The Weill Cornell MS Center offers an exceptional environment for comprehensive specialty training in Multiple Sclerosis. We are highly enthusiastic about training fellows and, in fact, mentoring is a key component of our overall mission. The MS Center provides a vibrant intellectual atmosphere in which basic concepts and advanced techniques are discussed within formal and informal settings, all forums in which trainees are welcome to participate fully. Our trainees benefit from not only our commitment to their professional development but also our faculty's breadth of experience in Clinical MS, Clinical Trials, and Neuroimaging.
The MS Fellowship provides a rich educational framework that can be tailored to emphasize clinical care or clinical research. Our fellowships are usually two to three years. Upon completion of the fellowship, graduates are superbly positioned for a range of excellent career opportunities in the academic and private sectors. Our fellowship encompasses the following areas: clinical care, neuroimaging, neuro-ophthalmology, rehabilitation medicine, mental health, and clinical trials.
Optimal care of a person with MS requires integration of a vast amount of information that is distilled into a personalized and dynamic treatment plan that evolves over time. Hands-on training in patient care in a comprehensive, state-of-the-art MS treatment facility is central to our MS Fellowship. Fellows are closely mentored and supervised by one or more of the MS specialists. For each patient, we conduct systematic discussions of the clinical presentation, physical findings, neuroimaging studies, ancestry, environmental exposures, and ancillary studies. Fellows lead a weekly case conference and attend weekly Grand Rounds as part of their training.
The Weill Cornell Multiple Sclerosis Center (WCMC) provides ongoing care to 1,500 patients based on ICD9 code and two or more visits in the past year. Over the past two years, the center has provided second opinions for an additional nearly 1,000 patients who visit the clinic approximately once yearly and receive ongoing care from their local neurologist. The MS Center is housed in a modern state-of-the art advanced medicine building at 1305 York Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The clinic operates five days per week. Physicians provide new consultations, ongoing care, and second opinions. The physicians also staff inpatient MS consultations for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Currently five MS specialists staff the clinic:
Susan Gauthier, D.O., M.P.H.
Ulrike Kaunzner, M.D., Ph.D.
Nancy Nealon, M.D.
Jai Perumal, M.D.
Timothy Vartanian, M.D., Ph.D.
Neuroimaging plays a major role in the diagnosis, prognosis, and assessment of treatment effects in MS patients. Most crucially, a highly collaborative relationship exists between the Neuro-Radiology faculty and the MS Center. MS-specific MRI sequence protocols are rigorously maintained to ensure valid scan-to-scan comparisons. Routinely, patients’ clinical data along with their MRI data are entered into a longitudinal secure database. MS fellows spend a minimum of one month in Neuro-Radiology with an attending Neuro-Radiologist mentor to develop a deeper understanding of both the utility of different MRI sequences and the interpretation of results.
Fellows with a special interest in Neuroimaging are encouraged to participate in one of several ongoing research projects. Dr. Susan Gauthier heads a collaborative research effort with members of the Radiology Department, using novel MRI and PET Scanning approaches to quantify injury, repair, and inflammation in MS.
Involvement of the different and efferent visual pathways is common in MS. A quantitative assessment of the efferent visual pathway is made through Goldman Perimetry, automated visual fields, low contrast visual acuity, visual evoked potentials, and optical coherence tomography. Fellows are scheduled to spend time in rotations in the neuro-ophthalmology clinics.
Cognition, Higher-Cortical Functioning and Neuro-Psychology
Impairment of higher cortical functioning in MS occurs in a subset of patients and is secondary to the combined effects of cortical and white matter lesions. Our patients undergo a computerized battery of cognitive tests to ascertain if there are observable deficits in relevant domains. Fellows participate in the administration of these tests and will be mentored in their interpretation. Fellows interested in higher cortical functioning in MS may pursue projects with one of several faculty in Neurology, Rehabilitative Medicine, and Psychiatry.
A key facet of caring for people with MS is Rehabilitation Medicine. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is home to one of the premier Rehabilitation Medicine Programs in the world. MS rehabilitation is headed by Dr. Michael W. O'Dell, who along with his team of Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists, utilizes the most advanced technologies to assess and treat MS patients.
Masters in Clinical Research
Fellows are encouraged to complete formal training in Clinical Investigation at Weill Cornell Medical College. This program is a joint-teaching endeavor between Weill Medical College, the Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and the Cornell University Ithaca Campus. Fellows can pursue either a one-year program to earn a Certificate in Clinical Investigation, or a two-year program to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Investigation. Research requirements in the Clinical Investigation Program can be pursued at the MS Center. For further information, please see the clinical research homepage. In addition, prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Clinical and Translational Science Center to explore the rich collaborative clinical research environment in New York.
Residents interested in our fellowship program should contact Dr. Jai S. Perumal, director of the MS fellowship, at firstname.lastname@example.org.