Neil Pliskin, PhD

Categories: Pain Medicine Fellowship Training

The University of Illinois Hospital’s Interventional and Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine Fellowship is modeled on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)’s Program Requirements for education in the field. It fully integrates all areas of pain medicine, and characterizes the patient experience in groups of: acute pain, chronic, non-malignant pain, cancer pain, and interventional pain management. Additionally, the program offers exposure to acupuncture, hypnosis, and ongoing research.

The one-year fellowship reflects the collaboration among the Departments of Anesthesiology, Psychiatry, Neurology and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The Fellows rotate between the various Departments within the University and within the Jesse Brown Veteran’s Administration Hospital which is located 0.2 miles away.

The University of Illinois offers four one-year Fellowship positions

Candidates who are selected for interviews meet with all faculty members and current trainees. Candidates may send their application materials as soon as July 1 of the previous year. Interviewing typically begins in August.

Faculty members in the Division of Pain Medicine are recognized experts in Pain Medicine and Regional Anesthesia. They are active in the American Board of Anesthesiology, American Society of Regional Anesthesia, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, The European Society of Regional Anesthesia, The International College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists. They are members of the editorial boards or reviewers for Anesthesiology, The Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, and the Journal of Medicine.

While supervised by the staff, Fellows in the Division of Pain Medicine evaluate and manage medical and postoperative pain conditions and provide daily inpatient consultations. Additionally, they staff the Interventional Pain Medicine Center in the Outpatient Care Center (OCC) where patients are seen five days a week. Fluoroscopy-assisted nerve blocks, discography, spinal cord stimulation trials and implants, kyphoplasty, nucleoplasty and other techniques are utilized for patient care. All equipment in the Pain Clinic is new and state-of-the-art.

Fellows are also trained in all aspects of multidisciplinary pain management, including the psychiatric evaluation, psychological treatment modalities, and aspects of physical medicine. Approximately 2,000 new consults and 3,000 follow-up visits are seen in the Pain Medicine Center each year with more than 2,000 procedures performed annually. These include epidural injections, nerve root and facet blocks, sacroiliac joint injections, sympathetic blocks, discography and intradiscal procedures, and spinal cord simulation trials.

Fellows actively participate in daily lectures and journal club, a monthly morbidity conference, and quarterly research conferences. There are frequent interdisciplinary conferences with neurology, PM&R, and radiology.

A Master didactic schedule is followed closely; academic issues are discussed each working day. Topics are generated from the clinical material seen in the pain clinic or hospital, articles that appear in current literature, subjects from the “Pain medicine examination specifications, revised 1999”, the “Core curriculum for professional education in Pain, 3rd edition, 2005, and the Content outline from the IASP, International Association for the Study of Pain. Care is taken to make sure all relevant material is covered at least once within the Fellows’ year of training.

Fellows participate in ongoing research projects or initiate their own studies during the training year. In the latter case, fellows learn how to write protocols, create proper research design, incorporate appropriate statistics, and write a paper with support from the full time research staff within the department of Anesthesiology.


  1. The salary of a PGY-5…approximately $53,000.
  2. Vacation of 4 weeks. Only one Fellow is to be away at any given time.
  3. Funding for presentation and attendance at the MARC meeting.
  4. Additional funds for:
  • Meetings
  • Books
  • Dues.

All effort is made to make the year as pleasant and as educational as possible. We are in contact with most of the 59 Fellows who have graduated from the University of Illinois Pain Medicine Fellowship.  Most report having had a very good experience and very solid training during their year with us.

According to a recent report, you will also be a part of a winning team:

Which Best Hospitals Are Best (and Worst) at Pain Management

It’s no surprise that all facilities aren’t equal, according to surveyed patients, at keeping pain under control By Avery Comarow , Megan Johnson   Posted October 20, 2009

Among elite centers in the U.S. News “America’s Best Hospitals” rankings that reported patient satisfaction survey results for the year ended December 2008, the 10 percent below were judged best at pain control. They had the highest percentages of patients who said their pain was “always” well controlled.

I think you will be very happy with the Fellowship.

For inquiries email the fellowship coordinator Anitra Harvey

The Pain Medicine Fellowship Program at the University of Illinois at  Chicago will be participating in the NRMP match for fellowship year beginning July 2014, and  applications for the 2016 match will be accepted only through ERAS. In addition to ERAS document requirements, we require a letter from the Residency Program Director.