USC Headache Fellowship Program

The USC Headache and Neuralgia Center is a tertiary care referral center serving a large geographical area in California, with a busy clinical practice, a multidisciplinary and translational approach to headache management. Our multidisciplinary program incorporates multiple subspecialties that are required for the comprehensive management of complex headache disorders, including anesthesiology/pain medicine, orofacial dentistry, neuroradiology, neurosurgery, pain psychology and complementary medicine. We provide a full range of headache and neuralgia treatment options, including nerve blocks, injections, infusions, radio frequency ablation and, in some cases, surgery. In addition, Lifestyle Redesign (LRD) program is used for chronic headaches which is an evidence-based approach that draws from a variety of preventive treatment strategies developed collaboratively with neurology and occupational therapy. In addition, our neurologists work closely with Physical Therapists who specialize in headache management to optimize headache management. We also offer an infusion center to treat headache patients with various intravenous infusions or injections along with urgent abortive medications.

This comprehensive approach to headache and facial pain provides a holistic approach to headache management and creates an outstanding learning environment for the one-year UCNS (United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties) accredited Fellowship program.

Program Director

Soma Sahai-Srivastava, MD

Dr Sahai has been a faculty member of the USC Department of Neurology since 2001. She is UCNS board-certified in Headache medicine and board-certified in both Neurology and Internal Medicine. Under her leadership, we have integrated monthly multidisciplinary meetings where patient cases are discussed with neuroradiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pain psychology. She has also organized symposiums on headache medicine. She is not only a member of the core neurology residency program committee in which she actively develops curriculum for the training program but is also the medical director of neurology ambulatory clinical services at Los Angeles General Medical Center. As Medical Director of Neurology ambulatory clinical services at the Los Angeles General Medical Center, and USC Faculty practice, she has been training medical students, residents, orofacial and pain fellows in headache medicine for over two decades. In addition, she organizes annual trips to Cambodia where she has established a global medicine neuroscience program for physicians and medical students.


  • Paul-Henri Cesar, MD
    Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
  • Lauren Green, DO
    Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
  • Sandhya Ravikumar, MD
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Chelsea Stone, DO
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Susan Axtell, Psy.D
    Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
  • Ana Gjurgevich, NP
    Instructor of Clinical Neurology
  • Hawa Mapara, NP
    Instructor of Clinical Neurology
  • Steven Giannotta, MD
    Chair and Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Alexander Lerner, MD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology
  • Darrin Lee, MD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Steven Richeimer, MD
    Professor Clinical Anesthesiology
  • Mariela Padilla, DDS
    Associate Professor of Clinical Dentistry
  • Lindsey Reeves, OTD
    Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
  • Melina Allahverdian OTD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
  • Erika Sigman, DPT
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy
  • Lori Ginoza, DPT
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy
  • Maggie Yamamoto, DPT
    Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy

Curriculum of the Fellowship

Headache Outpatient Care

In this UCNS certified headache programs fellows train in an outpatient setting where patients above 9 years old are referred from regional and national base with a broad range of interesting, unusual, and refractory headache and facial pain disorders. Fellows learn the tools to diagnose, treat and educate patients with various headache and pain disorders utilizing infusion center, trigger point injections, nerve blocks, SPG (Sphenopalatine ganglion) blocks and Botox injections both in a tertiary center and an underserved headache clinic at Los Angeles General Medical Center. Fellows see over 200 new patients in the year in which the first 6 months faculty members review and oversee all cases and then fellows are allowed to practice independently. Fellows also have the unique opportunity to not only work with other pain providers but also physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pain psychology.

This is an entirely outpatient-based fellowship program, with no in-house call although fellows may rarely consult on refractory headache patients in the inpatient setting at Keck or Los Angeles General Medical Center.

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 and deliver a neuroscience grand round presentation on headache disorders during the fellowship year.

Fellowship Overview

Educational Opportunities in Headache

Fellows have protected time with didactics on headache and pain pathogenesis which are supplemented by relevant publication and lecture handouts from not only headache neurologist but also from other providers.

Fellows also can take on teaching roles with medical students and residents in not only the clinical environment but also presenting didactic sessions and collaborating in research projects.

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

How to Apply

For 2025-26 applicants you can send application documents directly to Asima Kachroo at


  • Current CV
  • 3 Letters of Recommendations (one from your residency Program Director)
  • Personal Statement
  • USMLE/COMLEX scores

Soma Sahai, MD
Program Director, Headache Medicine Fellowship

For questions and information, contact fellowship coordinator –

Asima Kachroo
Email –
Phone – (323) 442-0117

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