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Spinal Cord Fellowship Program

spinal cord fellowship program uc irvine

The University of California, Irvine and Long Beach Veterans Affairs Spinal Cord Injury Medicine (SCIM) Fellowship is an ACGME-accredited one-year clinical program based at the Veterans Affairs SCI & Disorders Center at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

The disorders center is the largest SCI center in the VA system, with an inpatient bed capacity of 57 and a comprehensive outpatient program providing primary and specialty care.

About the VA

The center serves more than 800 veterans living in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Northern San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern and Las Vegas counties.

The inpatient census averages about 57 and includes:

  • Various specialized programs such as the CARF-accredited acute rehabilitation program for new injuries
  • SCI medical/surgical program, which includes patients on ventilators and patients pre- or post-urological procedures
  • SCI geriatric program
  • SCI annual preventive health maintenance program
  • Wound Healing and Research Program for patients with complex pressure sores and other wound management issues

About the outpatient program

The comprehensive SCI outpatient program provides both primary care and specialty care from initial diagnosis throughout the life of the veteran. Included are:

  • Primary care clinics
  • Interdisciplinary annual evaluation clinic
  • Shoulder/injection clinic
  • Upper Extremity Restoration clinic
  • Rehabilitation clinic
  • Diabetes clinic
  • Urology clinic
  • Wheelchair clinic
  • Nursing clinic
  • Wound clinic
  • Spasticity clinic
  • Musculoskeletal clinic including exoskeleton evaluations
  • Interdisciplinary care with neurosurgery, neurology, and nueroradiology

The VA Long Beach SCI outpatient center includes a state-of-the-art urology suite with the capacity to perform urodynamic studies, cystoscopies, and other urological procedures. Other procedures performed include ultrasounds and lab areas for blood draws and ECGs.

Other specialty rehabilitation programs include driver's evaluation and training, vocational rehabilitation services for SCI veterans and the seating clinic.

UCI Medical Center

For those interested in SCI research, there are also opportunities for clinical as well as basic science research in collaboration with the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.

Other educational opportunities include weekly didactic sessions and a SCI lecture/journal club series.

It is the goal of the Veterans Affairs Long Beach SCIM Fellowship to provide a balanced clinical and academic experience that exposes residents to the full spectrum of lifetime care of SCI patients — from new injury to acute and chronic complications of SCI, to issues dealing with aging with SCI.

The SCIM fellowship program, which is part of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Program at UCI, encourages the SCIM Fellow to participate in PM&R residency training program activities and to assist in supervising and instructing the PM&R residents from UCI and UCLA.

For more information, please contact our SCIM Fellowship Coordinator, Susan Downing at