The Weill Cornell Tri-Institute Pain Fellowship is a 12-month, ACGME-accredited program that provides a comprehensive curriculum for training the next generation of leaders in Interventional Pain Medicine. Widely regarded as one of the top training programs in New York City and the country, the program incorporates core rotations at three of the nation's leading hospitals: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Hospital for Special Surgery. Our fellows benefit from the close association between these three world-renowned hospitals. In fact, it is this breadth of experience that we—and our graduating fellows—feel makes our program so unique and unparalleled.
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is a major international and regional tertiary referral center that is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the United States. Fellows rotating through NYPH are exposed to an evidence-based and multi-disciplinary approach to treating pain at a major academic hospital. The pain fellows' exposure to a wide variety of clinical cases—including cancer pain, spine-related pain, and other painful conditions such as CRPS—make this rotation unique. Clinical education time is split between our new Center for Comprehensive Spine Care, the Upper West Side office, and the Lower Manhattan office. All of our facilities have en suite fluoroscopy with daily procedures occurring that include ultrasound-guided procedures. Advanced pain therapies, such as spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal delivery systems, are a focus of this rotation.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is the world's largest dedicated cancer hospital. The rotation here offers a unique opportunity for pain fellows to evaluate patients with all stages of malignant disease. Fellows are exposed to the latest in cancer pain management techniques including neurolytic blocks, vertebral augmentation, and intrathecal drug delivery systems. New and creative approaches to pain management are often necessary for improving quality of life in patients with advanced disease.
The Hospital for Special Surgery
The Hospital for Special Surgery is a world-famous orthopedics and rheumatologic hospital that has been continuously top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report for twenty years. In addition to providing a specialized orthopedic, rheumatologic and rehabilitation patient referral base, the clinical rotation at HSS offers a true glimpse of a busy pain management clinic from a private practice perspective. There is a focus on cervical and lumbar spine procedures. Advanced therapies include DRG stimulation and intravenous ketamine infusions for CRPS.
Didactics and Education
Weekly Teaching Time
Fellows have protected weekly teaching time throughout the year, regardless of their clinical responsibilities.
Every Monday morning from 7:15-8:00 am, there are Pain Medicine Grand Rounds. We have invited speakers who present throughout the year.
In addition, every Thursday morning from 7:15-8:00 am, fellows have weekly didactic sessions. A wide array of topics are covered such as Board Review and Business Management. There is a lot to cover in one year and we try our best to give our fellows the full spectrum!
Journal Club is held the first Friday of the month from 7:15-8 am, and on the third Friday of the month Cadaver Workshop from 7:30-10:00 am that provides fellows with hands-on practice of various techniques. During these sessions, the Pain Medicine faculty or invited guest speakers help to cover interventional techniques for different regions of the body. Journal Club and the Cadaver Workshop are hosted by the HSS faculty.
Finally, the fellows attend a month Anesthesiology Department conference for all the fellows in the department which covers non-clinical topics such as QI, wellness, research, healthcare disparities, communication and cultural competency, etc.
Fellows are given a generous educational allowance to help support their learning. Two Pain Management books are given at the start of the fellowship, and fellows receive additional reimbursements for presenting at conferences and for research published.
We encourage our fellows to attend local and national conferences in order to meet other leaders in Pain Medicine. We give our fellows protected time and reimbursement to attend the New York & New Jersey Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians' Pain Medicine Symposium, as well as The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Interventional Cancer Pain Symposium.
Some other conferences attended by fellows in the past include North American Neuromodulation Society Annual Meeting, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Annual Pain Medicine Meeting, and American Academy of Pain Management Annual Meeting.
During the 12-month cycle, each fellow rotates between NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Hospital for Special Surgery as follows:
12-week rotation at Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Comprehensive Spine Care
12-week rotation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Pain Department
12-week rotation at Hospital for Special Surgery - Pain Department
6-week rotation which is further subdivided working with both the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Neuroradiology Department. While working with the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, fellows have the opportunity to see patients in clinic, witness EMGs being conducted, be part of physical therapy sessions and custom orthotic fittings for patients. While working with the Neuroradiology Department, fellows have the opportunity to perform Vertebral Augmentation Procedures. This is a very hands-on experience much enjoyed by our fellows.
6-week rotation which is further subdivided working at both the Weill Cornell Medicine Upper West Side office and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Psychiatry Department. While working at the West Side office, fellows see patients in clinic and perform interventional procedures daily in the en-suite fluoroscopy. While working with the Psychiatry Department, fellows have the opportunity to join the psychiatry team on inpatient rounding in the afternoon.
A Typical Work Day
- NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Your day starts at the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Comprehensive Spine Care at 8am. One fellow is assigned to seeing patients in clinic while the other fellow is assigned to doing procedures with the en-suite fluoroscopy or with the ultrasound machine. There is a 30-60-minute lunch break. The day typically finishes by 5pm for clinic and procedures. Roughly 1-2 times per week, fellows also rotate at the main hospital or the DHK building for intrathecal pump trials, intrathecal pump implants, spinal cord stimulator trials (including DRG), spinal cord stimulator implants, kyphoplasty, cooled RFA, and intracept. During the rotation, the fellows will rotate holding the pager for the clinic on-call service to answer any emergency calls from patients. During the 12-week rotation, fellows take about one weekend call per month in which they round on acute and chronic pain inpatients from 8am-1pm. The pager is then signed out and covered by the inpatient PACU resident for the remainder of the call. During the week, the chronic pain inpatient service is covered by our pain NP’s. There is a morning lecture from 7-8am on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the year.
You will also spend six weeks each at the Upper West Side clinic and the Lower Manhattan Pain Clinic. The day typically starts at 8 am, and finishes by 5pm. You will also have the opportunity to go to the OR 1-2 times per month. There is generally one call a month at HSS while on these rotations.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Pain Department
On the inpatient rotation, your day starts at 6:30am where you will perform regional blocks and thoracic epidurals for the first-scheduled OR cases. This is a great opportunity to learn and refresh your regional and ultrasound skills! After the blocks are done, you can get breakfast and meet with the inpatient NPs to discuss which patients may benefit from a block on the chronic pain inpatient service. You have the opportunity to join the IR team to do kyphoplasty several times during your rotation. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30am, you will perform CT- guided celiac plexus neurolysis blocks. There is a weekly conference on Tuesdays with the chronic pain and regional service where you will present 1-2 times during your rotation.
On the outpatient rotation, the clinic fellows begin clinic at 8 or 9am. Both fellows see patients in clinic and perform procedures daily with the en-suite fluoroscopy or with the ultrasound machine. The day typically finishes by 5pm. While at MSKCC, fellows perform a wide array of procedures including regional anesthesia blocks, epidurals, cryoablation, peripheral nerve stimulator placement, spinal cord stimulator trials and intrathecal pump implantation. During the 12-week rotation, fellows take about 2-3 twelve-hour call shifts during which they are covering the inpatient pain pager for both acute and chronic pain patients.
- Hospital for Special Surgery - Pain Department
Your day starts at 8am at the Hospital for Special Surgery Outpatient Pain Office. The fellow on the rotation is assigned to work with two attendings each day. The fellow works in conjunction with the designated attending in clinic or the ambulatory center where they will perform procedures with the en-suite fluoroscopy or with the ultrasound machine. You have a 30-60 minute lunch break. The day typically finishes by 5pm for clinic and procedures. Once a week, fellows also see patients in the Medicaid Fellows Clinic and have designated fluoroscopy time later in the week to perform procedures on their patients so there is continuity of care. While at HSS, fellows have the opportunity to see a wide range of procedures ranging from acupuncture, prolotherapy, cryoneurolysis to DRG stimulation and DRG implantation.
During the rotation, fellows take about 1-2 weekend calls per month in which they are helping to round on chronic pain inpatients and covering the pain pager from Saturday 7am till Sunday 7pm. The pager is then signed out to the covering NP for the night. During the week, chronic pain inpatients are covered by our pain NP’s. There is a Cadaver Lab and Journal Club hosted by the HSS attendings once a month throughout the year.
How to Apply
Our Pain Fellowship program participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for fellowships. Applications are accepted only through the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS). Applications are accepted on ERAS from December 6, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
Interviews will be held: June-July 2024
Rank list due on NRMP: September 13, 2024
Match results released: September 27, 2024
Required documents are:
- Personal statement
- Medical school transcript and Dean's letter
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Passport-size photo
Additional documentation accepted: ITE Exam Score, SAE and any other similar progress examinations (can be emailed to email@example.com).
Only J-1 visas are accepted for appoinment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine Pain Fellowship Program.
Please email all pain fellowship queries to Marlene Augustine, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living in New York City
The Cornell campus of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Amitabh Gulati, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology
Assistant Attending Anesthesiologist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Program Director, Tri-Institutional Pain Medicine Fellowship
Phone: (212) 746-2785
Daniel Pak, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology
Associate Program Director, Tri-Institutional Pain Medicine Fellowship
Phone: (212) 746-2785
Benjamin Biewen, MD
Dr. Biewen was born and raised in Edina, Minnesota, and completed his undergraduate education at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. He received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, NE. He then completed his medical residency in Emergency Medicine at NYU/Bellevue in New York, NY, where he served as an airway chief, educating residents about intubation, and also developed a curriculum to educate residents about nerve block usage in the Emergency Department.
Jason Chang, MD, MBA
Dr. Chang was born in sunny southern California and raised in Taiwan. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he graduated summa cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors. He went on to receive his medical degree from UCLA and was awarded the prestigious David Geffen Scholarship. During medical school, Dr. Chang co-founded a public benefit corporation to monitor treatment outcomes to empower patients and accelerate medical innovation. This led him to obtain a Master in Business Administration through an accelerated combined MD/MBA track. Dr. Chang subsequently completed his internship in medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles. He served as the Columbia chief resident during his residency in the NewYork-Presbyterian Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Training Program.
Pranathi A. Gullapalli, MD
Dr. Gullapalli earned her Bachelor of Science in bioinformatics from St. Bonaventure University. She went on to complete her medical education at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC where she was a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Track. Dr. Gullapalli continued her training as an anesthesiology resident at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX. During her final year of residency, she served as chief resident.
Divya Patel, MD
Dr. Divya Patel, a native of Queens, New York, obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of New York. She pursued her medical studies at New York University in New York, NY, and successfully completed her internship and residency in anesthesiology at the same institution. During her time at NYU, she served as chief resident and received the prestigious Pain Management Resident Recognition Award.
Qing Zhao Ruan, MBBS
Dr. Ruan grew up in Singapore and earned his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS) at Royal Free and University College London Medical School, London, UK. He originally trained as a general surgeon and performed extensive research in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Dr. Ruan subsequently completed his anesthesiology residency at BIDMC, where he developed a strong clinical interest in interventional pain.
Jayme Sack, MD
Dr. Sack was born in Ridgewood, NJ. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physiological sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. She returned to her home state to complete her medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School- Rutgers Univerity in New Brunswick, NJ and developed interest in interventional pain medicine. Dr. Sack continued her medical training as an anesthesiology resident at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Alex Yu, MD
Dr. Yu was born in San Jose, California. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia prior to completing his medical degree at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He continued his training by completing an internship and residency in anesthesiology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he was awarded the Eliasberg Scholarship for Excellence in Research. Dr. Yu has authored numerous research articles and textbook chapters, in addition to presenting at national conferences. He has also participated in humanitarian missions through the Global Smile Foundation. Currently, he is the President of the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists Residents and Fellows Section.
Steven Zhou, MD
Dr. Zhou was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at Case Western Reserve University. He went on to continue his medical education at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. He continued his internship and residency in anesthesiology at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH where he was chosen by his peers to serve as chief resident in his final year.
Former Fellows 2022-2023