The VCU Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research Center offers one-year and two-year fellowship positions in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) impacts nearly 1 million individuals in the US and is the most common cause of non-traumatic disability in young people. The diagnostic challenges and unique needs of MS patients have always posed a challenge to providers, and with a growing number of effective therapies (24 FDA-approved medications at present), the management of these patients has become more complex. Navigating extensive medication side effect profiles, heterogeneous phenotypes of disease activity, and evolving treatment paradigms makes fellowship training in neuroimmunology more vital than ever before.

Our VCU Neuroimmunology-MS Fellowship Program offers 1- and 2-year fellowship positions, in a flexible and supportive learning environment to meet the unique needs and interests of each individual fellow. Our 1-year program is a mentored clinically focused training program designed to provide the requisite knowledge and skills to provide exceptional clinical care for individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related neuro-inflammatory disorders.  We also have the option of a 2nd year, for fellows with an interest in pursuing independent research projects in clinical, translational research, or basic science labs.

The Foundational Principles of the VCU Neuroimmunology-MS Fellowship include:

  • Support fellows in exploring their individual academic and clinical interests to best prepare them for their future careers as MS specialists.
  • Cultivate fellows’ curiosity and commitment to a life of learning, shaping them into resourceful clinical educators that will in turn teach patients, other community members, and future trainees.
  • Refine fellows’ ability to think critically about the medical literature, while incorporating new evidence-based information into clinical practice.
  • Educate fellows on how to establish and operate a successful multi-disciplinary MS clinic in a variety of settings (e.g. private, hospital-based, or academic).

 

Fellows will evaluate new and established patients in the Multiple Sclerosis outpatient clinic, under the supervision of faculty mentors, Dr. Goldman (Fellowship Director), Dr. Oh, and Dr. Canissario.  All three of our faculty mentors have MS-fellowship training and experience in caring for and managing patients with MS and related disorders. Fellow clinic visits consist of a mix of initial consultations and established patient follow-up visits. Our clinic includes a rich mix of patients with all MS phenotypes and other neuro-inflammatory disorders across a wide range of ages and racial diversity.  Fellows participate in the inpatient neuroimmunology consultative service, where they evaluate patients and make diagnostic and treatment recommendations under the supervision of faculty mentors. Through this consulting service, fellows gain exposure to severe or atypical manifestations of MS and related disorders.  Our fellows also have the opportunity to participate in our Lumbar Puncture clinic and learn Botox administration. 

We believe such a multi-facet clinical training plan is critical to becoming a clinician who provides exceptional, comprehensive care to patients with MS and related disorders.  Additionally, trainees can rotate with other specialty providers including urology, PM&R, and neuroradiology. Through this exposure to a myriad of disciplines, fellows will better understand the multi-faceted needs and potential solutions for MS patients, as well as will gain insight into how to organize team care in their future clinical practice.

Electives in Subspecialty Care.  Several elective opportunities are available to fellows, including:

  • Urology: Rotation with a Urologist or Urogynecologist in the outpatient setting to learn about common presentations and management of neurogenic bladder.
  • Physical Medicine & Rehab: Rotation with a PM&R physician in the outpatient setting to learn about the management of complex spasticity and related conditions.
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology: Rotation in the Neuro-ophthalmology clinics to augment exposure to ophthalmology presentations of central and peripheral neurologic presentations involving the eye.
  • Neuroradiology: Rotation with the Neuroradiology Faculty to increase competency with CT and MRI interpretation, specifically focused on studies of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Rehabilitation Elective with PT/OT: Rotation at Sheltering Arms (outpatient Rehabilitation Center) to gain an understanding of common and tailored rehabilitative approaches and programs that patients receive from our PT/OT colleagues.
  • Other Neurologic Subspecialties: Rotations are also available in Sleep Medicine and Headache Program for those interested in gaining additional clinical exposure to common co-morbid conditions in MS patients.

 

Didactic Activities:  Fellows will have access to our e-library of foundational papers in the field of MS and provided with a recommended schedule to complete the readings. This e-library includes cornerstone manuscripts on the natural history of MS, development of diagnostic criteria for MS, evolution of MRI and its applications in MS clinical care, Phase III pivotal trial results for all FDA-approved medications, and pregnancy in MS, as well as a variety of other articles collected over the years that address symptomatic management and MS-related disorders (e.g. NMO). Fellows will attend and present during our bi-weekly MS Journal Club, where we review the contemporary literature that is selected weekly based on the current literature. This will aid their development in critical analysis of the literature. Once a month the MS team has Neuro-radiology Conference and a Difficult Case Conference in which fellows will actively participate.  During this case conference, MS faculty share a patient with a complex diagnosis or management question.  The patient is presented, discussed, and a plan of care is developed/recommended.

One fellowship position becomes available beginning July 1 each year.

We are now accepting applications for a July 2023 start. Fellowship applicants must have completed an accredited residency program in neurology in the U.S. or Canada. The fellowship does not participate in any matching programs.

Please submit the following original application materials:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with a current e-mail address and phone number
  • Personal statement
  • Professional photograph
  • VCU Health Systems Graduate Medical Education general application
  • Official medical school transcript
  • Test scores
    • USMLE steps 1, 2, and 3 (passing scores – no minimum)
  • Letters of recommendation: A minimum of three U.S. or Canadian physicians who know the applicant’s clinical skills and have worked with the applicant during the past two years (must be originals; no electronic copies)

Send your application materials to:

Myla.Goldman@vcuhealth.org 

 

Neuro-Immunology applicants must have completed an accredited residency program in neurology, child neurology or general psychiatry in the U.S. or Canada. For further information, please consult the ACGME and the ABPN 

After acceptance and prior to joining the program, applicants must provide a list of rotations completed during prerequisite training. This document, on letterhead from the institution where training was completed, must arrive no later than July 15. 

If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Christine Rucker
Email: Christine.Rucker@vcuhealth.org 

Myla Goldman, MD, MSc., Program Director & Chair
Email: Myla.Goldman@vcuhealth.org