Critical Care Medicine

Application Deadline

September 1

Length of Program

3 years

Program Start Date

July 7

Number of Positions Available


members of pediatric critical care medicine program


  • Linda Aponte-Patel, MD, FAAP

    • Fellowship Director
  • Andrew Geneslaw, MD, MS

    • Associate Fellowship Director
  • Bennett Weinerman, MD

    • Assistant Fellowship Director
    photo of Dr. Bennett Weinerman

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) Fellowship is to educate and train our fellows to become recognized leaders in the field by providing exemplary, evidence-based care for critically ill children, conducting cutting-edge research, and serving as advocates for children afflicted with life-threatening medical problems.


Educational goals are met through an established curriculum. Focused clinical curriculum is centered on weekly fellows conference meetings at which advanced principles of physiology and patient management are discussed, monthly pediatric cardiac critical care conferences, and weekly division chief bedside rounds. Additional learning opportunities include didactic sessions, directed readings, mortality and morbidity conferences, quality improvement meetings, laboratory meetings, research conferences, journal clubs, and simulation training. Fellows receive formal education in biostatistics and study design, the ethical and legal aspects of critical illness, pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) administration, and scientific writing.

Clinical Training

Clinical training takes place at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, one of the largest pediatric facilities in the country. The pediatric critical care medicine division oversees three clinical services, with a total of 41 PICU beds: a 14-bed pediatric cardiovascular ICU (CVICU), a 13-bed medical/surgical PICU, and a 14-bed pediatric neuro ICU. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) cases (approximately 50 per year) are taken care of in the CVICU and the general PICU.

Research Training

The rich research environment of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) is available for mentored laboratory, clinical, and translational research experience. All fellows have an individually tailored scholarship oversight committee convened to follow and advise them throughout their training in research or scholarly activities. For fellows interested in pursuing laboratory-based research, multiple relationships exist with top laboratories at Columbia, offering a rich experience in active areas of basic science investigation, including: stem cells in brain injury and mechanisms of brain injury; stem cells in lung injury and transplantation; and inflammatory responses to staphylococcal infection.

In addition, the division has an active clinical research program with on-going investigations in the following areas: ethics; bioinformatics; inflammatory states in critical illness; critical illness associated hyperglycemia; "database mining"; comparative effectiveness of the management of childhood traumatic brain injury; the informed consent processes; non-invasive ventilation; and global health.

Why Columbia

We provide outstanding, multidisciplinary care for critically ill children who are particularly vulnerable based on the complexity of their underlying illnesses. Our program offers fellows a diverse training in clinical, administrative, educational, and research-based PCCM at a state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), in a children’s hospital with the third highest case mix index (CMI) in the nation. The PCCM division oversees three clinical services. The 14-bed cardiac ICU (CVICU) cares for postoperative congenital heart surgery patients beyond the newborn period as well as heart failure patients peri-transplant, with our faculty and fellows as primary providers. The 13-bed medical/surgical PICU provides care to a wide range of critically ill patients including those with severe respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, severe infections, solid organ and stem cell transplantation, and other post-operative patients. The 14-bed pediatric neuro ICU takes care of trauma patients for our level 1 pediatric trauma program, post-operative spine and brain surgery patients, complicated epilepsy, stroke, diabetic ketoacidosis, and patients with primary neuromuscular disease. ECMO cases (approximately 50 per year) are taken care of in the CVICU and the general PICU.

The training program commenced in 1999 and is fully accredited by the ACGME. In addition to the standard three years of training, the fellowship supports the career advancement needs of its individual fellows. This includes specialized programs such as the physician scientist development program and T-32 grant positions for research, masters of public health programs, business administration, and healthcare management. The program also welcomes fellows who are engaged training in two subspecialties such as pediatric neurology, pediatric cardiology, infectious disease, palliative care, and adult critical care medicine.


Residents are employees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and affiliated with Columbia University Irving Medical Center. With these affiliations come many benefits!

Current Fellows

  • Elorm Avakame, MD, MPP

    • Third-Year Fellow

    Residency: Children’s National Medical Center

    photo of Elorm Avakame
  • Matthew Spence, MD

    • Third-Year Fellow

    Residency: Children’s Hospital at Montefiore/ Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    photo of Matthew Spence
  • Ariel Sugarman, MD

    • Third-Year Fellow

    Residency: Children’s Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    photo of Ariel Sugarman
  • Kinjal Desai, MD

    • Second-Year Fellow

    Residency: Cohen Children’s Medical Center
    Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology: NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia

    photo of Dr. Kinjal Desai
  • Aqsa Durrani, MD, MPH

    • Second-Year Fellow

    Residency: New York University School of Medicine

    photo of Dr. Aqsa Durrani
  • Thomas Kuriakose, MD, MA

    • Second-Year Fellow

    Residency: Boston Medical Center

    photo of Thomas Kuriakose, MD
  • Meghan Gray, MD

    • Second-Year Fellow

    Residency: NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia

    photo of Meghan Gray, MD
  • Cristina Alcorta, MD

    • First-Year Fellow

    Residency: Brown University/ Hasbro Children’s Hospital

    photo of Dr. Cristina Alcorta
  • Gabriel Apfel, MD

    • First-Year Fellow

    Residency: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia

    photo of Dr. Gabriel Apfel
  • Elena Insley, MD

    • First-Year Fellow

    Residency: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia

  • MengMeng Xu, MD, PhD

    • First-Year Fellow

    Residency: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia

    photo of Dr. MengMeng Xu

How to Apply

Applications to our fellowship are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) system. Materials are accepted during the summer and early fall of the year preceding the start of fellowship. The deadline for completed applications materials is September 1st of the year preceding the start of fellowship. Persons who wish to apply must be board eligible or board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Please note that a completed application includes:

  • Completed ERAS forms
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one letter from the applicant's department chairman or residency director
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Additional information, such as personal statements and manuscript reprints are welcomed.

Acceptances to the fellowship are made through the Pediatric Specialties Fall Match of the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

Applicants to the program may wish to consider additional clinical and research training experiences that may be available for selected fellows. These experiences include:

  • Combined training in two pediatric subspecialties
  • Concentrated research training through the Physician Scientist Development Program
  • Concentrated clinical research training through the School of Public Health scholarships. Applicants wishing to pursue any of these opportunities must identify themselves to the program director early in the application process.

Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital are equal opportunity employers; applications from women and minorities are encouraged. Please note that Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital do not sponsor H1B visa trainees.


Linda Aponte-Patel, MD, FAAP
Fellowship Director

Andrew S Geneslaw, MD, MS
Associate Fellowship Director

Bennett Weinerman
Assistant Program Director

Ana Mateo
Program Manager