Skip to Main

Child Abuse Pediatric Fellowship

The Child Abuse Pediatric Fellowship Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center is a three-year program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) effective July 1, 2017 and had its first fellow beginning July 1, 2018. The program is based in Dallas, which is part of a dynamic, diverse, and growing metroplex.

The REACH (Referral and Evaluation of At-Risk Children) Program is a multidisciplinary team of physicians, advance practice nurses, social workers, psychologists, and coordinators. Our mission is to restore, promote, and enhance the medical and mental health of children at risk for abuse and neglect. The purpose of the fellowship training program is to train pediatricians to become proficient in child abuse pediatrics in order to pursue a career as a clinician, educator, researcher, and community leader in the prevention, detection, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

Training will be accomplished within a framework which emphasizes proficiency in six competencies articulated by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.

  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems Based Practice

The program is approved for one fellow every other year and the curriculum has been developed to promote a positive and engaging educational climate with the goal of successfully meeting criteria for certification in Child Abuse Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, a 490-bed pediatric hospital, as well as UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital (Regional Burn Center). UTSW is one of the country’s best medical schools and a world-renowned research center offering a variety of research opportunities. In addition, fellows will work closely with the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, one of the oldest in the nation.

Our program offers exposure to a comprehensive multidisciplinary team that includes medical students, residents, advanced practice providers, and nurses and affords the opportunity to develop as a teacher, team member, and team leader.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to prepare postgraduate trainees to become leaders in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics through a combination of educational activities including patient care, readings, and discussions regarding all aspects of child maltreatment, as well as research methodology, court testimony, and working with a multidisciplinary team.


  1. To inspire trainees to life-long, compassionate advocacy for children.
  2. To cultivate in the trainees their professionalism, leadership skills, humanistic caring qualities, and communication skills.
  3. To enhance in the trainees their medical knowledge of all forms of maltreatment, including abusive head trauma, fractures, abdominal trauma, skin injuries, burns, failure to thrive, and sexual abuse; medical mimics of abuse; accidental injuries, and prevention methods.
  4. To provide the trainees with an understanding of the multidisciplinary team that is engaged in child protection including local advocacy centers, law enforcement, child protective investigations and services; forensic interviewers, therapist, advocates, social workers, and psychologists.
  5. To educate the trainees in the principles of evidence based medicine and quality assurance so that they are motivated to continuously enhance their medical knowledge and clinical practice.
  6. To enable the trainees to qualify for the American Board of Pediatrics eligibility in child abuse pediatrics and successfully complete requirements for Board Certification.
Group photo of seven women and a therapy dog
REACH TEAM - Go Blue Day, April 6, 2018
Back row L-R: Sandra Onyinanya, PNP; Angelica Segura, M.A.; Mersi Jaramillo, M.A.; Lisa Schuster, Ph.D; Sarah Conant, LCSW; Ginger Young, CNS; Sheri Kitts; Carly Brenner, RD; Jessica Tou, CCLS; Umekia Lover, LMSW
Front row L-R: Suzanne Dakil, M.D.; Keaton (therapy dog); Tanya Gibson; Kristen Reeder, M.D.

Contact Us

Suzanne Dakil, M.D.

Suzanne Dakil, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Director, Child Abuse Fellowship Program

Jessica Bluitt

Jessica Bluitt

Coordinator, Child Abuse Fellowship Program