Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship Program

The Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship Program at McGovern Medical School/UT Health is grounded in a strong commitment to excellence in training the next generation of pediatric neurosurgeons. Our program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships (ACPNF).

At our teaching hospital, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, our pediatric neurosurgery team provides world-class medicine neurosurgical care for children with complex neurological problems, including brain tumors and congenital malformations, cerebral palsy, congenital hydrocephalus, craniofacial disorders, epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders, traumatic brain and spine injury, and spina bifida.

Our Team

Fellows work with three dedicated pediatric neurosurgeons who are faculty members at McGovern Medical School. These experienced physicians are also part of UTHealth Neurosciences, the region’s largest provider of neuroscience care and a leader in research innovation.

David Sandberg, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAAP, is professor and director of pediatric neurosurgery at McGovern Medical School, the Dr. Marnie Rose Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and director of the fellowship program. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Pediatric Surgery and Neurosurgery at UTHealth and is co-director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. His major clinical interests include pediatric brain tumors and minimally invasive endoscopic approaches to brain tumors and hydrocephalus, as well as congenital spinal anomalies, vascular malformations, spasticity, and craniofacial disorders in children. First in human translational studies pioneered by Dr. Sandberg have demonstrated the safety of infusing chemotherapeutic agents directly into the fourth ventricle of the brain to treat children with recurrent malignant brain tumors.

Manish N. Shah, MD, FAANS, is associate professor and director of pediatric spasticity and epilepsy surgery at McGovern Medical School. Dr. Shah has expertise in the surgical management of spasticity and is the leading neurosurgeon in the region for selective dorsal rhizotomy. He is also an expert in pediatric epilepsy, craniofacial surgery, craniocervical spine surgery, and advanced deep brain stimulation. His research focuses on advanced imaging-based classifications of cerebral palsy and epilepsy patients.

Stephen Fletcher, DO, is associate professor and leads fetal pediatric neurosurgery efforts at The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, a national leader in providing diagnosis, treatment, and complete care for mothers with high-risk pregnancies and infants with congenital anomalies or genetic conditions. The Center’s multidisciplinary team performed the first fetal spina bifida repair in the region, and patients are referred to the Center for fetal myelomeningocele repair from Texas and surrounding states.

Clinical and Research Opportunities

Our Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship Program is primarily clinical, offering broad exposure to the common conditions we treat. Fellows play an active role in the operating room, supervising and teaching residents and performing complex cases under the direction of the attending pediatric neurosurgeon. They also participate in outpatient clinics weekly.

UTHealth is an international leader in research conducted on innovative treatments and participates in multicenter trials. Although fellows have no formal research requirement, they have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clinical and translational research projects. Research includes novel studies seeking to improve outcomes in children with malignant fourth ventricular brain tumors, pediatric epilepsy surgery focus identification with resting-state MRI, pediatric optical tomographic imaging, and cryopreserved human umbilical cord for repair of fetal spina bifida defects.

Our fellows also participate in conferences and all other educational activities of the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery, as well as a weekly pediatric neurosurgery/neuroradiology teaching conference. They take the lead in choosing cases to present and then present them at the conference. They participate in adult and pediatric Morbidity and Mortality Conferences, and in our monthly pediatric neurosurgery team meeting in which we review every case performed the prior month, with a focus on improving outcomes.

Evaluation of progress during the fellowship is ongoing. As director of the fellowship program, Dr. Sandberg meets formally with fellows to discuss progress at regular intervals and at the conclusion of the fellowship at 12 months.

Fellowship Schedules

Didactic and Conference Schedule

Name of Conference (teaching round, seminar, journal club, etc.) Frequency (weekly, monthly, etc.) Mandatory or Elective Individual(s) Responsible for Organization of Sessions
Neurosurgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference and Grand Rounds Weekly (Thursday 7 AM- 9 AM) Mandatory Arthur Day, MD
Pediatric Neuroradiology/Neurosurgery Conference Weekly (Friday 9:15 – 10:15 AM) Mandatory David Sandberg, MD and Rajan Patel, MD
Pediatric Neurosurgery Team Meeting and Morbidity/Mortality Conference Monthly (Friday 10:15-11:15) Mandatory David Sandberg, MD
Pediatric Trauma Meeting Monthly Elective Charles Cox, MD
Pediatric Neurology Grand Rounds Weekly (Friday 8 AM-9 AM) Elective Ian Butler, MD
Neurosurgery Resident Teaching Conference Daily, Monday to Wednesday, 7 AM-8 AM Elective Arthur Day, MD

 

Block Schedule

July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May June

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Daily Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
6 AM – 7 AM inpatient rounds
7:30 AM-5 PM Surgeries (Dr. Shah Block Time)
6 AM – 7 AM inpatient rounds
7:30 AM-5 PM Surgeries (Dr. Fletcher Block Time)
8:00 AM-4:00 PM Dr. Sandberg outpatient clinic
6 AM – 7 AM inpatient rounds
7:30 AM-5 PM Surgeries (Dr. Sandberg Block Time)
8:00 AM-4:00 PM Dr. Fletcher and Dr. Shah outpatient clinic
6 AM – 7 AM inpatient rounds
7 AM-9 AM:  Neurosurgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference and Grand Rounds
9:00 AM-12:00 PM Dr. Fletcher Clinic
12:00 PM-5:00 PM Academic Time
6 AM – 7 AM inpatient rounds
8 AM – 9 AM: Pediatric Neurology Grand Rounds
9:15 AM-10:15 AM Pediatric Neuroradiology/Neurosurgery Conference
10:15-11:15 AM (monthly) – Pediatric Neurosurgery team meeting and morbidity/mortality conference
12:30 PM – 5:00 PM Surgeries (team block time)

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital

Our physicians treat patients at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, where they provide care for children with a range of neurological disorders, including spasticity, movement disorders, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, head injuries, craniosynostosis, and spina bifida. Each surgery performed is aided by advanced imaging technology, and our six-bed Neuro Pod ensures high-quality, personal attention after surgery.

Care at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is delivered in a child-friendly, reassuring environment to promote wellbeing and the best possible outcomes. When surgery is required, affiliated physicians use advanced imaging techniques and minimally invasive procedures that lower patient risk, incision size, and scarring. On-site sedation is available for imaging studies with care provided by specially trained pediatric anesthesiologists and pediatric nurses.

The Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is equipped to meet the needs of pediatric patients with conditions ranging from minor injuries and illnesses to major trauma. Children’s Memorial Hermann was the first American College of Surgeons-verified pediatric Level I trauma center in Houston. It is now one of two pediatric Level 1 trauma centers in the city, and the only trauma center in the region that admits patients of all ages for care at the same facility. Memorial Hermann Life Flight®, the hospital’s air ambulance program, provides rapid transport within a 150-mile radius of the Texas Medical Center, and administers specialized emergency care to patients from infants to adolescents. Ground ambulance service is available for patients up to 300 miles away. For patients with traumatic brain injury, Children’s Memorial Hermann delivers the fastest time in Houston from arrival in the Emergency Department to the operating room – less than 10 minutes.

Applications

Please apply one year prior to your anticipated fellowship start date by emailing your CV and personal statement to Dr. Sandberg at David.I.Sandberg@uth.tmc.edu. Applicants must have completed a neurosurgery residency program in the United States or abroad. We hope you will consider us, and we look forward to receiving your application.