The Emory University Departments of Neurological Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery offer a one-year, advanced clinical fellowship in spinal surgery under the co-direction of Gerald Rodts, MD, and Daniel Refai, MD, Chief, Division of Spinal Oncology. 

The fellowship is designed to foster careers in academic or private neurological spine surgery. The fellow will actively participate in the management of all facets of spinal surgery including mentoring in degenerative disorders, complex trauma cases, congenital malformations, metastatic and intramedullary tumors, spinal deformity, minimally invasive spinal surgery, infections of the spine and revision spine surgery. There will also be an abundance of exposure to all forms of spinal instrumentation and image-guided techniques.

Clinical Experience
As a junior faculty member in the Department of Neurosurgery, the fellow has an opportunity to interact with neurosurgical residents and faculty in a very dynamic clinical atmosphere primarily at Emory University Hospital-Midtown, Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University Hospital. The fellow is expected to have complete knowledge of the inpatient spine census and determine proper management of these patients in coordination with Dr. Rodts and Dr. Refai. Outpatient clinic is held two days each week for spine attendings. Approximately 20-25 patients are seen per attending physician each of these days. All patients are reviewed by Dr. Rodts and Dr. Refai with ample time allowed for discussion and teaching. Approximately 500-600 surgical cases are performed each year at Midtown, with surgery scheduled three days each week and an average of three to five cases done per day.

The fellow also has the option to participate in patient care at Emory University, Grady Memorial, and Egleston Children's Hospital. A high frequency of traumatic and degenerative spine injuries are seen at Grady Memorial Hospital, where a fellow may actively participate and staff cases on an elective basis.  The spine fellow will take general neurosurgery on-call responsibilities in the regular rotation of attendings, providing for additional surgical experience in intracranial surgery.

Teaching Experience 
Combined Neuro/Ortho Spine Complex Case Conference is held each month at the Emory Spine Center. Neurological Surgery Grand Rounds are held every Thursday morning at The Emory Clinic Building B. The fellow is encouraged to aid the residents in their research interests, as well as teaching. A cadaveric dissection lab is held annually where the fellow has the opportunity to teach residents, as well as participate in anatomical exposure, stabilization, and instrumentation. The amount of time dedicated for research is flexible and determined by the fellow and Dr. Rodts. The fellow is funded for any meetings in which research or data has been accepted for publication. At least two peer-reviewed papers should be submitted each calendar year.

Requirements for beginning this post-graduate fellowship include:

  • Completion of a U.S. ACGME-accredited residency in neurological surgery
  • A Georgia state license
  • A commitment to a career in spine surgery

In-folded spine rotations for residents-in-training can be arranged on an individual basis but are not considered a true post-graduate fellowship in spine surgery. 

Current Fellow:

  • Steven Spitz, MD

Fellowship Alumni

  • 2007-08 Michele Johnson, MD
  • 2006-07 Jason Highsmith, MD
  • 2004-05 David Walker, MD 
  • 2003-04 Jeff Pan, MD, Jay Chun, MD
  • 2002-03 Maxwell Boakye, M.D., Harel Deutsch, MD 
  • 2001-02 Amory Fiore, M.D., Praveen Mummaneni, MD
  • 2000-01 Michael Kaiser, M.D., Brian Subach, MD
  • 1999-2000 Mark McLaughlin, M.D., Steve Houston, MD
  • 1998-99 Barry Birch, MD
  • 1997-98 Christopher Comey, MD
  • 1996-97 Joseph Alexander, MD
  • 1995-96 Scott Erwood, MD
  • 1994-95 Gerald Rodts, MD
  • 1993-94 Richard Berkmann, MD