SCI - Training Programs - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


SCI - Training Programs


The SCI Center participates in the Stanford University Medical School Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program. Future physiatrists participate in a two-month rotation through our program. During the rotation, the residents will gain an understanding of the pathophysiology of acute and chronic SCI and various syndromes, have the ability to work up and diagnose related conditions and complications, and be exposed to both inpatient and outpatient care environments.


Two Fellowship Programs are available to provide basic and advanced training. In our programs, SCI Medicine fellows will:

  • Gain unique clinical and research experience in an academically oriented environment.
  • Achieve proficiency in comprehensive spinal cord injury (SCI) medicine with exposure to all related specialties (such as neurosurgery, plastic surgery, pulmonary medicine, etc.) as well as acute care of newly injured patients from ER through initial rehabilitation.
  • Participate in on-going studies of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, osteoporosis, nutrition, and telemedicine applications. Potential exists to develop novel research directions and conduct independent research.
  • Engage in “Hub and Spokes” approach; learn about the VA system of coordinated care.

Stanford ACGME-Approved Clinical Fellowship in SCI Medicine (1 Year)

This Fellowship is intended for PM&R physicians who want to gain specialized experience in the field of SCI Medicine. Expectation is 80% clinical and 20% research, tailored to individual experience and interest. The primary site is VA Palo Alto SCI Center with two months spent at the regional Santa Clara Valley SCI Center. Fellows are provided one-on-one training, didactic education, and clinical mentoring. Non-PM&R clinicians in related fields may also be eligible.

Contact: Dr. Vandana Punj, MD, Program Director, (650) 493-5000 x63028.

VA Advanced SCI Medicine Fellowship (2 Years)

This Fellowship is intended for PM&R physicians who have completed an ACGME SCI Fellowship and also is open to non-PM&R physicians interested in advancing their skills and knowledge in SCI Medicine. Focus is 80-100% research, tailored to individual experience and interest. Leadership skills and development of a broader vision are emphasized. Involvement in outcomes management, quality improvement, administration and program management are available. Advanced fellows are expected to be capable of self-direction and independence.

Contact: Jenny Kiratli, PhD, Program Director, (650) 493-5000 x65095.

Psychology Training Program

Nationally recognized APA approved Clinical Psychology Training Program: Psychology Trainees (Fellows, Interns, and Practicum Student) coordinate and participate in the provision of psychological services. Trainees are assigned a caseload for which they assume supervised responsibility for all aspects of the patient's psychological care. Opportunities for research are available and encouraged. Several presentations, publications, and dissertations have been accomplished by students and the integration of science and practice is supported.

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