UC Receives Approval for New Epilepsy Fellowship

David Ficker, MDThe University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine has received approval for a new epilepsy fellowship from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)—one of only five newly approved epilepsy programs across the country.

The newly approved one-year fellowship will permit fellows to spend the entire year dedicated to epilepsy training only. Previously, epilepsy training was part of the clinical neurophysiology fellowship.

The UC fellowship will become effective July 1, 2015. Currently, according to the ACGME, there are eight accredited epilepsy fellowships in the United States.

“This approval places us on the cutting edge of epilepsy training,” said David Ficker, MD, an associate professor in the department of neurology and rehabilitation medicine and program director for the fellowship. Ficker noted that the ACGME approved the fellowship with no citations (areas not in substantial compliance)—an uncommon occurrence, he said.

A fellowship is the period of medical training that a physician may undertake after completing his or her residency. Fellows in the UC program will primarily train at UC Health University Hospital in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and epilepsy specialty clinics. They will learn pediatric epilepsy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Ficker expects that this fellowship will be highly sought after and indicates that the July 2015 fellowship position has already been filled.

The Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine’s epileptologists (neurologists who specialize in the treatment of epilepsy) are members of the Epilepsy Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute (UCNI), a partnership of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health.

The Epilepsy Center at UCNI is the Cincinnati region’s only adult epilepsy center with a Level 4 rating—the highest rating possible—from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC).

The NAEC defines Level 4 centers as those that “have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.” The UC Epilepsy Center has held a Level 4 designation from the NAEC since the Level 4 certifications began in 2005.

The UC Epilepsy Center’s clinical team consists of experts in the diagnosis and treatment of epileptic seizures, with a history of leadership in researching new medical therapies. The multidisciplinary team includes epileptologists, a neurosurgeon who specializes in epilepsy surgery, a neuropsychologist, neuroscience nurses and electroencephalographic technologists.

The center also includes Greater Cincinnati’s only adult inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU), which offers 24-hour video/EEG monitoring.

The center’s New-Onset Seizure Clinic provides rapid consultation to patients who have experienced a recent seizure or seizure-like episode, and a specialized clinic is available to U.S. veterans with epilepsy.

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