The University of Alberta Complex Spine Fellowship is based both at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospital. The fellowship educational objectives are in concordance with the objectives for a complex spine surgery fellow developed by the Canadian Spine Society (Larouche et al. Development of a Competence-Based Spine Surgery Fellowship Curriculum Set of Learning Objectives in Canada. Spine. 2016 Mar;41(6):530-7)
There are three available fellowship positions available per year. The fellowship term is typically one year, but can be extended based upon the fellow’s career goals.
Each fellow will typically spend four months on a neurosurgery spinal rotation at the Royal Alexandra Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. Fox, Hockley and Dr. Nataraj, four months on an orthopedic spinal rotation at the Royal Alexandra Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. Jiang, Kortbeek, and Mahood, and four months on a combined spinal surgery rotation at the University Hospital under the mentorship of all of the surgeons (currently 9 faculty).
Our fellowship is a busy surgical fellowship, which typically involves 3-4 days/week in the operating room, and exposure to approximately 400 surgical cases. Exposure will be gained to the entire spectrum of spinal disorders, including deformity correction, and intradural pathology.
There is also opportunity while on the University Hospital rotation to attend OR and clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital scoliosis deformity clinic and surgery, especially if there is no pediatric spine fellow.
At the end of a successful completion of fellowship, a fellowship certificate will be granted by the University of Alberta.
This is a complex spinal surgery fellowship in a program with an active residency program. Fellows are expected to have a minimum level of training in general spinal surgery, and are expected to teach residents in these general spine surgery scenarios.
Fellows are expected to be involved with the care of the inpatient service, as well as consultative service, both in the emergency room and for in-patient consults. The fellows are expected to make daily rounds on the inpatient service.
For fellows whose language of instruction of medical school was not English, there are minimum requirements on the International English Language Test (IELTS) that are required. Preference will be given to candidates who have attained these scores before they apply for the fellowship. See the following website for details:
Spine call: approximately 1:3 2nd call. Fellows will typically be called when there is a junior orthopedic or neurosurgery resident on call, and when urgent cases arise. Attending spine surgeons will continue to take outside calls.
Each fellow is expected to be involved in our research program, and is expected to present as well as publish at least one paper per year. Fellows are responsible for the organization of spine rounds, on Wednesdays at 0700h at the Royal Alexandra site.
There are a variety of funding models available. If not self-funded, the fellow will be paid by the Complex Spine Surgery program, at a salary of $70 000/yr. In addition, if the fellow is eligible to bill as a surgical assist, a proportion of these billings will be returned to the fellow.
Application should be made initially (by email) to the Complex Spine Program’s Fellowship director, Dr. Andrew Nataraj:
Applications should include:
- curriculum vitae
- a cover letter describing the applicant’s interest in the spine program at the University of Alberta, career aspirations, and any other professional or personal items that may add add to the application
- three letters of reference.
Applications for fellowship will generally open in September two years preceding the fellowship year and close by February 1 of the preceding year. Incomplete applications, or applications sent too early will be returned.
Candidates will be notified if they will be interviewed before March 1 of the preceding year. As there are candidates applying who may live a far distance from Edmonton, telephone interviews may be the first step. Interviews will be carried out until June of the preceding year, and selection of fellows will be made shortly thereafter.
Once the selection of the fellows has been done, fellowship applications must also be done through the post-graduate medical education office at the University of Alberta.
Currently, the application period for the 2019 position is closed. Applications for the 2020 position will open again from September 1, 2018 - February 1, 2019.