USC Headache Fellowship Program

USC Headache Center is a tertiary care referral center serving a large geographical area in California, with a busy clinical practice, a multidisciplinary clinical and translational research program and teaching program for medical students, residents and fellows. Our multidisciplinary program incorporates multiple subspecialties that are required for the comprehensive management of complex headache disorders, including pain psychology, physical medicine, occupational therapy, anesthesiology/pain medicine, orofacial dentistry, neuroradiology, neurosurgery and complementary medicine. Lifestyle Redesign (LRD) for chronic headaches is an evidence-based approach, which draws from variety of preventive treatment strategies and is a unique program developed collaboratively with neurology and occupational therapy. We work with Physical Therapists who are specialized in headache management. This multidisciplinary collaboration creates an outstanding learning environment. We offer one year UCNS accredited Fellowship program. This provides ample opportunity for incoming fellows to rotate and learn through various sub specialties.

Program Director

Soma Sahai-Srivastava, MD, Clinical Professor of Neurology, Medical Director, Neurology Clinics Director, USC Headache program. Dr Sahai has been a faculty member of the department of Neurology since 2001. She is UCNS board-certified in Headache medicine. Under her leadership, there are monthly multidisciplinary meetings and she has organized symposiums on headache medicine. She is a member of the core neurology residency program committee and is actively involved in curriculum development and residency training. As Medical Director of Neurology ambulatory clinical services at the LA county Hospital, and USC Faculty practice, she has been training medical students, residents, orofacial and pain fellows in headache medicine.


  • Paul-Henri Cesar, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
  • Lauren Green, DO, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
  • Sandhya Ravikumar, MD , Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
  • Ana Gjurgevich, Instructor of Clinical Neuorlogy
  • Susan Axtell, Psy.D., Associate Professor, Clinical Psychologist
  • Steven Richeimer, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Anesthesiology & Psychiatry
  • Glenn Clark, DDS, MS, Professor, Director Orofacial Pain Oral Medicine Center, Dentistry
  • Darrin Lee, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Alex Lerner, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology
  • Rama Kishan Koppula, Research Coordinator
  • Lindsey Reeves, OTD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
  • Malia Sako, MA, PT
  • Chelse Stone, DO, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Curriculum of the Fellowship

Headache Outpatient Care

The majority of clinical training of the fellows will take place in an outpatient setting (adults and pediatric patients 9 and above) where patients are referred from a regional and national base and present with a broad range of interesting, unusual and refractory disorders. This is an entirely outpatient-based fellowship, so there is no in-house call. Headache fellows will learn diagnostic and treatment modalities including trigger point injections, nerve blocks and Botox injections. The number of new patients that each fellow evaluates per year is 200. During the first 6 months of the fellowship the faculty member reviews each case with the fellow and personally evaluates each patient. The fellow attends a series of didactic lectures on headache pathogenesis and neuralgias. These lectures are supplemented by relevant publications and lecture handouts. The fellow teaches medical students and residents in different settings include didactic sessions, formal headache lectures and collaboration with residents in research projects. The fellow is expected to deliver a neuroscience grand round presentation on headache disorders during the fellowship year.

Liaison Headache Consultation and Inpatient

The neurology hospitalist team takes care of inpatient headache admissions. The fellow will provide consultative advice regarding the use of specific intravenous medications and detoxification techniques for complex patients. There is no call for the fellow on weekends.

Electives: Electives are available in orofacial pain, anesthesia pain interventions and neurosurgery, among others.

Research Opportunities in Headache

The Headache Program is involved in clinical collaborative research projects and pilot studies. The fellow has protected time on a weekly basis for clinical or translational research. The research project should culminate in preparation of an abstract for presentation at a national or international meeting and eventual publication of a manuscript. The fellow is also expected to attend one national or regional headache meeting during the fellowship.

How to Apply

We are currently accepting applications for 2023-24 appointment on a rolling basis. A complete application consists of a completed application available on the link provided below, a  personal statement, CV and 3 letters of recommendation – one of which should be from the program director. Please send dossier to:

Asima Kachroo
Program Specialist, Neurology
(323) 442-0117

Download an application here

Eligibility Criteria

  • The fellow must possess a current valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada or its territories.
  • The fellow must be a graduate of a residency program in neurology or other specialties accredited by the ACGME or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).
  • The fellow must be board certified or eligible for certification in a primary ABMS or RCPSC specialty.