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Pediatrics Observership Program

Contact the Observership Program Coordinator for more information:
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Department of Pediatrics
Attn: Observership Program, Room 5400
750 East Adams St.
Syracuse, NY 13210
Email: [email protected]

We are currently filled through December, 2024. Check back to see when we will start accepting applications for 2025.  Applicants may apply no earlier than three months before your anticipated start date. You should always contact us before applying for our pediatric observership and let us know the dates you are available to make sure there are openings at that time. We have a very limited number of spots available at any given time. Note that the entire application process takes from one to two months.

We are pleased to offer the opportunity for physicians from around the world to observe our Pediatric physicians, residents and fellows in practice. The goal of the Observership Program is to provide insight into day-to-day responsibilities of physicians in their respective specialties and provide a basic overview of the American medical system. We have a very limited number of openings so please be sure to contact us before applying.  Please see below in "Application Process" for further details.

Observership Opportunities Available

  • Adolescent
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Heme/Onc (very limited availability)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • PICU
  • Pulmonary
  • Rheumatology
Expand all

Application Process

In order to maintain security for the SUNY Upstate Medical University campus, privacy of protected health information, and the appropriate Employee Health clearance, visitors to University Hospital sites of service must be properly logged according to the policy of Visiting Health Care Providers, which covers individuals who are visiting the campus for the purpose of learning, training, observing, or delivering direct or indirect patient care for a brief period of time. Observership Privileges must be obtained for Visiting Health Care Providers through the Medical Staff Office. Observers will not be granted privileges for direct patient care.

Applications for a rotation must be in no later than one month prior to your requested start date to give us ample time to approve and submit the necessary paperwork for your observership. We accept applications up to three months in advance. Please indicate on the observership rotation request form the preferred rotations and dates you are available (if there are multiple dates, please indicate your preferred dates by rank). Please note that these slots are on a "first come, first serve" basis, so the earlier you submit your application for your preferred rotation (up to three months in advance), the more likely you are to receive it.  You will be notified, in writing, of either acceptance or denial of your application within two weeks of initial receipt. You may ask questions or check on the status of your application (after the deadline) by emailing the Pediatric Academic Office at [email protected].

Our rotations are two weeks in length and can be renewed for additional weeks with the consent of the Observership Coordinator, the Supervising Physician, and the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Multiple rotations are permitted for a maximum of eight total weeks per application. Each rotation must be two weeks in duration, and must fit within the dates available. There is a $100.00 (US Funds) application fee which is non-refundable. A Certified Check or Money Order needs to accompany the application and should be made payable to the Upstate Medical University Foundation, Fund #350. Alternately, if applying by email you can request an observership credit card form to pay the application fee.

The cost for each 2-week rotation is $1,000. Upon acceptance, and based on number of total weeks of approved rotation, payment should be made a minimum of 30 days before the start of your rotation. Please see below in "Cancellation Policy" for information related to refunds.  You may ask questions or check on the status of your application after four weeks have passed by emailing the Pediatric Academic Office at [email protected]

Department of Pediatrics Application Information

Medical Staff Application Information (To be completed if application is approved)

All costs associated with the application process (visa processing, travel, health clearance, etc) will be the sole responsibility of the applicant. Upstate Medical University is in no way responsible for processing costs.

Minimum Requirements

  • Applicants must have TAKEN and PASSED (on first attempt) Step 1.
  • Applicants must haveTAKEN and PASSED (on first attempt) Step 2 CK with a minimum score of 209
  • Applicants must submit a copy of their Medical School Transcript
  • Applicants must provide a Letter of Reference from someone they worked with in a clinical environment

What to Expect

Your request for an Observership will be processed upon receipt of your application (see application form for required documents).  Your application will not be processed without all the required documents.  We will be in contact with you as soon as we have all the information needed.

Definition of Observership

According the Council on Medical Education, observership is defined as "a structured opportunity for an IMG to observe clinical practice in a variety of health care settings under the guidance of a physician mentor and to learn about the general structure, characteristics, and financing of health care delivery in the US." Therefore, the observer has no direct patient care responsibilities but is encouraged to participate in daily teaching rounds and discussion of patient care.

Where to Report

Specific reporting instructions will be included in your acceptance correspondence, and will be based on the rotations in which you are scheduled to participate.

Identification Badges

Report to the Payroll Department with a form issued by Payroll (Request for Non-Employee ID Badge), with an approved signature from the appropriate department, and an additional form of photo identification in order to obtain an ID badge. At the completion of your rotation, return the ID badge to Payroll to inactivate the ID Badge. ID badges must be worn at all times.

Dress Code

Observers are expected to dress in a professional manner (business casual). T-shirts, cutoffs, open toe shoes etc. are not allowed. It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes. White coats are not required.


You are responsible for all parking costs.  Parking passes must be obtained directly from the Parking Office, located in Room 1519, University Hospital.

Working Hours

Services vary with each specialty.  Once approved, the Coordinator in each specialty / department will provide your specific working hours.


The sponsoring institution does not provide funding for meals.  You are responsible for all meals.


Observers are responsible for securing their own accommodations.  Upon approval of your rotation, the Observership Program Coordinator will provide you with a list of possible accommodations in the area upon request.

Cancellation Policy

Once your assignment has been confirmed via e-mail, you are expected to complete the rotation as we will close out that rotation to other learners. While cancellations may be necessary in the event of an emergency, money paid for rotations will only be refunded if we are notified a minimum of 30 calendar days in advance.  No refunds will be given if cancellation takes place less than 30 days to the start of the rotation, or during the rotation itself.  As stated earlier, the $100 Application Fee is Non-Refundable under any circumstance.

Termination Policy

SUNY Upstate Medical University reserves the right to terminate an Observer's rotation at any time in the event that the Observer's performance jeopardizes a patient's well-being or is unable to achieve the objectives of the educational experience.  

Medical School Library

Your Identification Badge will allow you to gain access as a visitor to the Medical School Library facilities.

Teaching Conferences

Information will be provided regarding regularly scheduled conferences and didactic sessions, based on the specific rotation in which you are scheduled to participate.

Absence During Your Rotation

Excused absences are limited to one day per two-week rotation. If a problem arises, please see the Observership Program Coordinator and the Supervising Physician for approval.  Unexcused absences may result in termination of the rotation and inability to obtain a Completion Certificate. 


At the completion of the approved rotation, Observers will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation and length of rotation at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Note that we are not able to guarantee any kind of letter of recommendation based on your observership.

General Questions

If you have questions about your rotation, or if a problem arises, please email the Observership Program Coordinator immediately, [email protected].

Information on the City of Syracuse, New York

Please refer to the following links/websites to learn more about our program and the Syracuse area and for the latest updates on what is happening in the city during the time of your visit.

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York shall admit students of any race, color, religion, sex, age, national origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam veteran, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to all of the students involved in any of the Clinic's educational programs.

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, nation origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or military veteran, in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, training programs, stipend awards and all other such administrated programs.

Acceptance of an individual to the Observership Program does not constitute a commitment by SUNY Upstate Medical University or the Department of Pediatrics to interview or accept the individual for residency training in the Department of Pediatrics or any residency or fellowship program at Upstate Medical University.