Pain Medicine

Pain Medicine Fellowship Program

  • ACGME Approved Fellowship
  • The Joint Commission Approved Pain Management Center

Nu Cindy Chai, MD
Nu Cindy Chai, MD
Fellowship Director

The UCSF Pain Management Center specializes in the multidisciplinary management of patients suffering from acute, chronic, and cancer pain. The faculty consists of the Medical Director, the Administrative Director, the Fellowship Director, anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychologists, physical therapists, nurses, administrative staff, and consultants in Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Rheumatology, Radiology, Internal Medicine, Oncology, and Pharmacology. 

Pain fellowship training consists of 12 months of full-time training after satisfactory completion of a core residency program. Fellows are appointed each year by the Fellowship Selection Committee. The fellowship program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) within the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University of California, San Francisco. Fellows must obtain overall satisfactory evaluations at completion of 12 months of training leading to board certification in Pain Management by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Fellows rotate through San Francisco VA Medical Center for two to three months during their 12 months of pain fellowship training. Residents in the Department of Anesthesia rotate through the UCSF Pain Management Center for one month during their second year of anesthesia residency training. 

The UCSF Pain Management Center averages approximately 800 outpatient visits per month. Fellows and residents treat all types of pain. A multidisciplinary approach is taken in the management of pain. The UCSF Pain Management Center provides education, training, and experience required for a specialist in pain management. Fellows and residents receive and participate in ongoing didactic education, including weekly multidisciplinary conferences and morbidity and mortality conferences. 

Fellows and residents receive training in theory, indications, risks, complications, and practical applications of the following procedures and techniques:

  • Epidural injection
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Facet block
  • Sacroiliac joint injection
  • Sympathetic ganglion block
  • Gasserian ganglion block
  • Celiac plexus block
  • Hypogastric plexus block
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Intravenous regional anesthesia
  • Discography
  • Nucleoplasty
  • Annuloplasty
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Intrathecal infusion
  • Peripheral nerve block
  • Joint injection
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture
  • Recognition and management of risks and complications of medications
  • Prevention, recognition and management of risks and complications of procedures
  • Airway management and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Cancer pain management

Through the activities of the Pain Medicine Fellowship at the UCSF Pain Management Center, fellows and residents are exposed to all modalities of inpatient acute and chronic pain management consultation, including medical therapies and interventional procedures.

The philosophy of the UCSF Pain Management Center maintains that a comprehensive pain management program be initiated to provide the best patient care possible. This multidisciplinary approach recognizes the contributions of various specialties and the necessity of different therapeutic regimens to provide significant pain relief for each individual patient.

Application Process

The UCSF Pain Medicine Fellowship is pleased to be a participant in the NRMP Specialties Matching Service (SMS).

Fellowship Application - Please register online with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

For more information, please contact Nicol Laura, Program Coordinator, at (415) 476-9767, or [email protected].

Appointees must qualify for their respective boards in their primary training discipline. Possession of a full and unrestricted license to practice as a physician in the State of California is an absolute requirement. If you are unsure as to your qualifications to obtain this license, you may obtain the specifics from:

California Medical Board 
1430 Howe Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95825 
The Medical Board Of California

Click to visit the Pain Management Center website.