Sleep Medicine Training Information
Traditionally most applicants to sleep fellowship programs have had background training in neurology, internal medicine/pulmonary & critical care, psychiatry, pediatric (including pediatric psychiatry, pediatric pulmonology and pediatric neurology). The recent decision by the American Board of Anesthesiology to create a pathway for anesthesiologists to train in sleep medicine has added a new specialty to the mix of applicants. Anesthesiologists have an interesting and unique background well suited to Sleep Medicine: knowledge of neurophysiology and consciousness, pharmacology, and cardiorespiratory physiology/disease.
Program directors of sleep medicine fellowship programs are typically interested in the most competitive applicants who have the combination of best CV, recommendation letters and genuine interest in sleep medicine. A very important factor is whether the applicant is committed to a primary career in Sleep Medicine. Moreover, most sleep medicine program directors like to maintain diversity in the pool of their fellows. An applicant with anesthesia background who has a genuine interest in sleep medicine and sleep research will be very competitive for any sleep fellowship. The most competitive applicants have a track record of research in sleep medicine during their residency training. Anesthesiologists will have to compete against applicants with neurology, psychiatry, internal medicine (and its subspecialties), pediatrics (and its subspecialties), ENT and family medicine backgrounds in order to secure a spot in a sleep fellowship program.
After the Sleep Board Exam in November 2011 all individuals planning to take the sleep board must have completed one year ACGME approved clinical sleep fellowship training.
Interested applicants can go to the following links:
and click on accredited programs, then go under subspecialties of internal medicine to click on sleep medicine.
FREIDA online: https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/viewProgramSearch.do
This link is from the AMA and the person searching needs to pick the residency or subspeciality they are interested in and the region in the US they are looking for and a list of ACGME approved programs appears. It requires several clicks to get to the list of interest. Program directors update this website every year. Many programs have a link to their own website through FREIDA online.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING SLEEP MEDICINE BOARD CERTIFICATION PATHWAYS FOR ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
The Sleep Medicine Subspecialty Certification Program is designed to recognize excellence among physicians who are specialists in the care of patients with sleep problems and specific sleep disorders. Sleep medicine encompasses a multidisciplinary body of knowledge regarding the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathophysiology, and pharmacology of sleep and wakefulness, and their disorders.
Physicians interested in obtaining subspecialty certification in sleep medicine must:
- Possess an appropriate medical degree or its equivalent;
- Hold an unexpired license to practice medicine or osteopathy in at least one state or jurisdiction of the United States or Canada that is permanent, unconditional and unrestricted;
- Be a Diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology;
- Be a participant in the ABA’s Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA) program;
- Complete the specified education and training requirements or practice experience in sleep medicine.
Applicants who have completed training in anesthesiology in an ACGME-accredited core residency training program after July 1, 2009, will be required to have further successfully completed an ACGME-approved sleep medicine fellowship in order to qualify for the subspecialty certification process in sleep medicine. The applicant must provide documentation from the program director that the fellowship was satisfactorily completed. The applicant must be actively providing sleep medicine care at least one day per week. A letter to the ABA from the current Department Chair attesting to the extent and quality of their sleep medicine practice will also be required.
Applicants who completed training prior to July 1, 2009 may be eligible to apply for the sleep medicine examination if they have been certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine or if they have provided attestation of 12 months of full time post training practice experience in sleep medicine. Practice experience must include the clinical care of patients with sleep disorders, accumulated over a maximum of five years prior to application for examination. The clinical practice must involve a minimum experience of 400 patient evaluations, as well as interpreting and reviewing the complete raw data of 200 polysomnograms and 25 multiple sleep latency tests. This will be demonstrated by a letter from the applicant’s Department Chair or other institutional official certifying that the applicant’s clinical efforts are devoted to the practice of sleep medicine, at least to this extent. This application process for those who completed training prior to July 1, 2009, (“grandfathering”) will be time-limited for the 2011 and the 2013 examination only.
The Sleep Medicine Certification Examination will be a comprehensive one-day computer-based examination of multiple-choice questions in the single best answer format with an absolute standard for passing. The examination is designed to evaluate the extent of the candidate’s knowledge and clinical judgment in the areas in which a sleep medicine specialist should demonstrate a high level of competence. The Sleep Medicine Examination is administered every other year. The detailed content outline (examination blueprint) and exam tutorial are available on the ABIM’s web site at www.ABIM.org.