Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

The Jackson Health System / Jackson Memorial Hospital Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Spinal Cord Injury Program is a one-year fellowship offering physicians the opportunity for clinical and research training in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the University of Miami directs this program in conjunction with the Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System. Access to a large and diverse clinical population of persons with acute and chronic SCI is available to support the program.

Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) operates 68 beds and is the only Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County. Care is provided to approximately 95 new traumatic SCI patients per year, in addition to rehabilitative and lifelong care. Jackson Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center has an average census of eight to 10 patients with acute SCI. Jackson Memorial Medical Center, in conjunction with the Miller School of Medicine University of Miami is one of Florida’s designated Brain and SCI Centers. As part of this designation, an extensive data base is kept which tracks the level of injury, demographic data and other psychosocial outcomes of individuals with brain and SCI’s. This data is kept as part of the evaluation program at JMH.

The Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System (MVAHS) SCI unit consists of a 36-bed inpatient SCI unit, an outpatient SCI clinic and home care services. The VA Healthcare System provides care to SCI patients on a life-long basis for all aspects of their healthcare. The MVAHS also has a program evaluation system which tracks initial, discharge, follow-up data on functional outcomes and is CARF accredited for their rehabilitation program.

The practice of rehabilitation medicine stresses interdisciplinary team work under medical supervision. Physiatrists are trained to direct and lead a team of health related professionals that includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and hearing therapists, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, nurses, social workers, and group and community workers. All of these professionals collaborate with their medical colleagues in order to fulfill the goals of comprehensive medical care. Mobilization of essential family and community resources is emphasized. Planning and implementation of continuity of restorative care bridges the gap between intensive treatment and social re-integration. The JMH-PHT/ Miller School of Medicine University of Miami fellowship training program is designed to fulfill these goals and upon completion, the fellow will have had exposure to a large enough patient population with a full array of spinal cord injuries and diseases that will be encountered throughout one’s career.

ACGME Accredited: In 2008 the RRC granted the program a five year accreditation, the most time granted to a program.
Fellows per year: Two Spinal Cord Injury Fellows per year
Duration: One year of training
Postgraduate Training Required: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurology, Family Medicine, and Surgery Residencies
U.S. Citizenship Required: No

Teaching Hospitals

  • Jackson Memorial Hospital
  • Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System
  • University of Miami Hospitals & Clinics

Residents/Fellows who have graduated our program in the last 10 years obtained faculty positions at:

  • University of Miami
  • State University of New York (SUNY)
  • Upstate Medical University
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center – New York

It is required for the applicants to complete an ACGME accredited residency program.

Application Deadline: January 31 

The Jackson Memorial Hospital Fellowship Training Program is a member of the National Resident Matching Program. We review every candidate on the merit of their portfolio taking in consideration first time takers and high scores. We accept USMLE and COMLEX Scores, and the minimum requirement is 75. We require three (3) letters of recommendation, preferably one from a physiatrist.  After the selection committee has reviewed applications, invitations for interviews are offered. Rounds, conferences, lunches, tours, and opportunities to meet our house staff typically are included in a visit.

We start reviewing applications starting in September and interview invitations will be sent at the beginning of October.  Interviews are typically held on Fridays starting mid-November through January.

Didactic course series are held once a week. This is protected time to focus on learning through a multitude of resources.

Regularly scheduled academic discussions and activities include: monthly journal clubs, case presentation rounds both on the inpatient unit and consultative services, mortality and morbidity conferences, program director case conferences, formal research training, and grand rounds.

Interdisciplinary conferences include: spine conference, neuroradiology conference, rheumatology conferences, Neurosurgery grand rounds, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis lectures, Pain Fellowship conference, and Orthopedic grand rounds.

Educational & Other Experience
The program trains physicians beginning at post residency year.  The objectives of the program are to provide post-doctoral specialty training in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine and to enable the trainee, upon completion, to undertake state-of-the-art clinical practice, perform research, and/or pursue an academic career.

Our Fellows will achieve competence in six key areas of physician training:

  • Patient Care
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Professionalism
  • Systems Based Practice
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Practice Based Learning

The department is currently participating in the Spinal Cord Injury Model System.  Fellows have the opportunity to assist with this research.

Board Exam Requirements
Complete Spinal Cord Injury Medicine Fellowship

All fellows are required to develop a research interest and project. An original research project must be undertaken. The results of the research will be presented during the annual Research Day. Research helps stimulate critical thinking, allows for deep analysis and study of a given field of interest, and gives the individual a chance to contribute meaningfully to the current body of scientific work. One attending physician will be chosen, by each fellow, to work as a mentor.

Our residents and fellows have published a variety of leading journal articles and case presentations.

Fellows take at-home call about six times throughout the year. 

Call on the weekends consists of rounding on all inpatient services. Fellows must live within a 10 mile radius to be eligible for at-home call. Otherwise, the hospital provides call rooms for all residents & fellows.

Coretha Davis, BS, C-TAGME
Residency Coordinator
305 585-1431 (Office)
Fax:  305-355-2424

PM&R Residency Training Program
Miller School of Medicine University of Miami
P.O. Box 016960 (C-206)
Miami, FL 33101

Diana Cardenas, MD
Department Chairman
SCIM Fellowship Program Director
Education: UT Southwestern
Residency: University of Washington Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Specialty: Spinal Cord Medicine

Andrew Sherman, MD
Residency Program Director
Education: SUNY- Buffalo
Residency: University of Washington Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Fellowship: Beth Israel Hospital & Spine Institute- Interventional Pain
Specialty: Interventional Pain/ MSK Medicine

Kevin Dalal, MD
Assistant Program Director
Medical Director – Spinal Cord Injury Unit
Education: Medical College of Virginia
Residency: Tufts Boston Medical Center
Fellowship: University of Miami Medical Center- SCI Medicine
Specialty: Spinal Cord Medicine

Lucinda A. Arenas, MD
Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Roy Felix, PhD
Research Assistant Professor

Tamar S. Ference, MD
Assistant Professor

Robert W. Irwin, MD
Associate Professor

Douglas E. Johnson-Greene, PhD, MPH, ABPP
Professor and Associate Vice Chair

Soofia Khan, MD
Assistant Professor

Seema R. Khurana, DO
Assistant Professor

David S. Kushner, MD
Associate Professor

Adriana D. Valbuena Valecillos, MD
Assistant Professor

Ricardo J. Vasquez-Duarte, MD
Assistant Professor

Erin T. Wolff, MD
Assistant Professor