Movement Disorders (MD) fellows learn by immersion while being able to select their domain of focus. Trainees can choose from three tracks: a one-year clinical fellowship, a two-year clinical fellowship or a research fellowship. For all tracks, there is a structured fellowship curriculum and a regular review of milestone ascertainment. The fellows are responsible for coordination of regular research meetings, journal club, video conferences, surgical meetings and seminars. The fellows are expected to present at national meetings and actively participate in patient outreach, patient support groups and seminars.
For both the one- and two-year clinical fellowship tracks, the first year of training provides extensive clinical experience in all aspects of movement disorders, including recognition, diagnosis and management of various movement disorders; administration of botulinum toxin injections for the treatment of movement disorders; and surgical management of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation, from selection of appropriate surgical candidates to post-operative programming. This training will involve attendance in outpatient clinics as well as participation in the inpatient consult service, in ongoing clinical trials, didactic sessions, and weekly/monthly conferences.
The foundation of any Movement Disorders fellowship is a solid clinical training. Our center has six MD fellowship-trained faculty members each with unique area of expertise, including PD, Huntington’s disease (HD), Ataxias, Dystonia, Genetics, surgical management and Pediatric MD. We have 2,500 patients in the database providing an extensive and diverse clinical experience. The center’s clinical approach is a multidisciplinary care model that includes physicians, clinical nurses, a social worker and a research team working in close collaboration. We have one of the few dedicated MD rehabilitation clinics as part of the center.
Clinical fellows will participate in at least five outpatient clinics a week with several movement disorders experts. They will also participate in the movement disorders consult service. Along with the general movement disorders clinics, fellows rotate through the Huntington’s, Wilson’s, Ataxia, Pediatric Movement Disorders and Genetics Clinics. Because of the breadth of resources available at Feinberg, the fellow may also be able to carve out exposure to unique areas of interest (e.g., rehabilitation medicine and alternative medicine)
The goal, by the end of the fellowship is for the fellow to be able to:
- Recognize, diagnose and manage various movement disorders
- Administer botulinum toxin injections for the treatment of movement disorders
- Identify appropriate candidates for deep brain stimulation and other advanced therapies
- Program deep brain stimulators and other infusion therapies for the management of movement disorders
For trainees who choose the two-year clinical program, the second year will be based more in clinical research. The fellow will have the opportunity to receive training in clinical trials methodology through formal coursework and to work toward a master's degree in public health or clinical epidemiology. There are excellent opportunities for research and collaboration in basic as well as clinical science with many disciplines across the university, and the fellows are encouraged to pursue a research project. The fellowship is structured to ensure fellows gain experience and training for a competitive research career. By conclusion of training, the fellow is expected to submit a grant proposal.
As part of the two-year fellowship, we offer a Masters in Clinical Investigation. The selection is merit based.
This track is designed for trainees with prior experience in bench research and offers training under the mentorship of our world-renowned faculty. That training will be tailored to the career goals of the specific individual, and clinical time will be balanced with lab-based research experience with the goal of submission of a Career Development Award (K grant) during the training.
Northwestern has a strong tradition of basic science and clinical research collaboration in which the fellows actively participate and contribute. See our site’s Science section for highlights our most prominent research. What is most relevant to the fellows is that the expertise of the faculty is an essential part of their training. We hold regular interdisciplinary meetings, basal ganglia campus wide symposium and “incubator” meetings. The fellows are engaged in the discussions of the conceptual design of studies, recruitment and data analysis, as is apparent from their CVs.
Mentoring & Community
Feinberg, the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and the movement disorder specialists within the department have a strong commitment to training of the next generation of academic neurologists. That commitment shows in our NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award, our department’s status as a NINDS R25 site and the MD faculty that hold major educational appointments.
All faculty actively mentor the fellows. One of the best attestations of commitment to the training and quality of the trainees is that many fellows have remained on as faculty. The fellowship is supported by soft funding attained via philanthropy and educational grants, but the department has a commitment to support a MD fellow. We have a dedicated MD Junior Investigator mentored research award, which is a competitive funding mechanism to support pilot projects of fellows and PhD trainees. The grants are reviewed by senior faculty based on the NIH style review. We have a designated biostatistician who works with the fellows.