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Pain Medicine Fellowship

 Starting in 1993 the UC San Diego Pain Medicine Fellowship has offered specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain syndromes, cancer, and acute pain. Our fellows learn to employ a multidimensional treatment approach that includes physical therapies, pharmacologic agents, psychological therapies, alternative medicine therapies, as well as a broad array of interventional techniques. The program’s multidisciplinary training of pain fellows includes core faculty from anesthesia, PM&R and neurology. Fellows also receive training from guest lecturers and rotation faculty from psychiatry, psychology, palliative medicine, gynecology, orthopedic surgery, radiology, and physical therapy. We accept fellowship applicants from any discipline that offers ABMS certification in Pain Medicine including: Anesthesia, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurology, Psychiatry, and others. 

Clinical training occurs primarily at UC San Diego Health System’s Center for Pain Medicine outpatient and procedures clinics in La Jolla and at San Diego Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) pain clinic and pain procedure suite, also in La Jolla, California. Additionally, fellows consult on inpatients at UC San Diego’s La Jolla and Hillcrest Hospitals. Fellows have rotations in Psychiatry, Neuro-Radiology and Palliative Care. Each fellow receives 4 weeks of protected research time in order to concentrate on a project of their choosing. Fellows are paired with a research mentor who works closely with them throughout the 12 month fellowship. Lectures on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, diagnosis, and management of pain are held weekly and cover a wide range of topics required by the ACGME. Pain Medicine grand rounds are also held weekly and include M&M case conferences, multidisciplinary grand rounds with our pain psychologists, palliative care service joint case conferences, journal clubs, radiology rounds, research forums and a quarterly joint case tele-conference with UC Davis Pain Medicine Program.  All fellows take a graduate level neuroscience course on mechanisms of pain taught by UC San Diego pain clinical and research faculty.

The UC San Diego Pain Medicine Fellowship was the recipient of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 2019 Pain Medicine Fellowship Excellence Award.

Optional 2 - 3 Year Research and Clinical Pain Fellowship:

UC San Diego offers the option of a two to three year combined fellowship in clinical research and clinical pain management. The goal of the combined research/pain fellowship is to train physicians in research, education, and clinical pain medicine in order to launch their careers as independent academic researchers and clinical leaders in pain medicine. The structure of this combined fellowship includes one year as a Neuromodulation Pain Research (NPR) fellow, followed by a second year as a clinical pain medicine fellow then an optional third year as a research fellow. The NPR fellowship is funded by the Veterans Administration Office of Academic Affairs in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry.  This program provides intensive training in clinical, academic and health systems research, study design and implementation, program administration, and provides essential training in grant writing techniques. Multiple mentored research opportunities are available with focus on furthering the understanding of neuromodulation mechanisms aimed to improve clinical efficacy. The combined UCSD-NPR/Pain Medicine fellowship provides an ideal setting in which to train talented physicians to become highly productive clinical researchers and leaders in the fields of neuromodulation and pain medicine. Applicants may indicate an interest in this combined fellowship via separate communication to the fellowship program director.  Interviews for the NPR fellowship will take place along with the regular clinical fellowship interviews. Qualified applicants will be accepted for a two-year fellowship outside of the match with the option for a third year.  

Current Fellows



Yi Cai, MDKelly Bruno, MD
Ryan Fraiser, DOJoel Castellanos, MD
Ben Shin, MDBrandon Dairo, MD
Revik Vartanian, DODennis Kuo, MD
Alyssa Zhu, MDJessica Oswald, MD

Applications Process

Interested Candidates Should Apply through ERAS. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.  If you have supplemental materials you wish to submit please email them to the program coordinator. Fellowship runs from August 1st to July 31st.

Application Period

Applications will be accepted from December 1st – April 15th for positions starting the next year. 

Contact Information

Ileana Ramirez
Anesthesiology Fellowship Coordinator
Office: (858) 657-5272
Fax: (858) 249-1239
Nicole D'Angelo
Executive Assistant/Administrative Support
Office: (858) 858-657-7702
Fax: (858) 249-1239
Timothy Furnish, MD
Director of Pain Fellowship Program
UCSD Department of Anesthesiology
9300 Campus Point Dr., MC 7651
La Jolla, CA 92037
Jeffrey Chen, MD
Associate Program Director, Pain Fellowship Program
UCSD Department of Anesthesiology