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Movement Disorders Fellowship

Welcome to the Yale Movement Disorders Fellowship website. Yale has had a longstanding Movement Disorders Fellowship, fostering the development of superb clinical and academic skills. The program is quite flexible and can be tailored to individual needs, although the core features of this two-year program are clinical and scholarly training. In their letter of intent, applicants are requested to specify their clinical and scholarly interests. In the sections below, we describe the clinical core, the research core, unique features of the program, and the application process. Please visit the Yale Movement Disorders Division website for more information, including faculty bios.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to email or call us at 203-785-6599.

Sara Schaefer, MD, MHS
Fellowship Director

Clinical Core

The clinical core is at the heart of the program. Fellows devote approximately 40-60% of their time (i.e., four to six half-days per week) in both years to outpatient clinics. This unique schedule allows for continuity of care of patients across both years of fellowship, as well as greater longitudinal time for scholarly work. More or less clinical time may be negotiated depending on the scholarly and clinical interests of a given fellow, at the discretion of the program leadership.

Our faculty have expertise in the full breadth of movement disorders, including common and rare presentations and procedures. Our trainees work with many faculty over their two-year training, gaining exposure to a broad range of styles so that they can sharpen their diagnosis, management, and clinical reasoning skills while honing their own personal approaches to patient care. In addition to these activities in the outpatient setting, fellows work with the faculty in the inpatient setting, evaluating hospitalized patients who require movement disorders expertise. Interested fellows may also rotate through a number of unique clinical settings, including clinics in pediatric movement disorders, autonomic disorders, neuro ophthalmology, sleep neurology, Wilson’s disease, otolaryngology, neuropsychology, and neurogenetics. We work closely with the Neurosurgery Department to offer deep brain stimulation and gamma knife radiation therapy to our patients. Fellows participate in monthly multidisciplinary meetings to discuss patient eligibility and are encouraged to observe and participate in the OR.

Other clinical resources include excellent and dedicated nursing and support staff who assist with patient phone calls, paperwork, etc.

Aside from learning through direct patient care and interaction with our faculty, the fellows participate in regular movement disorder video rounds both locally and regionally. Videotaped examinations provide the centerpiece for clinical and academic discussions during the sessions, and often provide the seed for clinical research projects. Fellows are encouraged to attend relevant conferences, lectures, and workshops within our field, and are provided with many resources (e.g. podcasts, reading lists, modules, lecture series, etc.) to broaden their clinical acumen.

Research Core

Fellows have 40-60% available time (i.e., four to six half-days per week) to develop their scholarly projects; as with the clinical time, this may be adjusted depending on the goals of an individual fellow and at the discretion of program leadership. The two-year structure allows for longitudinal engagement in scholarly work.

Fellows enter the program with varying levels of insight into their future interests, ranging from those who have yet to develop a sense of their interests to those who have already formulated a clear path. The program leadership is passionate about connecting fellows with relevant mentors to foster meaningful scholarly careers based on the strengths, skills, and aspirations of each fellow. All fellows are expected during their two years of training to write at least one scholarly paper. This might take the form of a case report, a case series, a paper involving the collection of original data, or a review article. Fellows would then present one or more abstracts at national or international meetings.

Through their interactions with our faculty, fellows who are interested in clinical research careers may be exposed to and develop expertise in all aspects of clinical research including project development, IRB submission, recruitment and data collection, development of manuscripts and presentation, and grant writing. Our faculty have a range of clinical research interests, including neuroimaging, biofeedback, Parkinson’s disease and REM sleep behavior disorder, inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases, Wilson’s disease, cognition in movement disorders patients, multidisciplinary care, deep brain stimulation, restless legs syndrome, and more.

Fellows who have a particular interest in clinical research and epidemiology may consider the T32 Institutional Training Grant through the NIH, which is available through our department. If this is of interest, please reach out directly to the program for further information at the time of your application or as soon as you develop this interest.

We support and encourage scholarly work outside of clinical or basic science research. There are abundant opportunities in medical education, including a Masters in Health Science (MHS) with a focus on medical education through the Yale School of Medicine Teaching and Learning Center. The Yale School of Medicine also has close partnerships with the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale School of Management, and other allied schools, and the Department of Neurology has multiple connections in global health. Fellows are encouraged to specify their scholarly interests in their personal statements so that we may provide them with the range of opportunities.

Unique Features

The core features of the Yale Movement Disorders program were described in the previous sections on this fellowship website. A number of special features deserve additional highlighting:

  1. The fellowship director has more than five years of direct program leadership experience, a long-standing relationship with Yale Department of Neurology both through training and as faculty, and a Masters in health science with a focus on medical education. Curricula, mentorship, and assessment are all curated using up-to-date pedagogical theories and tools.
  2. The Division of Movement Disorders is expanding, bringing on additional faculty with varied interests and expertise. We are opening a new Comprehensive Parkinson Disease Center in 2023 to provide top-of-the-line multidisciplinary care to our patients.
  3. The Department of Neurology at Yale has received the T32 Institutional Training Grant through the NIH to support fellows who have a particular interest in clinical research and epidemiology. Interested future fellows should email the program leadership directly about their interest.
  4. Close ties to other clinical departments and programs at the medical center provide fellows with opportunities for unique exposure to patients with Wilson’s disease, dysautonomia, spasmodic dysphonia, and more.

How to Apply

Yale is a member of a consortium of movement disorders fellowship training programs in which a matching plan is utilized. This is the San Francisco Match for Movement Disorders. In order to apply to our fellowship, applicants should register and submit their application through the San Francisco match website. The application should include the following documents:

  1. A personal statement explaining the candidate's interest in movement disorders and his/her future career goals, including scholarly interests.
  2. A curriculum vitae.
  3. Three letters of recommendation, addressed to Dr. Schaefer, the fellowship director, with one letter being from the candidate's residency program director.

Applications should be submitted during the PGY3 year, and applicants must have successfully completed their neurology residency program before entering the Yale fellowship program. After the application process, selected candidates will be scheduled for an interview. Interviews take place from June of PGY3 through August of PGY4 (i.e. approximately 11-13 months before starting the fellowship). We welcome applications from future fellows on visas.

Applicants with questions can email the Fellowship Program.