require a letter from your department chairman.


Interviews are by invitation only, and will be conducted from mid-October through mid-January. If you are invited for an interview, you will be notified by email, and we will ask that you respond promptly so that we can do our best to accommodate your scheduling needs. We prefer to interview smaller groups each day in order to create a more personalized day. 

Interview days will begin at 7:45 a.m. and will conclude by 2 p.m.; the day will include a tour of the Children's Hospital and lunch. There will also be an optional dinner the night before your interview at a local restaurant with some of our residents.

Barbara Ostrov, M.D., Chair, Pediatric Residency ProgramAt the Penn State Children's Hospital, you will be the recipient of outstanding education and training in a community that recognizes us as their resource for healthy children as well as for children with acute and chronic illnesses. Our rural-suburban location is ideal for families; given the fact that we are the only academic children's hospital in a large geographic region, our programs provide primary and specialty care for children with a broad range of illnesses, unsurpassed by urban-based institutions. 

We are also fortunate that central Pennsylvania provides tremendous community support for the Children's Hospital and its programs and services. This includes financial support, but it also includes real understanding that we are the provider for children in this region; this community is invested in our success.

On a per capita basis, nationally, we are consistently one of the most successful beneficiaries of the Children's Miracle Network, and that support has allowed us to provide expanded equipment, services, and programs for our young patients and their families. The Penn State Pan Hellenic Dance Marathon (THON), one of the largest undergraduate-student organizations in the country, raised more than $13 million dollars in 2015 to support clinical, educational, and research programs in pediatric oncology at our hospital. Most significantly, it was the efforts of our community that resulted in the opening of our new hospital in February 2013.

As the leader of our department and our hospital, I work hard to ensure that quality of care and patient safety are our highest priorities. To that end, we are active members of the Children's Hospitals’ Association's Solutions for Patient Safety, a consortium of children's hospitals that is working together to systematically improve the quality and safety of hospitalized children throughout the U.S. The high quality of care in our hospital has also been recognized nationally in U.S.News & World Report.

We have outstanding, well-trained faculty who consistently are recognized for their teaching and mentoring skills. We also have the honor of being the home to the only two academic medical center pediatricians to be named Pennsylvania AAP Pediatrician of the Year.

By training in central Pennsylvania, our residents have unique opportunities not afforded to those in many other programs. By virtue of working so close to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, our residents and students have the opportunity to work on advocacy issues that face children and families every day. Our residents also have the important experience of caring for undeserved populations in Harrisburg and at the Milton Hershey School, a large, cost-free coeducational home and school for children from families of low income.

As the leader of our department, I have an open door to all our residents, students, and faculty; please stop by and say hello if you come for a visit.

Barbara Ostrov, M.D., Interim Chair

Brandon Smith, M.D., Director, Pediatric Residency ProgramOur program is fortunate to operate in an excellent training environment created by a very committed faculty. Although we do have fellowship programs, our hospital is fundamentally run by residents under the guidance of faculty members from every possible sub-specialty. Our faculty members actively participate in case conferences, give lectures, lead discussions, and prioritize the education of the residents.

As the residency director, it is my privilege to lead a dedicated team of pediatric educators who work hard to provide residents with the best possible education.

Jenn Miller (associate program director) leads our team of six "coaches" who have been given time away from their clinical duties to work especially closely with residents. The coaches, who come from a variety of pediatric specialties, are united around a common goal of helping each resident become the best possible pediatrician. The coaches meet regularly with each of their residents and also meet together as a group to learn new strategies from each other.

Debbi Kees-Folts (associate program director) leads a team of residents and senior educators who work together to evaluate and improve every aspect of the program. Residents are selected to serve on this team based on their own prior work in education or program improvement or their desire to learn those skills as preparation for a career in medical education.

Punit Jhaveri (director of individualized education) works with each resident to help create the optimal schedule based around the resident's career aspirations as well as the resident's current strengths and weaknesses. He is also starting to work with specific elective rotation directors to create a more individualized approach to the content of the electives.

Jody Ross (continuity clinic director) oversees the experience in our weekly continuity clinics. We are fortunate to be able to offer residents a number of different possible settings in which to have their clinic, including three academic sites, an urban under served clinic, and some private practice offices.

If you have questions about the application and interview process, please do not hesitate to be in touch with me at or by phone at 717-531-5685.

Brandon Smith, M.D., Program Director

Brandon Smith, M.D.
Residency Program Director

Stephanie McCartney
Residency Program Coordinator

Penn State Children's Hospital
500 University Drive, H085
P.O. Box 850
Hershey, PA 17033-0850

Penn State Hershey
Penn State Childrens
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State University