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Pediatric Residency

Pediatric Residency

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


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.

Hotel Information

Comfort Inn at the Park
1200 Mae Street
Hummelstown, PA 17036
717 566-2050

Directions from Baltimore/Washington International Airport

Directions from Harrisburg International Airport

Direction from Philadelphia International Airport

Interview Schedule

  • 7:45 a.m. - Arrive in the Children's Hospital lobby. You will met there by our Chief Residents and/or Coordinator
  • 8:00 a.m. - Welcome and overview
  • 9:20 a.m. - Group A - faculty interviews; Group B - Hospital tour
  • 10:35 a.m. - Group A - Hospital tour; Group B - Faculty interviews
  • 11:45 p.m. - Lunch and case conference
  • 1:15 p.m. - Wrap-up; Questions and Answers
  • 1:45 p.m. - Shuttle departs for hotel

Leslie Walker Harding, MD, Chair, PediatricsI welcome you to the Pediatric Residency Program at the Penn State Children's Hospital!  

Thank you for your interest in our program. Our vision is to train pediatricians for a fulfilling and sustained career improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents in Pennsylvania and beyond. Our children’s hospital has a long tradition as a collaborative and friendly group of faculty, nursing professionals and staff who bring exceptional care, medical education, research and advocacy to the central Pennsylvania region. We even have the honor of being the home to the only two academic medical center pediatricians to be named Pennsylvania AAP Pediatrician of the Year. We have opportunities for diverse local community involvement in rural, urban and suburban settings, and because we are situated only a short drive from the Pennsylvania State Capitol, there are also opportunities to participate in Pennsylvania’s state-level commitment to children.  

The medical field is changing; learning how to navigate health systems, excel in quality and safety innovation, participate in inter-professional collaborations, and be responsive to community needs are critical skills in today’s world. As the Chair of Pediatrics, I am committed to ensuring that our residents are exposed to all of these important aspects of healthcare delivery and health advocacy. When you complete this program, you will be ready to meet the world confident and prepared, whether you are interested in joining a community practice, pursuing a career in research, advocacy or education, or continuing your training in one of our fellowships or in a fellowship at any institution across the country.

As the newly appointed Chair of Pediatrics, I have been impressed with the quality of our outstanding residents. They are integral to our department and have been fully engaged in helping to shape their own educational experiences.

In my short time here in Hershey, I have experienced what a wonderful community this is and how many opportunities exist here personally and professionally. I invite you to apply and see for yourself. We are Penn State!

Leslie Walker-Harding, MD

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 underserved clinic, and some private practice offices.

Brandon Smith, MD, Program Director

Dana Caldwell
Residency Program Coordinator

Penn State Children's Hospital
600 University Drive, H085
Hershey, PA 17033

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State University