Help re epilepsy programs

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2007
Reaction score
Hi all,

Please give your opinion for pros and cons of epilepsy fellowship at following programs:

University of Michigan

My aim of fellowship is to do 2 yr fellowship with learning epilepsy surgeries and IOM.

At this time open to both academic or large private hospital jobs after fellowship.


Members don't see this ad.
As a current resident and incoming Epilepsy fellow at UNC, I can only speak to our program. If you're looking only at 2 year programs, UNC won't be for you as it's currently only a one year program with two fellows per year. My co-fellow next year is currently my co-chief resident, and despite it being a one year program, she is planning on pursuing a career in a large academic hospital and I am already interviewing for 2016 positions at large private hospitals. With us as examples, a one year program isn't necessarily a must-have for the career paths you describe, however if you're looking to embark on a particularly high-powered research-oriented career, you'll definitely want to consider a two year fellowship. The fellowship program director has been my mentor since I was a PGY-2, and I consider her both a teacher and a dear friend. She is easily the most selfless and dedicated physician I have trained with throughout residency and medical school. If you're willing to work hard, there's nothing she won't do for you. She's a cheerleader and advocate for her fellows, which makes all the difference in the world during a busy year. It also helps that the Epilepsy division is one of the most collegial divisions in the department.

Will you work hard at UNC? Yes. It is unreasonably hard work? No. I think it's important to note that the work doesn't seem to come off as scut from what I've observed as a resident rotating through the service, but rather an attempt to help you become independent and confident quickly while giving you lots of exposure and experience. The program is well rounded and busy with 8 dedicated EMU beds and more being wired soon, a fully wired 16(ish?) bed NSICU, and a 4 bed Peds EMU. There are of course multiple cEEG units and ambulatory hookups and we have 24h tech coverage. We've got a busy surgical program with 1-2 surgeries per month and multiple Phase II evals going at a time. We've recently started doing RNS cases and have done three cases in as many months of doing it. We're looking to start thermal ablation cases in the very near future, so fellows for 2016 and beyond can expect to get experience in this as well.

The fellows take call every other night, but the residents are expected to be the first call physician for nurses and techs, so it minimizes the amount of middle of the night calls as much as possible. (I don't remember the last time I had to call the fellow in the middle of the night as a resident.) The schedule is busy, but again reasonable with regards to vacation time, and it's also a priority for the fellows to attend the annual AES meeting with attendings taking coverage to allow for this. There's also a well organized lecture schedule with book chapters, lectures, and journal clubs occurring weekly with the division and weekly per-surgical multidisciplinary conferences as well.

Another big selling point is the area. I love Chapel Hill and the whole Triangle region. You can see or do just about anything here. Big city amenities with a small town feel is what I tell most people. Chapel Hill is a small-ish university town with lots of cool shops and restaurants, and it runs directly into Durham, which has a more urban vibe (it reminds me of a smaller Austin) and Raleigh is just 20-30 minutes away depending on traffic. Cost of living is low and there are great restaurants, concerts, festivals, museums, etc. if that's your gig. There's a lot of opportunity to do things outdoors as well with a large lake nearby and the mountains 3h away and the beach and Outer Banks 2h away. The weather is fabulous with four distinct seasons and enough snow to be pretty and occasionally shut things down (read: 1 inch of now = mass chaos) but not enough that winter is miserable. While I'm a Southerner by birth and clearly biased, I know folks not from the South are sometimes hesitant to consider the area. The Triangle definitely retains the friendly nature and slower pace that comes with being below the Mason-Dixon, but it's also super progressive due to three major universities (UNC, Duke, and NC State) within a 30 minute radius of each other and the Research Triangle.

All in all, again being totally biased :D , it's been a great place to train.

Best of luck to you in your search for a fellowship!