Welcome from the Director

Congratulations on finding the best Pediatric residency program in the Midwest! Does that surprise you? Read on to learn why I believe this is true.

We serve large numbers of children, both in primary and subspecialty care. Your inpatient experience and your active continuity clinic will give you the opportunity to manage a great variety of sick and healthy children from birth to young adulthood. This translates into a rich and diverse educational experience for you through the entire spectrum of pediatric pathology.

We are, above all else, committed to preserving the educational integrity of your residency experience. We guarantee you protected block didactic time, caps on busy inpatient services, regularly scheduled teaching rounds, and pediatric hospitalists who are in the hospital twenty-four hours a day to help, supervise, and teach. Our entire teaching faculty provides superior, evidence-based, compassionate, comprehensive care to every child seen at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and we are committed to teaching you the same.

Our program provides you with some exciting opportunities to make a difference locally and regionally. You will hone your educator skills by supervising third and fourth year Michigan State University medical students during their Pediatric clerkship and senior electives at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. We’ll enrich your skills through a “Residents as Educators” curriculum. You will be invited to participate fully on a variety of hospital committees. This provides you the opportunity to make a difference here and learn skills that you can take to other hospital systems in the future.

We are privileged to provide you the benefits of both a community and academic residency program in one location. Our community origin provides close relationships and involvement with local pediatricians in an energetic, fun, and respectful atmosphere. Our affiliation with Michigan State University preserves high academic standards and exceptional researchers and resources within our hospital. This is a unique balance in which residents are the clear winners.

So, why haven’t you heard of us before? When you visit us, you will undoubtedly join the countless people who tell us that we are a “hidden treasure” and “a well kept secret”! Don’t be confused by the “community” label. We are a very academic, university affiliated residency program that exists in a supportive community that just happens to be the second largest city in the state of Michigan! Come take a look at what we have to offer. You’ll be glad you did. We are eager to meet you, and look forward to our visit together!


Candace Smith-King, M.D., FAAP

Letter from the Chiefs

Hey Guys!
Thanks for checking out our webpage, and on behalf of the Pediatric Residency, welcome to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital!  We are excited that you are interested in our program and hope that the information on this website does justice as to why we think it is such a special place to train.  Our hospital was created in 1993 and since then a lot has changed!  We opened the doors to our free standing children’s hospital on January 11th, 2011.  We are a regional referral center that provides a wonderful blend of academic and community medicine devoted to infants, children, and adolescents. Our pediatric residency program provides a unique opportunity to care for a wide breadth of pediatric patients with over 40 pediatric specialty services to help guide our management.


Training our residents to become competent and confident physicians is our main goal.  Aside from the interactions you have with your attendings during your rotations, we have a weekly 4-hour block of didactic lectures each Thursday that is protected time.  Yes, that means residents are free from clinical obligations during this time. Part of our Thursday didactics is a weekly interactive board review session structured around the American Board of Pediatrics content specifications. We also attend the weekly pediatric Grand Rounds, weekly resident led multidisciplinary case conference, bi-weekly morning report, monthly morning report presented by an attending, journal club every other month, and morbidity and mortality conference every other month. There is an intern lecture series led by senior residents which is a combination of didactic and a hands-on curriculum to help facilitate the transition to residency. We also have a monthly mock code for all residents led by our pediatric critical care attendings in addition to mock neonatal resuscitations during NICU and newborn rotations.


Scholarly activity has emerged as a residency requirement across the nation. Here, residents receive support and guidance in developing a research project focused on bench research, clinical research, or quality improvement. We have multiple research mixers during the year in which faculty come to resident lectures to present their ideas and to connect with residents to work on projects together. GRMEP has its own research department that is full of resources to guide your project to completion. Our residents have gone on to receive research grants and present at national and international conferences which have included the AAP national and state conference as well as the Pediatric Academic Society Meeting. Many residents have published articles in top pediatric journals including Pediatrics in Review and Pediatrics.

Resident Life

We can’t say enough about how much we love living in Grand Rapids. There is always something happening in the city that makes it easy to decompress on your days off.  We have a lot of great local restaurants and breweries as well venues for concerts, sporting events, and symphonies.  To get away from the city, it’s only a 20-30 minute drive to the beaches along beautiful Lake Michigan. West Michigan has a plethora of places for outdoor sports ranging from biking to skiing. We could go on and on about this but hope you come to visit us and experience it yourself!

We hope that you enjoy checking out the remainder of our website and consider making GRMEP/MSU your pediatric residency home. We would love to answer any further questions so feel free to contact us!


Cara Zokoe, MD & Jason Thomas, MD

Program Overview

The Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University Pediatric Residency Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital offers a complete experience with community-acquired disease as well as specialty-oriented exposure to the broad array of pediatric disease that only a referral center can provide. With its affiliation with the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, it also offers the quality teaching faculty and educational experiences provided by a university-based residency.

Graduates of our program are fully prepared for a future in pediatrics, whether it be general practice, hospital medicine, or subspecialty training. Most importantly, our residents learn to take care of children and their families, not just diseases.

The Pediatrics Residency Program has Continued Accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Diversity and Resident Wellness

Spectrum Health is committed to creating a healthy work environment which promotes wellness and a culture that is respectful, inclusive and positive .  Please visit the Spectrum Health Resident Wellness page and the Spectrum Health Diversity page to learn more.

Ready to Apply?

All applications are accepted through ERAS. Please see the For Applicants section of your preferred program for additional details.

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