Pain medicine fellows now have the opportunity to complete an interventional spine subspecialty track as part of their one-year fellowship. The elective track, which will begin in the 2021-22 academic year, aims to enhance their comprehensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic pain problems related to the spine.
Fellows will become proficient in spine interventions and other minimally invasive techniques for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pain from pathologies related to the spinal canal and neuroforaminal stenosis. A wide range of disorders will be covered, including lumbar disc herniation, neuropathic pain, and spinal trauma.
Training will include patient care, research, and education. Fellows will gain direct patient care experience at the UF Health Comprehensive Spine Center, pain medicine clinics, and interventional pain inpatient services, with a primary focus on outpatient interventional spine/endoscopic spine consults.
The track is embedded into the ACGME-accredited Pain Medicine Fellowship at UF Health, which provides trainees with education on the most advanced pain procedures, including spinal endoscopy, minimally invasive lumbar decompression, interspinous spacers, vertebral augmentation, and neuromodulation.
Part of the rationale for creating the subspecialty track was that a significant portion of the educational experience of the Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine Fellowship is related to spinal conditions; the track provides a way to maintain and advance evidence-based therapies to ensure patients receive the best care.
“All spinal conditions and age groups are represented in our patient population in ambulatory and hospital settings so we have excellent infrastructure to provide this advanced subspecialty training,” said Rene Przkora, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of anesthesiology who also directs the fellowship and serves as chief of the Division of Pain Medicine. “We hope to provide our fellows with the skills and knowledge base they need to obtain leadership roles in their communities, hospitals, and academic centers after graduation.”
All matched Pain Medicine fellows will be eligible to apply for the track, which does not affect the educational requirements for the main fellowship. Przkora will select qualified applicants in consultation with pain medicine faculty at UF Health and the VA. Fellows who complete the track will receive an additional certificate indicating their subspecialty expertise.