UAB's Epilepsy Fellowship Program
Thank you for your interest in our fellowship program. The first-year fellowship is designated the "Clinical Neurophysiology Residency", which is a PGY-5 position. This is a fully accredited program; upon completion, you are eligible to take the examination for subspecialty certification in clinical neurophysiology of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
There are four clinical neurophysiology residents at UAB each year, two with an emphasis on epilepsy/EEG and two with an emphasis on EMG/neuromuscular disease. The two residents in the epilepsy/EEG area usually rotate on a monthly basis between primary responsibility for the inpatient Seizure Monitoring Unit and primary responsibility for epilepsy outpatient clinics and electroencephalography.
We have an 7-bed Seizure Monitoring Unit with 40 to 50 admissions per month. The Penfield Epilepsy Service is a separate inpatient service in the University of Alabama Hospital and is usually staffed by an attending, one fellow, one resident, and two nurse practitioners. This service also performs intraoperative electrocorticography for epilepsy surgery, cortical stimulation, ictal SPECT scans, sphenoidal electrode insertions, WADA testing , MEG, and other special techniques. The fellow will obtain abundant experience in these areas.
The epilepsy surgical program performs approximately 50 resections yearly. We have a close relationship with both adult and pediatric neurosurgery. We also have available one monitored bed for EEG/video monitoring in the Birmingham Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which is connected with the University Hospital, and four beds in The Children's Hospital of Alabama, one block away.
Approximately 2500 routine EEGs are interpreted yearly. These include carotid and ICU monitoring studies. We have an active ICU/EEG monitoring service.
We are the primary academic referral center for approximately 5 million people, all of the 4 million in Alabama, plus the Florida panhandle and adjacent portions of Mississippi and Tennessee. Accordingly, we have busy outpatient clinics with referrals, primarily from neurologists, from this region. During the clinic months, the first-year fellow will spend time in specialized epilepsy clinics, particularly evaluating new patients with refractory epilepsy. Since most of these clinics are not staffed by residents, the fellow usually works directly with the attending physician.
EEG reading with the attending physician is conducted during these months on three afternoons per week. We provide sufficient experience for review and familiarization with other aspects of clinical neurophysiology during this year. This includes one half-day per week, during the clinic months, assigned to the EMG/evoked potential laboratory and interpretation of sleep studies; more experience in these areas, as well as in autonomic testing, is elective.
Our fellowship program is designed to prepare interested individuals to be effective, independent clinical investigators.
We work with first-year fellows to identify a clinical research project which can reasonably be completed during the year and usually including presentation at a national meeting.
A second year of fellowship can be arranged by mutual agreement for those interested in an academic career or desiring additional clinical experience.
Our strongest areas are neuroimaging (including MRI, fMRI, PET, SPECT, and MEG), neuropsychology, and neuropharmacology). There is also access to our extensive outpatient database which focuses on epilepsy syndromes and pharmacology, and our inpatient databases focusing on epilepsy surgery and the seizure monitoring results.
We have weekly teaching conferences on epilepsy, EMG/neuromuscular disease, neuropathology, neuroradiology, pediatric neurology, as well as Neurology Grand Rounds. There is also a weekly conference designed specifically for clinical neurophysiology fellows with reviews of all areas beginning with basic physiology and proceeding through clinical topics.
Completion of a neurology residency program in the United States or Canada and full licensure in the state of Alabama is required for these positions. Licensure in Alabama requires successful completion of all three steps of the USMLE. Candidates with both H1 and J1 visas are encouraged to apply.
Thank you again for your interest in our program and please call me if you have any questions.
Larry Ver Hoef, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Epilepsy Track
UAB Clinical Neurophysiology Program