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Sleep Medicine – Sleep Science Center

Updated: 05/12/23


Open to M3 and M4 Students

The global estimate of sleep apnea prevalence is 1 billion. Approximately29.4 million American men and women are afflicted by obstructive sleep apnea which is around 12% of the US population. In adults obesity is the strongest risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. More than half of the patients with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese individuals.

In the pediatric population enlarged tonsils, adenoids, and dental conditions (e.g., overbite) are the main causes in addition to birth defects as seen in Down’s Syndrome and Pierre-Robin. The annual economic burden of undiagnosed sleep apnea among U.S. adults is approximately $149.6 billion. The estimated costs include $86.9 billion in lost productivity, $26.2 billion in motor vehicle accidents and $6.5 billion in workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea also increases the risk of chronic health conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

Besides sleep apnea, other sleep disorders such as insomnia and insufficient sleep, central hypersomnia, circadian rhythm sleep-wake misalignment are common complaints.  The sleep medicine elective will provide medical students with an introduction to a broad range of sleep disorders, and the diagnostic and technological tools used to manage patients with sleep disorders.

Sleep medicine fellowship can be pursued by residents from diverse specialties like neurology, internal and pulmonary medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, anesthesia, and ENT. Sleep medicine care is often multidisciplinary including sleep health psychologists, ENT surgeons, and dental sleep specialists. A sleep elective rotation for M3-M4 students will expose them to multidisciplinary and personalized care for sleep disorders.

Students during this rotation will be expected to see new consults and established patients for evaluation of sleep disorders. They will complete a general and sleep medicine focused history and physical examination, and learn about medications that may affect sleep, impact of untreated sleep disorders on other comorbid conditions. Students will have the opportunity to participate in review of different types of sleep studies including polysomnography and home sleep studies with the faculty. Students will learn to devise a treatment plan which will include counseling about sleep hygiene, medications affecting sleep or positive airway pressure therapy for sleep apnea.

What are the students’ expected learning outcomes?

The students will acquire the ability to obtain accurate history about sleep complaints, sleep pattern; comorbid conditions and medications that can affect sleep; and identify medical conditions that can mimic sleep disorders.

Describe the information, skills, behaviors, or perspectives students will acquire through attendance and participation. Familiarity with questionnaires used to screen patients with high risk for sleep apnea including STOP-BANG, Berlin Questionnaire and for assessing other sleep disorders.

Physical examination for evaluation of jaw anatomy, Mallampati scores, tonsillar grades and its relationship to breathing during sleep.

Introduction to polysomnography and interpreting these with the faculty to identify different sleep disorders. Treatment modalities for mild-moderate- severe sleep apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and circadian rhythm disorders.

Outcomes or actions students can expect to demonstrate as a result of the educational experiences.

Students will learn when to refer patients for sleep consultation and testing. Students will develop a plan for the initial testing and interpret those tests with the faculty. Based on the testing results the students would be expected to formulate a treatment plan. Students will understand the follow-up of sleep disorder patients in the clinic to assess treatment response and the efficacy of the prescribed therapy. Follow-up visits will include counseling about comorbid conditions including weight loss, smoking cessation, sleep hygiene and interpretation of adherence reports generated from positive airway pressure treatment devices. Besides, students will be expected to troubleshoot common therapy-related side effects and barriers encountered with the therapy.

Patient care

Obtain a full history and perform a skillful physical examination, formulate a differential diagnoses and clinical investigations necessary to diagnose or narrow the differential. Develop a management plan based on patient preferences and available options considering patient’s socioeconomic restrictions and different family and occupational needs. Counseling and education about the impact of sleep related diseases in patient safety, work related productivity and effects on comorbid conditions.

Medical Knowledge

Evidence-based knowledge of sleep disorders and its pathophysiology. Epidemiology of sleep disorders in different age groups, different comorbid medical conditions and of different medications. Interpretation of diagnostic for different sleep, neurological and cardiac conditions. Pre-employment evaluation of sleep disorders in patients involved in professions where there is a public safety concern like occupational drivers, pilots, and those operating heavy machinery.

Practice Based Learning

Understanding that sleep medicine like other medical specialties is an ever-changing field; how the practice is changing based on new research and changes in reimbursement. How this can affect the patients, and what the students can expect when practicing as an independent care provider.

Interpersonal Communication skills and Professionalism

UIC sleep center is a mix of ethnically diverse care providers and medical assistants. Our staff ranges from all over the world just like the patient population we see. Understanding different cultures will help students use the skills they learn here to communicate with staff and patients from diverse backgrounds effectively. Understanding different cultural norms from the staff and patients can help medical students to be strong team members.

System Based Practice

Understanding the delivery of health care resources across different care plans is essential for an astute health care provider to understand the needs of the patients better. In addition, different choices made by patients based on the available resources and preferences will help the students understand the importance of explaining disease pathology and counseling. Students will also coordinate health care delivery by coordinating with providers through different specialties ranging from psychologist to psychiatrist, neurologist to surgeons, resulting in a wholesome clinical experience.

Interesting case reviews, uncommon polysomnogram (PSG) findings, conferences at the sleep center, outpatient evaluation, interpretation of PSG, mean sleep latency testing, actigraphy and home sleep studies.

Students will be exposed to diverse patient populations with multiple comorbid conditions, occupational evaluation, pre-operative evaluation referrals from otolaryngology and bariatric surgery.

Student’s progress during the rotation which will be assessed by the faculty and feedback from the sleep fellows. Additionally, the students will be assessed for their communication and counseling skills by patients via feedback form. Mid-rotation feedback will be provided to the students to identify progress and areas of improvement.

To inquire about scheduling this elective, please contact Angie Fanuke, Internal Medicine Sub-I/Elective Coordinator at

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 420

  • Program Contacts

    Program Director: Bharati Prasad, MD
    Telephone: 312-996-8039
    Coordinator: Sue Hammerschmidt
  • Program Information

    Location: Sleep Science Center
                      2242 W. Harrison St, Chicago, IL
    Duration: 2 weeks
    Night Call: No
    Weekends: No
    Students Accepted: Min.1, Max. 2
  • Reporting Instructions

    Students should contact Sue Hammerschmidt (, Coordinator, via email to request their elective dates at least one week before the start of the rotation. Once approved, the student will be provided with the clinic and polysomnography interpretation schedule. Students should report to the UI Health sleep center (2242 West Harrison Street, Suite 104) between 8.00 to 8:30am on the first day of their rotation.