The UCLA Neurocritical Care Fellowship is a nationally recognized clinical training program in neurocritical care. The program is a two-year program. This is one of a few recognized training programs in the United States and has been in existence since 1999. The Neurocritical Care Society and the American Academy of Neurology Section of Emergency and Critical Care Neurology have recently recognized UCLA as a premier example training program which encompasses and exceeds all fellowship requirements in neurocritical care. We have trained many fellows who have gone on to academic and clinical careers since our inception. UCLA is one of the first UCNS Accredited Fellowship Programs in the U.S.
The UCLA program is unique in several respects.
The current program consists of four fellows, two ICU NPS, and 10 board certified attending physicians including: Dr. Paul Vespa, Dr. Manuel Buitrago Blanco, Dr. Yince Loh, Dr. Robert Shpiner, Dr. Joseph Meltzer, Dr. Rajan Saggar, Dr. Anahat Dhillon, Dr. Tisha Wang, Dr. David Boldt, Dr. Vadim Gudzenko. We also have a multidisciplinary team of dedicated Pharm Ds, Respiratory Technologists, and Nursing leaders. The fellow is the main ICU doctor for all of the patients in the Neuro-ICU and has primary responsibility for the treatment of these patients. Neurology and Neurosurgery residents rotate in the ICU on a monthly basis.
In addition to the clinical team, the research team consists of basic science research faculty members (PhDs - Dr. David Hovda, Dr. David McArthur, Dr. Thomas Glenn, Dr. Benjamin Ellingson, Dr. Matthew Wright, Dr. Martin Monti, Dr. Jack Van Horn), lab techs, a senior nurse research coordinator (Ms. Courtney Real) and two senior lab assistants/researchers. The research team members are actively engaged in mentoring the fellows in experimental design, experimental methods, statistical training, and grantsmanship activities.
The candidates must be ABMS board eligible or certified in Neurology, Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology or other critical care ABMS specialty, and are independently licensed or fible for licensure through the state of California. The fellowship consists of a two-year period of time of dedicated clinical training and research.
The UCLA Neuro-ICU is a state-of-the-art intensive care unit that is leading the world in patient care, technology, and research. We have moved into our new, dedicated 24 bed ICU in the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. We have a total of 106 ICU beds at UCLA and a team of 40 intensivists house wide. We average 2000 admissions/year. UCLA NeuroICU fellows are exposed to a large volume of clinical material and experience. All neurological emergencies and critical care cases are admitted to the ICU with an equal balance of stroke, trauma, neuromuscular disease, status epilepticus, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, brain tumors, myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, cardiac arrest, and spinal cord injury/surgery admitted each year. We triage and treat every cardiac arrest patient in any ICU at UCLA.
Basic and clinical science research are strongly supported through NIH funded research programs in brain trauma, intracerebral hemorrhage, and stroke. Fellows are expected to conduct a closely mentored research project, publish abstracts and full-length manuscripts and participate in ongoing research efforts. The ICU environment is strongly oriented towards innovation and cutting edge approaches and research. We are funded by several sources including an NIH Program Project Grant, NIH SPROTRIAS grant, NIH K08 grant, NOH RO1 grants, Department of Defense, The State of California Neurotrauma Initiative Grant and several industry sponsored trials. Each fellow participates in the two-year NIH K 30 Clinical Translational Research Program that is offered at UCLA in conjunction with the NIH. UCLA features the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (https://ctsi.ucla.edu/) which facilitates interdisciplinary research across much of the distributed UCLA campus.
The UCLA Neurocritical Care program is well regarded among neurointensivists. We have trained over a dozen graduates. These graduates of the program have matriculated to University Faculty Appointments in Neurocritical Care. Dr. Vespa is a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine, a founding member of the board of directors of the Neurocritical Care Society, and an Editorial Board Member of Critical Care Medicine, Neurocritical Care, Surgical Neurology, and The International Journal of Critical Care. Dr. Vespa is a member of the UCNS Board of Directors and was named Chair of the UCNS in August 2009. He is also a guest editor for several additional journals including Critical Care, Current Opinion in Critical Care, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Neurology, Annals of Neurology. Dr. Vespa has served as a faculty educator for numerous national and international conferences.
Fellows are very cherished in our program and one of the fundamental reasons for the existence of our program. The expectations for fellows are that each fellow matriculate into a premier position as a clinician-scientist and be positioned to make a significant contribution to the field. The job market continues to increase for neurointensivists and our candidates are encouraged to seek outstanding career opportunities. We expect fellows to pass the UCNS Neurocritical Care Board Examination within one year of completion of the fellowship training and be certified in Neurocritical Care. Fellows average 56 hours/week of work, well below the 80 hour work limit.
The pay scale and full benefits package are superior with starting salary at the PGY appropriate level (PGY 5 for year 1, PGY6 for year 2) according to the UCLA PGY pay scale and cost of living adjustment for Los Angeles. The salary is usually quite competitive and comfortable. In addition, there is an annual book allowance of $1,000.00 and an annual travel allowance to one major national meeting. There is two weeks paid vacation.
Since the selection of fellowship is a significant decision, we recommend that serious candidates spend a one-week elective rotation with us at UCLA. This is an observer rotation that permits the fellow to familiarize one with our program.
|Critical Care||Research||Brain Metabolism|
|NIH K 30 Program
Methods skill sets
Clinical Trial Design
PET, MRI, MRS
|06:00||ICU work rounds with the neurosurgery residents|
|08:00||ICU Attending teaching rounds with residents and fellows|
|11:00||ICU work and procedures|
|12:00||ICU topic mini-conference|
|13:00||Family meetings, TCD and other test review sessions|
|17:00||Evening ICU rounds with neurosurgery residents|
|18:00||Nights and weekend call duty (call by telemedicine/phone)|
|Monday||14:00||Neurocritical Care Fellows Conference|
|Wednesday||07:15||Neurosurgery Grand Rounds|
|09:00||Neurology Grand Rounds|
|14:00||Neurocritical Care Teaching Conference|
|17:00||Neurocritical Care/Neurosurgery Guest Speaker Series|
|Friday||07:30||Stroke/Vascular/Interventional Case Conference|
|14:00||Neurocritical Care Residents Conference|
|08:00-11:00||Fellow Data Review or data accrual|
|11:00||Meeting with Mentor to review progress|
|13:00||Meeting for statistical review and analysis|
|17:00||Research day ends|
1 year at PGY 5 salary 2nd year at PGY6 salary
Fellowship Application Period
January to March
Typical Source of Funding
Number of Positions Funded Per Year
Is Program Conducted Entirely Within the Department of Neurology
No. Conducted within the Department of Neurosurgery.