There is a lack of well-rounded spine surgeons trained in both minimally invasive/robotic and traditional open surgical techniques. In a competitive marketplace, this is what patients expect and demand. Our South Florida surgical practice leans heavily on advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques and advanced spinal deformity techniques because of the competitive market and an educated/demanding patient population.
Cleveland Clinic Florida offers one clinical fellowship in spine surgery each year from July to June. The fellowship is supported by funding from American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) NREF (Neurosurgery Research and Education Fund).
Goals and Objectives
The primary goal of this one-year neurosurgical fellowship program is to train future academic leaders and clinical scientists in the subspecialties of open and minimally invasive spine surgery by providing advanced training in the overall management of patients with complex spinal pathology. During the fellowship year, the clinical fellow actively participates in ongoing clinical and lab research projects.
Neurosurgeons completing this fellowship will be exposed to a variety of adult and adolescent spinal deformities, including syndromic, congenital, and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Fellows will also be exposed to spinal deformities of the sagittal plane that include spondylolisthesis, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, and cervical spine deformities. The fellow will learn key intraoperative techniques in spinal deformity correction, application of halo gravity traction, and three-column osteotomies. An important emphasis of this fellowship is placed on the non-operative and operative treatment of spinal tumors, and degenerative conditions of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.
Our unique program includes treating general and complex spine pathologies with open deformity principles, minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques in a competitive market in an academic environment without residency. Fellows are guaranteed the highest tier of surgical volume per fellow per year compared to other programs in the country. We anticipate 350 – 400 surgeries per fellow per year (Most surgical fellowship programs have average volumes of 150 – 200 surgeries per fellow per year). The fellow will also be offered an opportunity to participate in translational engineering research in the Choi lab (with a dedicated PhD scientist-engineer).
Educational Program and schedule
The fellow spends 0.5 – 1 day/week in clinic, 4 days/week in the operating room, and 0 – 0.5 day/week in the research lab. Weekly schedule: Tue – Fri (Surgery in Weston); Mon (Alternate between Surgery and Clinic in Weston). One Weekend a Month: On Call.
Approximate percentage of exposure to the spine by region:
Approximate percentage of fellowship exposure to the spine by diagnostic category:
The fellow is expected to perform approximately 350 – 400 surgeries per year in the Weston and Martin campuses. The majority of the fellow’s operative experience will be in the Weston campus. The fellow will also participate in intradural neoplastic and vascular spinal surgeries with a third staff neurosurgeon (~20 cases a year). The fellow will also be invited to participate in interventional spine procedures performed by pain anesthesia (Drs. Basi, Patel, Dawoud, and Giraldo; spinal cord stimulator and injections/ablations) and interventional radiology (kyphoplasty, basivertebral nerve ablation, and CT-guided cervical epidural steroid injection).
Conferences include but are not limited to weekly Combined Surgical Education Conference with Cleveland Clinic’s Main Campus in Ohio every Friday morning; monthly M&M and Case-Based Indications Conference; and, Annual Cleveland Clinic Review Course in Cleveland Ohio for ten days. The clinical education program consists of didactic lectures by faculty, weekly conferences, and monthly journal club meetings. The fellow will also have the opportunity to attend national conferences and industry sponsored educational events.
Research and Scholarly Activities
One peer reviewed journal publication is required along with one meeting abstract (oral presentation or poster presented to national meeting per year) and one Grand Rounds lecture. Research staff and funding include one PhD for Spine Biomechanics in the Neuroscience Institute in Weston, FL; one Research Coordinator within the Neuroscience Institute in Weston, FL and Philanthropic Funding and NI Grant for Spine Research. The fellow is expected to be actively involved with the education of medical students and neurosurgery physician assistants.
Evaluation of fellow with feedback to fellow at least twice per year.
Evaluation of staff and program at least twice per year.
- Fellowship Application.
- International Medical Graduates – To qualify for a Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Florida you must be able to obtain a permanent Florida Medical License. To qualify, International Applicants must have passed the USMLE Step 3, and must hold an H1 Visa or equivalent.
Inquiries can be directed to:
Please refer to the table below for new salary rates, effective July 1, 2023:
|Current Pay Rate
Paid Time Away: Vacation, Maternity, & Paternity
Vacation – 3 weeks (15 working days) provided at the beginning of each academic year
Maternity – 6 weeks paid leave for natural childbirth or adoption; 8 weeks for cesarean section. Additional time off unpaid up to a maximum of 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Paternity – 2 week paid leave. Additional time off unpaid up to a maximum of 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Healthcare – Cleveland Clinic Florida covers 50% of annual Healthcare Plans for Clinical Trainees and their families. Effective on the first day of training with no waiting period.
Dental and Vision Care – Cleveland Clinic Florida covers 100% of annual Dental and Vision Care Plans for Clinical Trainees.
Maternity Care – 100% coverage is provided through the health care plan that you select within the plans guidelines.
Pharmaceuticals – As outlined by the Cleveland Clinic Florida Health Plan.
Malpractice – Paid by the Cleveland Clinic Educational Foundation/Cleveland Clinic Florida. Limited to activities within the training program.
Life Insurance – $25,000 term group policy.
Travel Privileges and Other Education Activities
Senior residents, chief residents and fellows in ACGME and NON-ACGME programs that meet eligibly criteria as outlined in the Graduate Physicians Manual may be approved to attend academic meetings for the purpose of presenting or engaging in leadership roles within national societies will be eligible up to 5 days per academic year with a maximum reimbursement of $1,200 per academic year.
- Book Allowance – A $250 educational allowance per year is available to all clinical residents/fellows. Primary use is for textbooks.
- On-call Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner: Paid by Cleveland Clinic Florida when on in house night call.
- Membership – ACP membership paid for by the program.
- Cell phones – Apple iPhone provided to all residents.
- Uniforms – Supplied by Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Hoon Choi, MD, PhD
J. Manuel Sarmiento, MD
Associate Fellowship Director
Badih Adada, MD
2950 Cleveland Clinic Blvd.
Weston, Florida 33331
Class of 2023
Abdulbaki Kozan, MD
Clinical Fellow, Spine Neurosurgery,
BIDMC Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA