International Scholars Track

The Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Pittsburgh offers a special track for an outstanding group of international graduates who are at the beginning of their career and show the promise of becoming leaders in research and academic medicine in major universities worldwide. During their training, scholars complete clinical training in internal medicine, cultivate a research career under the close supervision and guidance of experienced mentors, and develop the skills that are necessary to function as leaders and agents of change in their home institutions and internationally.

The main goals of the International Scholars Track (IST) are:

  • To recruit an internationally diverse group of medical graduates who have a clear ambition to pursue careers in academic medicine.
  • To foster and enhance clinical, educational, and research relationships with exceptionally successful medical schools throughout the world.
  • To train future clinician-investigators to serve as key contacts and bridges for national and international collaboration in medical clinical research and medical education.

At the end of the 3-year training program, the IST graduates are eligible to sit for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Certification Examination. Clinical training in the IST mirrors the training in the categorical training program and conforms to all requirements of the Residency Review Committee and the ABIM. In addition, time is protected for IST scholars to receive formal classroom and hands-on training in various aspects of clinical research.

Example of a Rotation Schedule for IST Residents


PGY1 4 Months General Med (PUH/VAMC/Pav/SSH)
2 Weeks Monte/VA Night Float
1 Month ICU (CCU/Presby MICU/VICU)
1 Month MICU (SSH)
1 Month PCI/BMT
1 Month VA ECC
1 Month Ambulatory Block
2.5 Months Elective
PGY2 3 Months General Med (PUH/VAMC/Pav/SSH)
1 Month ICU (CCU/Presby MICU/VICU)
1 Month PCI/BMT
1 Month Ambulatory Block
2 Months Elective
2 Months IST Clinical Research Coursework
1 Month Geriatrics
PGY3 3 Months General Med (PUH/VAMC/Pav/SSH)
1 Month ICU (CCU/Presby MICU/VICU)
1 Month MICU (SSH)
1 Month ED
2 Months Ambulatory Block
3 Months Elective
1 Month Research Block

Core Curriculum in Clinical Research

All scholars have the option to enroll in the clinical research methods curriculum offered by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) through the University’s Institute for Clinical Research Education (, based in the Oakland campus of the University and UPMC. This curriculum consists of an intensive 8-week program designed to teach fundamental skills of clinical research to physicians in UPMC-affiliated residency and fellowship programs. At the completion of the curriculum, a certificate is issued by UPMC, attesting to the scholars’ successful completion of the courses. The courses do not carry University credits. The aim of the program is to provide high-quality instruction to medical professionals who are interested in gaining a better understanding of clinical research or are interested in participating in clinical research studies as an active member of a research team.

Many IST scholars have previous training in clinical or basic research. Those with appropriate training may elect to work directly with individual mentors on research projects instead of enrolling in the classroom courses.

Bi-Monthly Seminar

The IST and CST residents have a bi-monthly seminar series. All seminars are held two Mondays a month (September through June) at noon. Residents are required to attend a minimum of two-thirds of the seminars.

Program Accomplishments

IST graduates have demonstrated exceptional motivation and determination in accomplishing the goals set forth for the program. They perform extremely well in the Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) courses, successfully complete research projects, publish in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, present their research at national and international meetings, and secure the most competitive fellowships. The program has demonstrated that it is possible for residents to successfully complete their research training without sacrificing their clinical training.


Participants in the IST are extremely productive academically, as measured by the number of recent publications in peer-reviewed journals. Current and past residents have published papers in journals of the highest reputation, including Science, Circulation, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, American Journal of Cardiology, Blood, American Journal of Gastroenterology, and Journal of Hepatology.

Fellowship Placements

Graduates of the IST have been highly successful in obtaining competitive fellowship positions in leading programs around the country. To view a list of recent fellowship placements, please view, our residents’ page.


Academic success is not achieved without faculty mentors to provide guidance and support in research, career development, and personal growth. Close mentorship is provided by faculty within the program and by a research mentor chosen by the IST scholar. The mentors help navigate the sometimes tortuous path of research and training. In addition, all scholars are mentored and guided by the program director over the entire duration of training.

Recruitment for the International Scholars Track

Recruitment for the IST at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will begin in October. Registration for the Match begins in September. The timeline and application procedures are listed below.


For instructions on how to apply, click here.

See visa guidelines below if you wish to request an H1b visa.

Visa Guidelines

Traditionally, international medical graduates are sponsored for residency training through the ECFMG on J-1 visas. A certain number of H1b visas are permissible, provided that the criteria for H1b eligibility are met.

For H1b visa criteria, click here.

Peter D. Bulova, MD

Director, International Scholars Track

Contact Us

Institute for Clinical Research Education
Program Coordinator
International Scholars Track for Residents
UPMC Montefiore, W933
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Genevieve McCarthy, Program Coordinator


Peter D. Bulova, MD
Program Director, International Scholars Track

J. Deanna Wilson, MD, MPH
Associate Director for Research, International Scholars Track

Jessica S. Merlin, MD, PhD, MBA
Associate Director for Research, International Scholars Track