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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence


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VA Advanced Fellowships Program in Multiple Sclerosis

VA Office of Academic Affiliations Residency and Fellowship Opportunities    

VA Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development

History and Purpose
In 1978, the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) began the VA Special Fellowships Program, which was renamed in 2007 to VA Advanced Fellowships Program, to accomplish the following purposes:

  • Develop physician and dentist clinical proficiency, academic scholarship and leadership in emerging areas of health care important to VA,
  • Contribute to a talented, well trained recruitment pool for VA,
  • Foster an atmosphere of scientific inquiry and excellence within VA.

The purpose of VA Advanced Fellowships Program in Multiple Sclerosis is to develop physician leaders with the vision, knowledge, and commitment to health care, research, and education related to multiple sclerosis. VA medical centers treat at least 22,000 patients each year with this chronic inflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord. More than 11,000 veterans receive disability compensation for this disease, making this an important neurological condition that affects veterans. To address this important condition, VA designated MS Centers of Excellence in 2002, and the first special fellows began in July, 2003.

The VA’s Advanced Fellowships Program in Multiple Sclerosis is offered at the VA MS Centers of Excellence (MSCoE), East and West.   MSCoE - East is located at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore Division, and MSCoE - West is located at the Portland, Oregon VA Medical Center and the Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle. This ensures that participants in the fellowship program will be mentored by superb faculty, and have the highest quality clinical, research, and educational experiences possible for this field of inquiry.

Program Overview
The Advanced Fellowships Program in Multiple Sclerosis provides two years (with the possibility of extension to a third year) of post-residency research, education, and clinical learning opportunities to eligible physicians. Fellows spend approximately 75 percent of their time in research and education and 25 percent in clinical care at participating VA sites. Mentors of national stature provide guidance to fellows in rich learning environments. Graduates are expected to be role models in leading, developing, conducting, and evaluating innovative research, education, and clinical care in the fields related to MS.

Fellowship Requirements
Eligible physicians must have graduated from an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Council on Osteopathic Postgraduate Training (COPT)-accredited residency; be board certified or board eligible in a discipline such as neurology, internal medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, or spinal cord medicine. All applicants must document current, unrestricted U.S. medical license (residence training licenses are considered restricted licenses) and the completion of ACGME- or AOA- accredited specialty and subspecialty residency training. They must desire to be healthcare leaders in MS related fields in the 21st century.  International medical graduates must also have an unexpired visa to participate in the program and an Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate that is valid indefinitely. Applicants on J-1 visas must have the required ECFMG sponsorship.

Stipend for participants will be based on the years of previously completed accredited residency training (PGY-level) and on index rates approved at the affiliated university and the respective MS Center of Excellence.

Further Information/Application 
Interested physicians should contact the site of their choice.

MS Center of Excellence -West
Jodie Haselkorn, MD, MPH
Director, MS Center of Excellence, West
Department of Rehabilitation
VA Puget Sound Health Care System
1660 S. Columbian Way, S-117-MSCoE
Seattle, WA  98108
Phone: 206.277.4688
Fax:     206.277.4827

Dennis Bourdette, MD
Co-Director, MS Center of Excellence, West
Neurology Service
Mail Code: P3MSCOE
Portland VA Medical Center
3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Rd
Portland, OR  97207
Phone:  503.220.8262  X 53296
Fax:      503.721.1422

MS Center of Excellence - East
Christopher T Bever, Jr, MD, MBA
Director, MS Center of Excellence, East
ACOS/Research (151)
VA Maryland Healthcare System, Baltimore Division
10 N. Greene St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Mitchell Wallin, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Director
MS Center of Excellence – East

Please contact Dr. Royal for a program at Baltimore or Washington, DC:
Walter Royal, III, MD
Professor, Department of Neurology, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Director, Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Assoc. Director for Research, VA Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence-East
Office:  Tel 410-328-5605; Fax 410-328-5425
Lab:     Tel 410-706-4216; Fax 410-706-0186


Date Posted: March 2012