Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program

The Sleep Medicine Fellowship program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), under the direction of Robert Vorona, M.D., professor of medicine, draws upon the enormous resources and diversity of our University. We take pride in our multidisciplinary approach to sleep medicine with faculty members with expertise in psychology, psychiatry, pulmonary/critical care, neurology and pediatrics as well as other key sleep medicine colleagues in ENT, dentistry, and oral maxillofacial surgery.

The faculty and administrative staff at MUSC strive for an intellectually and personally rewarding sleep medicine fellowship year and one that prepares fellows for the Sleep Medicine Board examination and subsequent careers in sleep medicine, whether in academics or private practice.

The MUSC Sleep Medicine fellowship exposes trainees to the gamut of “bread and butter” sleep medicine in all ages to include obstructive and central sleep apnea, persistent insomnia, restless legs syndrome, circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias and narcolepsy/idiopathic hypersomnia. However, there are also aspects of the program that allow a more diverse experience. Fellows train at five different (and varied) sites, including MUSC’s Health East Cooper (HEC) outpatient facility in Mount Pleasant, the Dantzler outpatient facility in North Charleston, MUSC’s Children’s After-Hours outpatient facility in Mount Pleasant, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (VAMC) and Medical University of South Carolina Hospital. Fellows are educated in both lab and home sleep testing procedures utilizing MUSC’s two American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep centers (MUSC Hospital and the Leeds facility) as well as the VAMC’s sleep laboratory.  

Application Process:

Applications for the MUSC Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program are submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

We require that candidates have passed USMLE Step 3 exam (or the equivalent COMLEX Step 3 exam) before entering the fellowship on July 1 and, if applicable, have a current ECFMG certificate, and be a graduate of a training program in one of the specialties listed below, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

We accept candidates who are US citizens or permanent residents (green card) and J1 visas.

Fellowship Selection Committee review completed fellowship application packet which includes:

  • Application
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • USMLE transcript, and/or COMLEX, and ECFMG status report (if applicable)

We accept applications from applicants who have successfully completed residency training in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, ENT or Neurology.

All application materials, including supporting letters, must be received by Sept 15th for fellowship training to begin in July of the following year.

After careful review of the applications, we will send invitations to join us virtually and interview for the Sleep Medicine 1-year Fellowship Program. The interviews take place between mid-August and November. All Fellowship Selection Committee members including the Program Director interview the applicants. At the fellowship selection meetings, the applicants are ranked, and the list of candidates is sent to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

Applicants demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, well-developed clinical skills and leadership skills, professionalism and collegiality during their previous training. The fellowship training program values diversity and encourages applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.

We participate in the Medical Specialties Matching Program for Fellowships in Sleep Medicine. For more information, see the ERAS website.

The overarching mission of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Sleep Fellowship Program is to educate fellows (our future sleep medicine specialist leaders) to provide the highest quality of care to diverse patients, demonstrate excellent clinical skills and to always be aware of safety measures and apply them in a preemptive fashion. Our goal of producing the highest quality of sleep medicine specialist who can function in either the academic or community setting aligns inextricably with the mission of MUSC.

Upon completion of the program, the fellow will:

  • Demonstrate excellent clinical skills and provide the highest quality of care to patients.
  • Demonstrate all aspects of professionalism
  • Communicate with patients and their families empathically and educate them effectively.
  • Teach and share knowledge with residents and other learners and collaborate with colleagues and other health care professionals.
  • Demonstrate commitment to scholarly pursuits.
  • Value a philosophy of life-long learning and quality improvement as a necessary prerequisite to maintaining state of the art medical knowledge and skills.

 

Faculty:

Robert Vorona M.D.
Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program Director and Medical Director of the Medical University Hospital Sleep Center

Adult Sleep Medicine Faculty:

Jacqueline Angles D.O.
Fitzgerald Drummond M.D.
Michael Frye M.D.
Chitra Lal M.D.
Andrea Rinn D.O.

Pediatric Sleep Medicine Faculty:

Jacqueline Angles D.O.
Concetta Maria Riva M.D.

Emily Crockett, NP

Program Coordinator

Sophia Zimmermann

Sleep Centers

The MUSC Sleep Medicine program utilizes:

  1. Leeds Sleep Disorders center
  2. Main Hospital sleep disorders center
  3. VAMC Charleston Sleep Laboratory

The Leeds facility is an 8-patient AASM accredited sleep disorders center used to study children and adults.
The Main Hospital facility is a 3-bed AASM accredited sleep disorders center often used to study our youngest patients as well as more medically complicated adult patients.
The VAMC sleep laboratory is a 4-bed facility used to study veteran patients who seek their sleep medicine care at VAMC Charleston.

Sites:

The training program exposes the fellows to diverse patients at a number of different sites. At each site, the sleep medicine fellow is directly supervised by a board certified sleep medicine faculty member.

  1. Health East Cooper in Mount Pleasant serves as an outpatient facility for adult sleep medicine patients with diverse sleep medicine diagnoses.
  2. Dantzler outpatient facility in North Charleston is another key outpatient adult sleep medicine facility.
  3. Children’s After Hours Care outpatient facility in Mount Pleasant is the primary site for pediatric sleep medicine patient care
  4. VAMC Charleston Sleep Clinic serves as the site for veteran patients who obtain their sleep medicine care at VAMC Charleston
  5. MUSC Main Hospital and Shawn Jenkins Pediatric Hospital allow for opportunities to perform in patient sleep medicine consultations necessary for successful completion of a sleep fellowship.

Interpersonal Skills: All trainees are taught and counseled regarding personal interaction with other members of the health care team, patients, and their families. The attending physicians in the division serve as role models for the trainee. This experience is fostered in the intensive care units, the hospital inpatient services, and the ambulatory care setting. If areas of deficiency are noted in the trainees' interpersonal skills, they are counseled by the attending physician and the Program director.

Professional Attitudes:
Professionalism is expected of all trainees at all times. This includes proper appearance, treating all patients and their families with respect and dignity, treating all other physicians and medical personnel as colleagues, and performing medical duties at the highest level.

Humanistic Qualities: The trainee is expected to treat all patients and families respectfully and be empathetic with their situation despite the demands placed on their time by patients and their families. The role of the attending physicians is to provide exemplary behavior and serve as role models for the trainee.

Curriculum: Diverse educational methodologies are used to develop the sleep medicine fellow so that by year’s end he/she is capable of the independent practice of sleep medicine. Sleep Medicine faculty are expected to attend fellow educational conferences.

Patient Care: MUSC Sleep Fellowship uses a longitudinal educational and training experience. The fellow thus sees both adult and pediatric patients each week of the year rather than e.g. in one-month discrete blocks. We believe that this structure for a one-year fellowship fosters optimal continuity of care and fellow education and allows for more effective trainee faculty evaluations and interactions.

The fellow will achieve by year’s end the ACGME mandated number of adult new and follow visits, pediatric new and follow up visits and reading and scoring of sleep tests..

Educational Conferences

Didactics

Each week, the sleep medicine fellow will have 1-2 hours of education in the full range of sleep medicine topics necessary to fulfill ACGME training requirements and prepare him/her for the independent practice of sleep medicine.

Conferences/Journal Clubs

The fellowship uses a number of different conferences and journal clubs to educate the sleep fellow and to foster optimal patient care, interpersonal communication skills, collegiality and the ability to critically evaluate the medical literature.

Bimonthly Multidisciplinary Staffing and Journal Club

Twice a month, the fellow will actively participate in an hour-long conference that a. reviews a peer reviewed paper from the recent sleep medicine literature b. discusses 1-2 patients who are either diagnostic or treatment dilemmas or with a key teaching point (s)

Pulmonary Fellows Case Conference

Once a month, the sleep medicine fellow will help lead a conference that educates the pulmonary and critical care fellows in practical cases and also review raw data from in lab and home sleep apnea tests.

Weekly Anxiety

Sleep Anxiety Case Conference. Each week the sleep fellow will participate in the 1 hour joint Psychiatry/Psychology and Sleep Medicine case conference. This conference often focuses on patients with chronic insomnia who may benefit from cognitive behavioral treatment.

Psychiatry Sleep Seminar

The Institute of Psychiatry Sleep and Anxiety Seminar is a forum for professionals in sleep medicine and mental health care to discuss leading edge research and present their own work. The Seminar meets weekly – on the first and third weeks of each month, an assigned Seminar attendee presents a leading edge research article in his or her field to the group; on the second and third weeks, attendees can discuss their own research in a more informal manner, with any attendee free to present results, research ideas, or new projects that they would like to share with the group. The group is designed to be an informative learning experience for all, and to foster collaborative open dialogue about cutting edge science amongst an interdisciplinary team of professionals.

Pulmonary Fellows Research Conference

Although the pulmonary fellow is not required to perform a research study during his/her fellowship, he/she is strongly encouraged to attend the Pulmonary Fellows Research conference twice a month to facilitate a more nuanced understanding of the research method and critical paper analysis.

Grand Rounds

The sleep fellow is strongly encouraged to attend at least one Grand Rounds per week from Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry or Neurology.

State or Regional Sleep Conference

The fellow will be supported to attend the annual Carolina Sleep Society meeting.

National Meeting

The fellow will be supported to attend either the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Board Review Course or the annual SLEEP conference.

 

Research Training & Mentorship

As the sleep medicine fellowship is only one year long, we do not require our fellows to perform a dedicated research project during their training. Sleep fellows are required to perform a quality improvement project. For the sleep fellow who elects to engage in research, an early meeting to establish goals will occur with Charlie Strange, M.D., our sleep medicine research mentor.