University of Utah Health's ACGME-accredited Pain Medicine fellowship offers comprehensive training in interdisciplinary pain management. The primary learning site is the Pain Management Center, a free-standing clinic staffed by physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and pain psychologists working in an integrated setting. Most patients are evaluated by all services and discussed in a staff meeting where treatment plans are formulated involving coordinated care by all disciplines. The physician faculty are all fellowship trained and board-certified in Pain Medicine. Patient care emphasizes an individualized, rehabilitative philosophy, and adheres to evidence-based medical, behavioral, and interventional approaches.
In addition to developing a strong training in the interdisciplinary management of chronic pain, our class of four fellows receive additional, important, sub-specialty in the following areas:
- Cancer Pain
Each fellow spends 10 weeks at the Huntsman Cancer Institute as a member of the Supportive Oncology Service. Here, fellows gain a unique experience in the interdisciplinary management of complex cancer pain, including medication management, neurolytic procedures, kyphoplasty, and a busy intrathecal pump service.
- Interventional Pain Management
To supplement the interventional experience at the PMC, our faculty members at the Veterans Administration hospital proctor fellows in a wide spectrum of complex spinal procedures including neuromoduation.
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)
As part of the VA rotations fellows will spend time developing expertise in musculoskeletal medicine with experiences including general PM&R outpatient clinic, EMG and nerve conduction studies, and joint injection clinic.
Our emphasis is to provide fellows with an exposure to psychiatry that is relevant to their future pain practice. At the VA hospital, fellows attend a general psychiatry clinic in addition to a Suboxone clinic.
Each fellow spends one week at University of Utah Health's Headache Clinic, where they experience interdisciplinary headache management, and also receive experience with electrophysiology and imaging interpretation.
- Acute pain
Fellows spend a dedicated week in the inpatient setting at Huntsman Cancer Hospital managing acute pain issues in this population, including complex opioid and adjunct medication regimens, intravenous infusions, and neuraxial catheters. Fellows are NOT responsible for postoperative acute pain management – this is covered by a separate service.
For the first two months, fellows receive daily one-hour lectures on the fundamentals of pain medicine. Thereafter, protected time every Friday morning allows for participation in our pain medicine didactic series, a collaborative educational endeavor with our pain research colleagues and pain physicians from our community. Other learning opportunities include a monthly journal club, neuromodulation conference, and our spinal oncology treatment planning conference. In our eligible graduates, our pain board pass rate is 100 percent over the last 10 years.
The fellowship provides two weeks of dedicated research time to spend on Quality Assurance projects and a mentored project with a faculty member. The project is tailored to the interests and past research experience of the fellow with an emphasis on developing academic skills.
2 weeks of electives are chosen midway through the year so the fellow can focus on his/her perceived deficiencies or tailor remaining training to best fit their career plans. Examples include additional training at following sites:
- Huntsman Cancer Institute
- VA Medical Center training
- Pain Management Center
- Headache Clinic
- Palliative Medicine
- PM&R Clinic
- Addiction Medicine
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