claner1

7+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2013
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Congrats to all who recently matched for pain fellowship! PGY-2 PM&R interested in pain...curious what everyone’s top 3-5 programs were and why? What should I be looking for in a pain fellowship? Thanks!
 
Jan 26, 2019
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current fellow here, here were some places from last year:

Brigham: all around best fellowship program. Very well rounded. Big name. It sounds like u really work hard though, with an incredibly busy clinic

MD Anderson: excellent overall. Will come out strong af

Cornell: procedure exposure is at least average compared to other programs nationally (pre-covid), but definitely the best program in NYC by far. Probably the only NYC program worth even looking at. Not at all diverse in terms of fellow roster, without being specific, this has been a problem for a long time for this program if you look at old posts on this forum, and I strongly suspect that this problem will have to change at some point.

Stanford: attendings here are big people, hold seats on major advisory boards. Not sure why they didnt fill 2 spots this year but historically this has been a great program. From what I understand, the rest of the other programs in CA are not worth a damn, save for UCSF and UCSD

other ivy leagues:
I didnt interview at Yale or Dartmouth, but for what it’s worth, I heard from others who interviewed that both programs are phenomenal and live up to their names. more brand recognition than most other programs in the US if thats your cup of tea. Columbia is the one ivy that supposedly really doesn’t live up to its name, fwiw, although again this may change with hopefully fresh faculty joining in the future
 
Last edited:

Czech777

2+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2018
13
3
These notes are a little dry, but they were real time thoughts following the interviews. I interviewed at a few other places, but forgot to take notes.

Stanford Read my interview, seemed kind, huge research support. Big names, tons of flexibility on start time, end time, rotations. Outside murmurs of non-interventional, but attendings assured me otherwise. Huge research resources. PD seemed to want specific answers to her questions.

UCLA-VA Intense, big name faculty, PM&R run, cool procedures. High-pressure scenario interview questions. EMG exposure.

Dartmouth Kind, supportive, read my app thoroughly. Great reputation, large catchment area. Stims picking up. Geographically isolated, but also major ski / climb opportunities. The town is apparently bucolic.

MCW Read my app, very positive, bread and butter procedures. Not necessarily academic. Appears to serve a lot of patients, with interest in expanding stim / PNS,

Wisconsin Chill lifestyle, low stim implant numbers, heavy didacts, Dr. Sehgal very supportive. Interviewed with psychologist and pharmacist. Very team-oriented.

UPMC Kind faculty, happy fellows, huge program. A lot of driving apparently. Affiliated hospital gives more than enough work to unique pathology.

Toledo Cool faculty, cool procedures, does BF RFA, interested in PNS. q2 week acute pain call? 2 residents and many applicants. Tiny program, but the attendings were amongst the coolest and most aggressive proceduralist I’ve met.

Iowa Didn't feel like they read my app. Friendly, but bad listeners. Not sure of procedural variety and volume. Didn't connect with faculty. Older faculty member was tough to chat with. Not clear if they collaborate well with the Ortho / NSGY departments.

UAB Super nice, low volume PNS, seemingly few research faculties, a lot of private practice providers who have moved to academic space. Attendings tell me the love the down, outsiders say they don’t.

Rush Major personality clash with their interviewers. Did not rank.

Minnesota Kind, cool, big VA exposure. Not a good sense of their research or procedures.

UTSW Really nice faculty, they reviewed my app, PD from Stanford and aspirational. Variety of VA, Private Practice, U Exposure. Seems to be one of the premier TX institutions.

Utah Pain Kind director, awesome cancer exposure, most call / work on cancer unit. Pump city. Big time PM&R spine department on campus as well, couldn’t tell if they interacted collegially or competitively. They said they do rotate at ortho department.

Emory Super nice faculty, more private practice training focused. Doing everything but pumps, but pumps coming soon. Seemed to have a long legacy of positive mentorship within their program.

Mayo Roch Most variety / creative interventional exposure, dry attendings. It appeared to be very focused on matching people associated with the Mayo program previously (residency, medical school). Neurologist match last year.
 
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Nov 16, 2019
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Cedars Sinai

- Overall nice people. Dr. Rosner is the PD. Has been doing pain for almost 40 years. Dr. V is nice and does acute pain. Didn’t get much additional information about their acute pain coverage. Lots of questions about my CV which was nice because it seemed like they actually read my application.
- Dr. Yumul was an odd interview. Over the phone and could call any time between 8 and 4. Asked what I would do if I didn’t match (looking for dedication to the field and not just quitting pain?).
- Didn’t seem very interested in the conversation but hard to gauge over the phone.
- No opportunity to talk to the current fellows.


Florida
- Interventional focused. Good relationship with industry. PD seems straightforward and Dr. Antony leaving doesn’t seem to have made a big dent in their interventional experience since it’s how they are as a program.
- Gainesville would be a very affordable place to live.

Rush
- Very interventional and while the fellows seemed pretty laid back and chill, the attendings seemed very intense.
- Seemed like the type of program where you work very hard and a lot of times do inpatient pain stuff that you otherwise shouldn’t have to do in order to in order to say that you trained at Rush.
- Emphasized they’re a “surgical program”
- Interviewers were VERY intense and asked a lot of out of left field types of questions. Attendings did not seem personable for the most part.

Kentucky
- Very private practice oriented. Lots of procedures but not much peripheral nerve stimulation.
- Only 2 full time faculty members and one just graduated fellowship in 2018.
- Not a ton of opioid management going on but they definitely do enough it seems.

UPMC

- Fellows are not primary workforce
- They will have 9 fellows my year. That’s a LOT of fellows but it’s also a massive hospital system.
- A lot of locations
- Want to make leaders in the field. Their faculty have leadership positions nationally.
- They have their own EMR which kinda sucks because no one else uses it (Powerchart)
- Abdominal and facial pain experience as well

UAB

- Monday thru Thursday is procedures. Friday is palliative/extra procedures
- 4 fellows. Admin is very supportive per the fellows
- Limited vertiflex, kypho, neurolysis for cancer pain but neuromodulation experience seems pretty good
- Boot camp at the beginning of the fellowship helps with some skills
- Overall okay program. Their month of neurology is the only time they get intense exposure to med management. There is some med management in the clinic months but mostly just continuing medications, rarely ever starting opioids. Per the neurology attending, “the clinic side of the procedure suite is to feed the procedural side of the suite.”
- They lost their main neuromod faculty and so the number of interventional procedures they’ll do will definitely go down.

Irvine

- Meeting started late (5-10 min) despite being told in email that you should be there promptly
- Clinic and procedures on the same day. Fellow said this is great because you can guarantee you’ll be doing the block.
- 15-20 total neuromod. They do their own implants for the most part.
- They might get vertiflex. They do peripheral neuromodulation (StimWave/Sprint)
- August 1st start date
- Fellow said he did 4 implants and about 10 trials
- Interview with faculty was 4 on 1. Only 1 question was about something from my application. Many of the questions were out of left field and pointless (What 3 things would you bring on a desert if you were stranded?, if a friend wants to go to your gym and the policy is no, would you allow them to go with you?)
- Overall impression - decent program but VERY middle of the road. Nothing at all special. The fellow basically told me not to go there unless I wanted to live in SoCal.
- Experience with the faculty was subpar. Rather than spending their time trying to get to know me or my application, they asked questions out of left field almost intentionally trying to stump you or put you in a stressful position. Is this type of interview style effective for them? I can understand this for med school interviews but this far into training it almost seems nonsensical. Faculty did not come off as people I would be interested in working with.

Vanderbilt

- Pay for moving expenses ($3K), $1K for a conference, and $2900 for education for the year.
- Total of 12 attending and 6 NPs. The NPs seem to fit in well to the clinic.
- PD and APD seem easy going and fun to work with
- August 1st start date
- Solid program that is middle tier in terms of neuromodulation. Not a lot of peripheral stimulation. Well rounded education.

Michigan

- 6 weeks of acute pain dealing with epidurals and PNB catheters. Also dealing with PCAs. Rough 6 weeks?
- Education/lectures seem to be solid
- Fellows have 700-800 procedures by the end of the year. Low-Ish?
- Spine center, VA, and some off site locations.
- They take 8 fellows a year.

UNC
- not very heavy on procedures at all
- no relationship with reps or industry
- hours are pretty chill
- chapel hill is probably a small college town with not much to do i assume
- majority female faculty FWIW
 

La_Croix

2+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2016
47
42
Status
  1. Resident [Any Field]
In alphabetical order:

BWH (10 fellows)
- Really great program. Busy clinics, lots of procedures. Multiple sites across the city, including VA.
- Inclusive for applicants from other fields (Neuro, Psych, EM)
- Interview day was busy. 8 in a row with no breaks was a lot
- Didn't get a chance to meet with any of the fellows. Emailed one of them with no response so *shrug*
- They seem really big on training the future leaders of the field so finding your niche is a good way in
- Thought some of the psych questions were a bit weird
- Interviews 40-50 applicants

Case Western - UH (4 fellows)
- Variety of different procedures
- Call reportedly is quite light unless you're on their inpatient block where you have to order all the pump meds
- Seems big into industry stuff
- Interview was one 15-minute interview with 3 faculty at once. Didn't feel like they read my app nor did they learn anything about me
- Cleveland is cheap af

Cedars-Sinai (4 fellows)
- It's in LA!
- Interview day was by far the most disorganized. For example, not everyone can be available from 9am-3pm to wait for a phone call (that didn't even happen until an hour later, lol, but I digress). Made me feel like their program doesn't have their **** together
- The PD seemed nice. He definitely read my app in detail and asked relevant questions
- The forced general anesthesia call is what you make of it, but I'd rather spend a pain medicine year learning pain medicine

Cornell (8 fellows)
-
It's in NYC!
- Training at three different hospitals: NYP-Cornell, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Hospital for Special Surgery
- Exposures and experience is different at each site, but provides for good depth and breadth. And fellows get elective time
- Sends fellows to cadaver workshops frequently
- Per fellows, the variety of procedures (both basic and advanced) is good. Reiterate above that it's the best program in NYC from people who interviewed at most NYC programs.
- PD is great. Other faculty were also very easy-going
- Big alumni network (Recent alums gone bi-coastal and across midwest)
- Call burden a bit higher now (PA/NP layoffs during COVID, reportedly rehiring now)
- Interviews 40-50 applicants

Northwestern (5 fellows)
- It's in Chicago!
- Interview took place over multiple days, which was annoying
- PD was very nice and easy to talk with. Some other faculty were a bit off-putting
- Facilities are nice
- Less interventional than the other Chicago counterpart, Rush

NYU (5 fellows)
- Multiple sites in NYC
- Interviews a ton of people
- MMI format, which I didn't enjoy, but it might be other people's things, who knows
- Nobody actually reads your application except for the PD, who was nice
- Not really interventional

UCSD (5 fellows)
- It's in San Diego!
- Just two sites, if I remember correctly
- Call burden not bad unless you're on consults, in which case you have to drive to main hospital after work (or during lunch) to see consults
- Lots of research opportunity
- They read my app in detail. Asked relevant questions
- Appears that fellows get their pick of the procedures that happen every day due to multiple procedural suites, which is nice
- Interviews 40-50 applicants

UIowa (4 fellows)
- Two sites (close to each other)
- Very nice PD and faculty interviews
- Fellows sounded like they feel comfortable with their exposures to procedures, but it could be better
- Iowa City isn't the most exciting place, but it's dirt cheap

UMich (8 fellows)
- Several sites all close to one another + VA
- Low call burden, only when on acute pain where you round on weekends
- Not as interventional as other programs
- Good didactics
- Ann Arbor isn't the most exciting place, but you get paid more here due to the union


Thanks for making this thread. A lot of the reviews for programs are quite old and it's nice to update things.
 

deadhead2

7+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2013
31
47
NEPA
Status
  1. Attending Physician
Great idea to start this thread. For everyone who applied and interviewed this year, let's keep the reviews coming to help future applicants!


OHSU:

-4 fellows per year

-Clinic is not dependent on fellows, good for learning. 1 hour new patients, 30 minute follow ups. Plenty of time for learning/discussion. Rotate at VA and OHSU.

-Good procedural experience and diversity. Lighter neuromodulation volume, about 20 SCS per fellow. No IT pumps, kypho, Vertiflex, MILD.

-APS call 5 weeks throughout the year, Thursday to Thursday with Friday off after call week.

-Great location. Portland seems awesome.

-Nice faculty. 4 interviews with faculty and a chat with the fellow. Interview day was low stress.



Medical College of Georgia:

-2 fellows per year

-30 minute new patients, 15 minute follow ups. Residents carry the load in clinic with fellows in a supervisory role. 2 clinic days per week, 2 procedure days, and 1 OR day. Just 1 site, I believe.

-Call 15 days at a time. Reportedly not busy.

-Per fellow, good procedural experience. No numbers given though. Don’t do DRG or peripheral stim. Minimal IT pump. No details regarding other procedures.

-Augusta seems meh

-Interview day was a 20 minute interview, with PD, APD, and both fellows asking questions. More intense questions, not really conversational. No presentation on the program so information was limited to what the fellow said during the Zoom happy hour the night before.



University of Florida:

-6 fellows per year, 2 are 14 month track for Anesthesia only

-Clinic volume seemed busy but manageable. I think fellows only rotate at 1 site.

-Good procedural volume per fellows. No numbers, but SCS numbers seem reasonable. Minimal DRG. No word on peripheral stim. They do MILD and endoscopic spinal decompression. No mention of Vertiflex, IT pumps, and kypho so I’m not sure if they do these.

-Fellows can attend industry courses

-Call every 6th week. Inpatient consults and procedural complications if patient goes to the ER. No APS call. Fellows did not mention how busy call was.

-PD seemed like a straight shooter, which I appreciated

-Gainesville seems like a usual college town, not too far from beaches

-3 faculty interviews, including PD. 2 interviews with current fellows



VCU:


-3 fellows per year, PM&R based

-Rotate at VCU and the VA. Clinic at VCU has 30 minute new patients, 15 minute follow ups. VA isn’t as busy. Minimal medication management at VCU and you just give recommendations at the VA.

-Call is not busy, fellow covers Marc Huntoon’s patients only. No APS call, but you do APS for 1 week.

-SCS experience is solid: 50-60 per fellow including trials and implants. 50-60 peripheral stim per fellow. Some IT pump experience, one fellow had done 4 implants. They do DRG and MILD. IR does basically all kypho however.

-Fellows can attend industry courses

-Richmond is a surprisingly awesome city

-3 interviews with 2 faculty members per interview and a chat with current fellows



Penn State:

-4 fellows per year, 1 spot reserved for PM&R

-Clinic volume is reasonable, usually runs from 8-4

-Call during the week is for clinic and is light. Weekend call is 1:5 where fellows cover APS.

-Some opioid and other medication management, but not too much. Do not implant IT pumps but they do refills and manage existing pumps. 15-20 SCS trials per fellow, but they do not do implants. Minimal but expanding DRG. They will start peripheral stim soon per APD. No mention of other procedures like MILD, Vertiflex, kypho.

-Fellows can attend industry courses

-Hershey is a nice, affordable rural area. I love it, but it isn’t for everyone.

-4 interviews, 3 faculty and 1 fellow.



UVA:

-6 fellows per year, mostly Anesthesia with 1-2 from other specialties

-Clinic from 8-5. 40 minute new patients, and 20 minute follow ups. See 12-15 patients per day in clinic and they have scribes! Minimal opioid management but they do make recommendations.

-Call is 1:6 for after-hours clinic calls and inpatient chronic pain service which is mostly a consult service but does have some primary patients (IT pump trials and implants, ketamine infusions for CRPS). Apparently call will be changing soon as there are plans to combine regional/APS/chronic pain into 1 service. This will be covered by residents primarily with the fellow in a supervisory role. Details are still being worked out though.

-Good procedural experience. Do their own SCS and IT pump implants. Good IT pump exposure, but not overly heavy per fellows. Also do kypho (rare per fellows), MILD, and peripheral stim. No Vertiflex yet, maybe soon.

-Cadaver lab to practice surgical procedures near the beginning of the year

-Charlottesville is awesome. Great food, wine, beer, and outdoor activities.

-4 interviews with faculty and fellows



Rochester:

-3 fellows per year, one is an off-cycle out of Match position

-Busy clinic per PD and multiple faculty members. Fellow said that there were some later days due to answering patients messages, catching up on notes, etc. Minimal opioid management.

-40 SCS trials and implants per fellow. They do DRG, peripheral stim, MILD, and kypho. No IT pump implantation but they do refills in clinic. Hired a new attending to increase implant volume.

-Call is 1:3, after hours clinic calls during the week and APS on the weekends. Call didn’t sound bad at all. APS rounds usually done by 10-11 per fellow.

-Rochester sounds like a nice small city, but winters are rough

-Interview with 4 attendings and Q&A with a current fellow



Michigan:

-8 fellows per year, 5 Anesthesia and 3 from other specialties

-Rotate at various clinic sites and the VA. Clinic sounded very manageable in terms of patient volume and hours. Minimal opioid prescribing. Some medication management.

-APS call 6-7 weeks. It didn’t sound too onerous, fellow mentioned getting 1-2 evening pages but essentially none overnight. He only had to go in once after 4 PM all year, which he said was typical of the other fellows. APS rounds finish around 11 on the weekend.

-Lower procedural numbers. Did not give numbers for SCS and peripheral stim. No IT pump implants but they see refills in clinic. Minimal DRG and kypho. PD planned on starting Vertiflex and MILD but this got derailed by COVID.

-Ann Arbor seems like a nice college town

-4 faculty interviews. Unfortunately did not get to speak much with fellows.



LSU:

-5 fellows per year, PM&R based. Seem to have a strong preference for internal candidates.

-Rotate at VA, Ochsner, and University Medical Center. VA is slower paced and fellows do all their own fluoro there because there are no x-ray techs. Ochsner is faster paced, more PP style. UMC is where fellows do inpatient consults. Clinic hours sounded manageable. Weekly continuity clinic occurs throughout the year.

-Consults are just for medication management. No procedures, which kinda sucks.

-Sounded like there was minimal call, no real details however.

-Varied procedural experience, with SCS, DRG, peripheral stim, Vertiflex, and occasional IT pumps. No MILD. No mention of kypho. PD may add SI fusion if more convincing data on its efficacy is published.

-Weaker didactics, but PD is working on improving them. Fellows can attend industry courses.

-New Orleans is a great city, fair amount of crime though

-4 interviews: PD, 2 faculty, and current fellow. Presentation by PD was just reading from the program website, not a good look.



University of Mississippi:

-5 fellows per year, one position is an off-cycle out of Match position. Strong preference for internal candidates.

-6 months in clinic, 6 months of off-service APS, Palliative, Psych, Neuro, PM&R for non-PM&R fellows, Anesthesia for non-Anesthesia fellows. 1 month PP rotation.

-Clinic has a good volume, done by 5 every day. Weekly continuity clinic runs throughout the year while on off-service rotations. Some opioid management, attendings vary as to how much or little they prescribe.

-Call sounded chill per fellow. Unclear if it is for clinic only or if there are any inpatient or APS responsibilities. Call runs on a weekly basis.

-SCS experience is solid. No DRG or peripheral stim. Minimal IT pump implants, do refills in clinic. No word on Vertiflex, MILD, or kypho.

-Fellows can attend industry courses

-PD was great, very friendly

-Jackson sounded like a surprisingly nice city. Mississippi as a state has a really unhealthy population, though.

-5 interviews, with PD, APD, faculty member, and 2 fellows



EVMS:

-2 fellows per year, PM&R based

-Rotate at VA, EVMS clinic, and Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. No medication management at the VA, hours are lighter there as well. Portsmouth is Anesthesia-based and more procedure heavy. Per PD, this site is like Pain mixed with Sports Medicine. EVMS has a more typical patient population, with a fair amount of opioid management.

-Fellows are on-call basically ½ the year, though call sounds very light. Usually get called for an inpatient consult.

-Previous fellow mentioned doing 600 procedures, unclear breakdown. Lower number, kind of concerning. No details on SCS numbers. They do not do many implants. No mention of DRG, peripheral stim, Vertiflex, and MILD. Minimal IT pump and kypho exposure.

-Per PD, didactics are pretty bad and disorganized, though he is working to improve them. Despite this, they have a 100% board pass rate.

-Interview day was disorganized as the PC took the day off or wasn’t around, so the PD had to set things up on the fly. Not a good look. Interviews were with the PD and a fellow who graduated the year prior. Relaxed interviews. No chance to interact with current fellows which I consider a red flag.
 
Aug 26, 2019
32
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Status
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Congrats to all who recently matched for pain fellowship! PGY-2 PM&R interested in pain...curious what everyone’s top 3-5 programs were and why? What should I be looking for in a pain fellowship? Thanks!
Did you quit Barca and go into pain Leo?
 
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