The state of the headache fellowship application process and attitudes toward the match

Niushen Zhang, Cynthia Armand, Thomas Berk, Deborah I. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine the current headache medicine fellowship application process and to propose recommendations for a more unified, systematic, and transparent process. METHODS: We identified 42 headache fellowship programs using the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties certification database. After an initial contact via e-mail, we conducted individual telephone interviews with program directors. Qualitative data coding allowed identification of emerging themes. Quantitative data were summarized with descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Forty (95%) program directors (34 adult, 6 pediatric) responded. Emerging themes included the following. (1) There are benefits and disadvantages to having a match. (2) If the match were reinstated, programs would participate only if all programs participated. (3) There should be consequences for programs that do not participate. If the match were reinstated, 37.5% of program directors responded that their program would participate without conditions; 37.5% would participate only if every program were required to participate. Fifteen percent would not participate, and 10% were not sure if they would participate. Forty percent supported sanctions against programs that did not participate in the match. CONCLUSION: The fellowship match potentially makes the process more systematic for both programs and applicants; however, it does not currently appear to be a feasible option for the field of headache medicine. Until the number of applicants exceeds the number of programs, we recommend instituting a universal timeline for applications and offers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1294-e1300
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 8 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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