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In conjunction with the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab offers several fellowships each year in the following areas:

Multidisciplinary Collaborations

Our department also collaborates with other departments and centers on multidisciplinary fellowships. Go to our collaborators' websites for more information.

About the Pain Medicine Fellowship

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine offer a one-year, ACGME-accredited Pain Medicine Fellowship.  The fellowship is a collaboration between two of the main teaching centers at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  The fellowship integrates several areas of pain medicine, including interventional pain management, acute and chronic pain management, cancer pain and palliative care, pediatric chronic pain, neurology, psychiatry and clinical research.  Our one-year fellowship program is designed to equip fellows with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to become leaders in the field of pain medicine.

The PMR fellow will primarily rotate at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in the Pain Management Center clinics, procedure suite clinics, ambulatory surgical center and inpatient pain consult service.  The fellow will have exposure to the functional restoration pain program at Shriley Ryan AbilityLab that emphasis on functional restoration and evidence based treatments.  The PMR fellow will also rotate at Northwestern Medicine at the Pain Medicine clinic.

Fellows have daily didactics with faculty and monthly fellows educational series with the Chairman of the PM&R department.  Fellows are involved in scholarly activities, including original research, quality improvement projects and presenting at Grand Rounds.

Our fellowship is tailored to accommodate a cohort of 5 fellows, ensuring personalized attention and mentorship from our esteemed faculty members.  The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to pain management, recognizing the complex nature of chronic pain and the importance of addressing it from multiple perspectives.

For more information, please contact us:
Karina Bouffard, MD, MPH
Pain PMR Fellowship Program Director


At the Shriley Ryan AbilityLab Pain Medicine Fellowship, our mission is to cultivate compassionate, skilled and innovative leaders in the field of pain medicine through interdisciplinary collaboration, evidence-based practice, and comprehensive education.

We are committed to:

  1. Excellence in Education:  Providing fellows with a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that integrates the principles of anesthesia and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation to address the multifaceted nature of pain management. 
  2. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Fostering an environment of collaboration and mutual respect among anesthesia and PMR attendings, fellows, and allied health professionals. 
  3. Innovation and Research: Encouraging fellows to engage in scholarly inquiry and research endeavors that contribute to the advancement of pain medicine knowledge and practice. 
  4. Compassionate Patient Care: Instilling in fellows a deep commitment to compassionate and ethical patient care, grounded in empathy, cultural awareness, and respect for patient autonomy. 
  5. Leadership and Advocacy: Equipping fellows with the skills and knowledge to serve as leaders and advocates for the advancement of pain medicine within their communities, institutions and professional organizations.

Clinical Experiences

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation

During the year long rotation, the fellow will:

  • Conduct initial evaluations of patients referred to the Functional Restoration Pain Program. This will include taking detailed medical histories, performing comprehensive physical examinations, and reviewing pertinent diagnostic studies to asses the patients’ pain conditions and functional limitations. 
  • Conduct a complete psychiatric/psychological history with special attention to psychiatric and pain co-morbidities.
  • Collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to develop individualized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs, goals and functional limitations.
  • Perform a variety of interventional procedures aimed at reducing pain and improving function.
  • Conduct complete mental status examinations and demonstrate this ability to a faculty observer.
  • Understand how to perform a full musculoskeletal history and appreciate the components of a neuro-musculoskeletal examination as they relate to pain issues.
  • Discuss with the physiatrist the issues associated with pharmacological management of pain.
  • Understand the role of psychological testing as part of assessment of patient’s suitability for interventional procedures; observe with a licensed psychologist some of the psychological treatments of pain, including biofeedback therapy, psychosocial therapies, behavioral and cognitive therapies and relaxation techniques.
  • Observe psychological evaluations as performed by a psychologist with expertise in pain management.
  • Observe physical and occupational therapies of patients with chronic pain syndromes and understand how therapeutic modalities integrate into treatment plans.

Operative Services, Department of Anesthesiology, NMH

During the four-week rotation, the fellow will demonstrate competency in:    

  • Obtaining IV access in a minimum of 15 patients.
  • Basic airway evaluation and management including mask ventilation in a minimum of 15 patients and endotracheal intubation in 15 patients.
  • Management of sedation, including direct administration of sedation to a minimum of 15 patients.
  • Administration of neuraxial analagesia, including placement of a minimum of 15 thoracic and lumbar epidural injections via interlaminar technique.
  • The fellow will obtain a medical history pertinent to the delivery of anesthesia services and relay this information in an appropriate manner to the supervising Anesthesiology Attending.
  • The fellow will describe the anesthesia plan and/or anesthetic treatment options to patients and family prior to surgery/procedure.
  • The fellow will communicate patient’s history and perioperative course to PACU staff in the postoperative period during sign out exercise.
  • The fellow will communicate appropriately with ancillary staff and attending staff in the OR, will participate in Pre-Operative Team Briefing and “Time-Out” exercises in addition to any other pertinent patient safety procedures.

Cancer Pain Program, NMH Palliative Care Unit

During this intensive, consecutive two-week rotation, the fellow will: 

  • Assess and manage pain and non-pain symptoms experienced by patients with terminal diseases.
  • Maintain longitudinal clinical involvement in the management of cancer patients and hospice patients.
  • Understand the clinical approach to the treatments that compromise multidisciplinary cancer pain care.
  • Understand strategies to integrate pain management into this multi-dimensional treatment model, which may be integrated with continuity experience or inpatient experience.
  • Identify issues associated win the prognosis and terminal care of patients with cancer and non-cancer diseases.
  • Know the current literature related to pain management in the terminally ill patient.
  • Learn the cultural factors involved in palliative care and various communication techniques use to overcome these boundaries.
  • Examine the legal and ethical concerns related to pain control at the end of life care as well as the administrative and logistic issues that may affect treatment.

Chronic Pain Service, Department of Anesthesia, Lurie Children’s

During the consecutive four-week rotation (a half-day each week), the fellow will: 

  • Describe the approach to evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients with pain complaints.
  • Understanding the reasons pain is viewed as difficult to evaluate in children, is often not recognized by the healthcare personnel and, consequently, is poorly treated.
  • Discuss the need for a multidisciplinary team approach to meet the needs of children and adolescents with chronic pain syndromes.

How to Apply

The fellowship offers five positions for a one-year appointment.  All fellow candidates who are selected for interviews will meet with several faculty members and trainees.  Candidates may send their application materials as soon as March 1, and interviewing typically begins in the late spring each year.  All positions will be filled through the Match.  Applications will be accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service.  All positions are filled through the NRMP Match.  Please complete your fellowship application on ERAS.  We do not require any additional information beyond what is in the ERAS application.  Please do not email the Program Director scores or supplemental materials. 


For more information on our fellowship programs, contact Jamie Byrne at 312-238-2870.

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