Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship Program

Brief description of the program:

Our Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship offers active participation in a program that combines comprehensive training in clinical neuromuscular disease, electrodiagnostic medicine (including evoked potentials), and muscle and nerve histopathology. Our faculty expertise and institutional resources cover all aspects of adult and pediatric neuromuscular disease with additional exposure to rehabilitation medicine. Opportunities exist to participate in intramural or extramurally funded basic, translational, and clinical research projects. This program can be tailored toward individuals interested in academic or private practice careers.

Clinical Care

Fellows will provide clinical care in a predominately outpatient setting. Fellows will be responsible for evaluating and diagnosing adult and pediatric patients with neuromuscular disorders and will perform and interpret advanced techniques in electrodiagnostic medicine under faculty supervision. Such techniques include routine nerve conduction studies, blink responses, repetitive nerve stimulation (Jolly test), needle electromyography, single fiber EMG, and evoked potential studies (visual, brainstem auditory, and somatosensory). This work will take place at the EMG Laboratory located in Sparks Center at UAB Hospital. Evaluation of inpatients with neuromuscular disease is also provided through bedside studies in the hospital or assessment in the EMG Laboratory.


Fellows will evaluate patients in general neuromuscular disease outpatient clinics as well as specialty clinics such as the ALS Clinic, the adult MDA Clinic located at The Kirklin Clinic and the children’s MDA Clinic located at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Clinic service is also provided in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic located at Spain Rehabilitation Center. These clinics expose fellows to the comprehensive assessment, monitoring, and treatment of neurological disorders involving motor and sensory neurons, nerve roots, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, and muscles in both adults and children. Fellows also become experienced at neuromuscular rehabilitation and adaptive equipment used in neuromuscular disorders. Fellows will interact with physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists, and will become experienced with home health and hospice services.

Fellows will participate in performing nerve, muscle, and skin biopsies under attending physician supervision. Interpretation of these biopsy specimens prepared in the Shin J. Oh Nerve and Muscle Histopathology Laboratory is an essential aspect of the comprehensive clinical care provided by fellows in this program.

Fellows also evaluate general neurology patients at the Cooper Green Mercy Hospital under the supervision of an attending physician.

An autonomic nervous system laboratory is being developed and fellows will participate in the diagnosis of patients with suspected disorders of the autonomic nervous system.

Research

Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in one or more clinical and or basic science research projects under the direction of the Neuromuscular Division faculty. The project can be selected by the fellow to meet specific interests and goals. There are several ongoing clinical trials in myasthenia gravis, ALS, and CIDP that fellows could actively participate in. Guided by career goals, opportunities exist to participate in basic and translational science projects in neuromuscular medicine. Based on initial progress and productivity, grants to support early stage career development will be sought from extramural sources such as the National Institutes of Health, provided the fellow is committed to a career in academic neurology. All fellows will participate in a quality improvement project as well.

Other Educational Activities

Fellows actively participate in weekly Clinical Neurophysiology Conferences. These include didactic lectures by the Epilepsy and Neuromuscular Division faculty, as well as journal and subject reviews in all areas of clinical neurophysiology, including autonomic nervous system testing and polysomnography. Weekly conferences in neuromuscular pathology provide further educational opportunities with access to over 40-years of specimens. Fellows have the opportunity to attend weekly conferences in neuropathology, neuroradiology, and pediatric neuromuscular diseases. Fellows will enhance their education by taking on teaching responsibilities consisting of presentations at the Neuromuscular Pathology Conference and periodically at the weekly Clinical Neurophysiology Conferences. As required, fellows will also educate housestaff and medical students through informal interactions in the clinic and EMG Laboratory as well as formal seminars in EMG/neuromuscular disease, improving their knowledge base and teaching skills.

Expectations

Full licensure in the State of Alabama (State of Alabama medical license, Alabama Controlled Substance Certificate, and Federal DEA) is required to participate in this fellowship program. Successful completion of all three steps of the USMLE is necessary for Alabama licensure.

During the course of the fellowship it is expected that fellows will demonstrate progressively increased subspecialty knowledge and progress towards clinical independence by the end of their training. Fellows will have frequent discussions with the EMG/neuromuscular faculty related to the clinical care, specialized evaluation, and diagnosis in inpatient and outpatient settings. Through this extensive training program, fellows will accumulate experience and knowledge to practice in academic or private settings.

Subject to the approval of the Director, attendance of one national meeting such as the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology, or the American Neurological Association is encouraged. A maximum of $1000 is allotted from the Department of Neurology for approved travel and educational expenses, licenses, etc., during the year of training.

To Apply

Application components:

1.    CV

2.    A personal statement that includes:

a.    Reasons for application

b.    Career plans

c.    How the fellowship will promote your career

3.    Letters of recommendation from three faculty references, preferably from their knowledge of your professional abilities. One letter should be from your Neurology Resident Program Director or Department Chair.

Please send your application and reference letters to:

Eroboghene E. Ubogu, MD
Professor of Neurology
Director, Division of Neuromuscular Diseases
Director, EMG and Evoked Potential Laboratory
Directo, Shin J. Oh Muscle and Nerve Histopathology Laboratory
Director, Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship Program
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Sparks Center 200
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-0017
P: (205) 934-2188
F: (205) 945-6758