How to Choose an Epilepsy Fellowship

Evelyn Berman, MD.

Evelyn O. Berman, MD, a 2020 graduate of our fellowship program, says the diverse training sites and supportive mentors are program highlights.

If you’re looking for the opportunities, resources and support you need to develop as an epileptologist, we recommend looking for a program with five specific attributes.

Top Characteristics of Superior Fellowships

1. Advantageous training sites

Try to apply for a program with a regional epilepsy monitoring unit that has received the highest designation — Level 4 — from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Why is it important to train in such a setting? Simply put, you’ll be immersed in an environment that offers the most complex medical and surgical treatments available for epilepsy.

Further, your rotations should situate you in clinical settings that enable you to treat a broad patient base of both pediatric and adult populations.

Confirm that your program’s training sites will expose you to plenty of epilepsy surgery cases — and be sure that the facilities have outpatient and inpatient electroencephalography labs and a neuroimaging facility.

2. Informative didactic conferences

Look for a fellowship that requires you to attend more than two or three conferences and lectures. Your conferences should cover key areas such as epilepsy surgery, electroencephalography and long-term monitoring. You should also have opportunities to attend grand rounds and participate in journal club sessions that keep you informed about current neurological research.

3. Supportive mentors

Quality mentoring is a key element of a strong fellowship. Select a program that ensures you’ll receive personal attention from attending physicians.

4. Leadership experience

Ensure that your program gives you plenty of opportunities to gain leadership experience. You should have chances to guide medical students and residents during many of your rotations.

5. Comfortable living environment

It’s important you feel at home both in and outside of your training program. Avoid applying for epilepsy fellowships in cities that fail to meet your living needs.