Duke–UNC Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Fellowship

Program Overview
Application Process
Application Requirements
ICGME Additional Requirements
Foreign Medical Graduates
Visa Sponsorship
Interview Selection Criteria
Interview Dates
Contact us
Social Media

Program Overview

Program Training DirectorRobert K. Lark, MD
Associated Duke Faculty: Benjamin A. Alman, MD, Anthony Catanzano, Jr., MD, Robert D. Fitch, MD, Melissa Allen, MD, Kendall Bradley, MDAmy Behman, MD
Associated UNC Faculty: Craig Louer, MDStuart Mitchell, MD; James Sanders, MDJoseph Stone, MDSamantha Tayne, MDAnna D. Vergun, MD 

Fellowship Dates: August 1 through July 31
Number of fellows: Two (Duke Institutional Committee for Graduate Medical Education accredited)

View the Program Brochure

This fellowship is in cooperation with UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. Fellows will complete a six-month rotation at each hospital, providing them with an experience to a broader range of clinical experience and hospital practices. The goal of the Duke/UNC Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Fellowship is to provide the fellows with special training and knowledge in pediatric musculoskeletal disorders, including:

  • Congenital and developmental limb disorders
  • Scoliosis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Trauma

Multidisciplinary specialty clinics include scoliosis, myelodysplasia, and cerebral palsy.

The fellows will gain extensive experience in the Ilizarov method for upper and lower extremity, Spatial Frame, and spinal deformity correction. Experience in pediatric trauma emphasizes recent trends in operative management and non-operative care.

The fellows will work closely with current residents and eight pediatric orthopaedic surgeons as they participate daily in clinics and the operating suite, inpatient rounds, and pediatric consults. In the clinic setting, the fellows will experience a mentored program designed to develop interviewing skills, expert physical examination, and judgment. In the operating room, the fellows will learn the technical aspects of surgery of the immature spine and extremities. Fellows will receive graded independent experience, including the ability to supervise resident trainees. 

Each month the fellows will participate in two joint conferences - one for complex cases and one for Pediatric Journal Club. In addition, there are monthly faculty lectures.

An extensive orthopaedic research laboratory is available to both residents and fellows. A modern fresh cadaver laboratory fully equipped with surgical instruments is available for surgical procedures and anatomic dissection. There is 24-hour access to a well-stocked orthopaedic library.


Melissa Allen earned a dual MD and MS in Clinical Research from the Medical University of South Carolina. She completed her residency at the Mayo Clinic and a pediatric orthopedic fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital and Shriner’s Hospital Houston. Before she arrived at Duke, she practiced at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Dr. Allen’s primary clinical and research interests include limb deformity, hip dysplasia, and post-SCFE impingement. She serves on committees for both POSNA and AAOS and is on the Editorial Board for CORR. Dr. Allen has a passion for education and utilizes the science of adult learning to help trainees maximize knowledge construction and skill development.

Benjamin (Ben) Alman went to medical school at Jefferson Medical College before completing his residency in orthopaedics at Tufts University School of Medicine, and a pediatric orthopaedic fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Before he arrived at Duke, Ben was the head of Orthopaedics at the Hospital for Sick Children. He now serves as Duke's Urbaniak Professor and Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery. Ben has a general pediatric orthopaedic practice, focusing on children with orthopaedic syndromes, tumors and tumor-like conditions, and neuromuscular problems. He received the Tator Mentoring Award from the University of Toronto, the Association for Surgical Education Excellence in Innovation Award, the Huene Award for outstanding contributions to pediatric orthopedics, and the outstanding clinical paper award at a recent POSNA meeting. While training with Ben, you will learn a practical approach to syndromes we see in orthopaedics, how to treat patients with deformity due to tumors or tumor-like conditions, an efficient approach to common pediatric orthopaedic conditions, and to question dogma.

Amy Behman completed a combined medical degree between the University of St. Andrews and the University of Manchester in the UK. Following this, she returned to Toronto to complete her Orthopaedic Surgery residency. During her Residency, Dr. Behman participated in the Surgeon Scientist Program and completed a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology and Healthcare Research. She truly enjoyed her time on pediatric rotations and decided to pursue a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. She also completed a second fellowship in hip preservation surgery in Switzerland. She focuses on Pediatric Orthopaedics and Hip Preservation Surgery in young adults.

Kendall Bradley was born and raised in Durham, graduated from Duke with Distinction, and was captain of the Duke women’s soccer team. She continued her education at Duke Medical School and matched at Duke University for residency. She recently completed her Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery fellowship at the University of California–San Francisco. Dr. Bradley is a sports medicine surgeon specializing in knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries. Dr. Bradley focuses on return-to-play parameters for pediatric and adolescent athletes, the development of arthritis following ACL reconstruction, and patellar instability.

Anthony A. Catanzano, Jr. attended medical school at the New York University School of Medicine before completing his orthopaedic residency at Duke University. He completed fellowship training at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California, before returning to Duke to join the faculty in 2021. Dr. Catanzano's passion for pediatric orthopaedics developed from a desire to help children overcome difficulties and limitations as they grow, whether it is scoliosis, hip dysplasia, limb deformity, fractures, or neuromuscular conditions. My goal is to support and guide patients and families through decision-making approach.

Robert Fitch completed medical school and residency training at Duke University. Following a fellowship at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, he joined the Orthopaedic faculty at Duke in 1983. In addition to his broad experience in general orthopaedics and trauma, he attends a multidisciplinary cerebral palsy clinic and is the medical director of the myelodysplasia clinic. He has specific expertise and interest in limb deformity management and has a busy spinal deformity practice. While working with Dr. Fitch, the clinical exposure will be broad and profound; there will be an emphasis on honing surgical skills and refining physical diagnosis capabilities.

Robert (Rob) Lark attended medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before completing his orthopaedic residency at Duke University. He then completed his pediatric orthopaedic fellowship at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California, before returning to Duke to join the faculty in 2010. Dr. Lark has clinical and research interests in early-onset spine deformity, pediatric trauma, and growth. Rob is an active POSNA and an SRS member, serving on committees for both organizations. Working with Dr. Lark, you will be exposed to virtually all aspects of pediatric orthopaedics, including trauma, growing spine techniques, and advanced hip reconstruction.

Craig Louer attended medical school at Duke University and orthopaedic surgery residency at Washington University in St. Louis. He completed the Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis Fellowship at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. He has published and presented research on pediatric hip conditions, scoliosis, sports medicine, and trauma. His clinical interests include spinal deformity, limb deformity, hip conditions, neuromuscular, and general pediatrics. 

James Sanders graduated with his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed a residency program in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics and scoliosis at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX. Before he arrived at UNC, Dr. Sanders was Director of Pediatric Surgical Services and Division Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics at the University of Rochester and Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, NY, and before that, Chief of Staff at Shriners Hospital for Children in Erie, PA. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of North Carolina.  Dr. Sanders has a general pediatric orthopaedic practice with a focus on scoliosis. For his work on predicting human spine growth to maturity, he recently won the Behrooz Akbarnia MD Award for Best Paper at the International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis and the Hibbs Award for Best Basic Research Paper from the Scoliosis Research Society.  His research interests are in spinal growth and skeletal maturity and improving care through quality improvement techniques.

Joseph Stone’s clinical focus includes spinal deformity, and early-onset scoliosis, with a particular interest in nonfusion procedures and advanced hip preservation techniques for select hip pathology. He joined UNC Faculty after practicing at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for nearly five years. He attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, followed by his orthopaedic residency at the University of Kentucky. He then completed his pediatric orthopaedic fellowship at Children’s Colorado. He’s a member of the Children’s Spine Study Group, POSNA, and AAOS; and currently serves as UNC Site Fellowship Director. 

Samantha Tayne attended medical school at Tufts University before returning home to Chicago to complete her residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She continued her training with a fellowship in pediatrics orthopaedics at Phoenix Children's Hospital and a second fellowship in sports medicine at Duke University. Dr. Tayne’s clinical interests include pediatric and adolescent sports-related injuries, hip preservation, and fracture care.

Anna D. Vergun’s clinical focus is on hip dysplasia, clubfoot, limb deficiency, and lower limb deformity. She completed her orthopaedic residency at the University of California Los Angeles and her fellowship in Pediatric Orthopaedics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is also interested in international issues regarding pediatric orthopaedics and access to care and serves on the medical advisory board for MiracleFeet and The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. She is an active member of the Association of Children’s Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinics, the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. She enjoys her three children and the great outdoors in her spare time.

Application Process

Accepting applications: 2025-2026 (Fall 2023)
Match participationSF Match
ICGME program number: 9900000000
Application deadline: November 1

We accept applications through the Central Application Service (CAS), a service provided through SF Match that distributes applications to training programs. Using CAS assures that applications are uniform, complete, and distributed orderly. You must register with the SF Match and pay an additional fee to access CAS. Please refer to SF Match for more information.

Application Requirements

Applicants must apply through the SF Match by completing an online fellowship application form, submitting the program application list and providing the following required documentation.

Submit the following documentation online through the Central Application Service (CAS); for details - refer to CAS Applicant Instructions.

  • Fellowship Application Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of Good Standing
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • Letters must be on official letterhead and may not be older than six months
  • USMLE/COMLEX (or equivalent) transcript - all three steps; passed within three attempts – NCMB requirement
  • ECFMG Certificate (applicable to international graduates)

ICGME Additional Requirements

To be eligible for ICGME-accredited fellowship training, Applicant must adhere to the following application requirements:

  • Applicant must provide proof that you have taken and passed all three steps (within three attempts) of appropriate medical licensure examinations (USMLE/COMLEX), which is required by the North Carolina Medical Board and is a Duke Institutional Policy for all appointees to Duke for all graduate medical trainees whether United States or international medical school graduates at the PGY-3 level or higher, as well as, qualify for a resident training license in the State of North Carolina to be eligible for employment at Duke University Hospital.

Foreign Medical Graduates: Additional Requirements

Foreign medical graduates must hold a valid and current ECFMG certificate and meet the above requirements. Your ECFMG Certificate must be valid as of the program's start date. For foreign nationals who are medical graduates of LCME-accredited schools in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, copies of the diploma will suffice instead of an ECFMG certificate.

Visa Sponsorship

Foreign medical graduates are eligible for this ICGME (non-ACGME) fellowship; however, in addition to meeting the above requirements:

  • Applicant must be a permanent U.S. resident (hold a green card).
    • If the applicant is not a permanent resident, the applicant must be eligible for an H1-B visa. The department will sponsor an H1-B visa only when there are extenuating circumstances and if there are division/section funds available to provide payment for the associated fees approximately $3000.
  • Applicants currently in the U.S. on a J-1 clinical house staff visa are not eligible for an H1-B visa because a J-1 visa cannot be transferred to an H-1B visa due to the 2-year home requirement. However, J-1 research visas are transferrable.
    • Effective 2021: The ECFMG will no longer sponsor J-1 clinical house staff visas for "non-standard" (meaning ICGME-Institutional Council for Graduate Medical Education) programs.
  • For more information, please visit the Duke Visa Services website at https://visaservices.duke.edu/.

Interview Selection Criteria

Fellow applicants are selected for an interview based on preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity. In particular, we consider:

  • Educational accomplishments
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Experience
  • Research

Important intangibles that are fundamental to the selection process include:

  • Leadership
  • Work ethic
  • Communication skills
  • Enthusiasm

Additional attributes that our committee considers:

  • Determination
  • Strength of character
  • Overcoming obstacles

Fellow applicants are selected for appointment to our program based on their interview and review of the above-listed criteria.

Interview Dates

For interview date(s), please refer to "Fellowship Progams At-A-Glance" => Click Here.

Interviews are extended to applicants either late Fall or early Winter for interviews occuring in the preceding Winter months.

Contact us

Cheryl DePaolis, Fellowship Program Coordinator

Wendy Thompson, C-TAGME, Senior Program Coordinator, Medical Student Sub-Internship and Residency Training

Tyranicia Green, Program Coordinator, Residency Training and CME Associate for Orthopaedics

Social Media

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