Dr. Sandeep Chatterjee and Dr. Dhake, Park Clinic, Kolkata
The Combined Traveling Fellowships are focused on a strong academic and clinical experience in India, plus an opportunity for the chosen fellow to travel to an IASA approved site outside of India (e.g. US, UK), providing an internationally rounded spine fellowship. A maximum of 4 clinics will be approved for the Combined Fellowship each year. NOTE – This Fellowship is offered to academic institutions, not individuals.
Each Fellowship will be supported for 6 months: 5 months in the local clinic, and one month abroad; ideally 4 months in country, 1 month out, 1 month in country. Each approved institution is expected to bring unique aspects to the fellowship experience depending upon their clinical focus and the expertise of the training surgeon(s). With regard to the international component, IASA will work with the approved fellow’s special interests to find an appropriate match.
IASA strives to ensure that each incoming fellow has a positive and valuable experience at the approved institution. Therefore, we require adherence to a basic curriculum from all interested applicant institutions consisting of the following:
NOTE: Placement of the Fellows is strictly at IASA’s discretion.
Once a fellowship is approved, the clinic will have the opportunity to provide their fellow with an educational experience outside of the country. Currently the following medical centers are available to host IASA Fellows. Additional sites may be added in the future:
If approved, IASA will provide a grant to the hosting clinic of up to $5,000 to cover a stipend for the fellow and any additional fees related to the in country portion of the fellowship. A complete budget to support need for the funding will be required of all applying clinics.
IASA will additionally support all expenses related to the international component of the fellowship to include the following expenses:
Twice a year applications will be reviewed. Applications should be submitted six months in advance of the Fellowship start date. Deadline for a Fellowship starting in July will be January 1; for one starting in January will be July 1:
Fellowship applications will be reviewed and approved in time to allow the recipient institution time to screen and designate a fellow for the following year. All applications will be reviewed and voted upon by the IASA Board of Directors.
All communication should be emailed to Nazie Dana, IASA Program Director, at email@example.com
T: 866.835.5306Download Application
Dr. Saumyajit Basu and Dr. Dhake, Park Clinic, Kolkata
I was indeed delighted to know that I had been selected as a Spine Fellow of the Indo-American Spine Alliance (IASA) at Park Clinic where I would be spending my five months rotating with Orthopaedic spine and Neurosurgical spine departments and an another month abroad. On reaching Kolkata, I received a warm welcome from Dr. Sandip Chatterjee who introduced himself and rest of the team at Park Clinic and discussed with me about my interests and expectations. My fellowship commenced on 15th of March in orthopaedic spine under Dr.Saumyajit Basu, the head of spine surgery at Park Clinic. It is a tertiary center with a high case-per-day ratio and involves management of complex spinal conditions. My first day (a Thursday) was a typical OR day starting at around 7: 30 AM and was scheduled for about 4-6 degenerative spinal conditions involving MIS/open TLIF, Microlumbar Discectomy and spinal decompression and fixation. Following the OR, I joined Dr. Basu and team for ward rounds which involved detailed discussion of each patient. I then accompanied Dr.Basu in his OPD and discussed plans/management strategies for difficult patients until 9 PM. During the ORs for three days in a week, I was exposed to wide spectrum of spinal conditions involving MIS TLIF, deformity correction, traumatic and infective spinal conditions in addition to routine degenerative spinal surgeries. I saw use of vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) for the first time.
The other half of my fellowship at Park clinic involved Neurosurgical spine posting under Dr. Sandip Chatterjee. I had an opportunity to assist Dr.Chatterjee and it was for the first time that I ever saw three individual layers of Posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) as he beautifully demonstrated them during an anterior cervical decompressive surgery under the microscope. He always made a running commentary while operating, and explained his techniques and procedures during the surgery while everything was being projected from microscope to the LCD screens. With Dr.Chatterjee, I was exposed to posterolateral spinal fusion and instrumentation, craniovertebral junction anomalies, intra and extradural spinal tumors, and a whole range of cervical conditions. He is indeed an influential personality with an outsized sense of humor. He was always approachable, open to questions and enjoyed answering them, making it all sound so simple and easy. The clinical meetings scheduled on every Thursdays had interesting case presentations and interactive sessions involving healthy discussions. It served as a strong academic event to improve our thought process and decision-making skills thus influencing clinical management.
Dr. Rajiv Sethi and Dr. Dhake, Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, WA
I was then placed for one month abroad experience with Dr.Rajiv Sethi at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, USA. The entire process, right from the invitation letter to travel and lodging arrangements, was meticulously handled by IASA director, Nazie Dana, ensuring that I encountered no hurdles in acquiring a US visa or in my travel to Seattle. She made a great effort to look for the best possible accommodation and was in constant touch to help me manage everything there. I reached Seattle on 15th July and was picked up at the airport and dropped off at a beautiful, fully furnished single accommodation, with a great view of Seattle downtown. It was a perfect glorious summer’s weather continuing throughout the month. I had one day time to rest and recuperate over the jet lag. On my first day at Virginia Mason, I was received by Megan on a Tuesday morning at 7 AM to collect my visitor’s badge and then accompanied to the Neurosurgical department lead by Dr.Rajiv Sethi while they had their weekly huddle. I had a brief introduction of the team and was totally impressed with the hospitality and the warm welcoming attitude of members of the department. Following the ORs, on the first day, Dr.Sethi took me out for a Mexican dinner.
A typical day used to start at 7.30 AM with four operating days in a week. The surgeries mostly consisted of adult deformities, interbody fusions (TLIF, XLIF, ALIF), pediatric spine deformities, routine and revision lumbar and cervical degenerative conditions. Lateral and anterior interbody fusions and novel technologies like usage of firefly navigation guides were new to me. Firefly Guides are 3D printed, patient specific and anatomically matched drill guides created to implant pedicle screws in the spine with far greater accuracy, speed, and safety than conventional forms of navigation. Placement of proximal screws to avoid a proximal junctional kyphosis was a special thing that I learned from Dr.Sethi. In addition to being a great surgeon, he was a very kind person ready to share his knowledge explaining the surgical procedures and discussing valuable experiences. I also joined Dr.Sethi in his clinics on Wednesdays where he had a huge plethora of spine cases and discussed principles of management behind every case and lay emphasis on planning before surgery. Besides academics, it was a great opportunity to explore Seattle on weekends. I was fortunate enough to see the 69th Boeing Seafair Air Show involving magnificent acrobatics done by a variety of aircrafts.
Overall, the six month period of IASA fellowship was a great opportunity to learn more about high standards of spine care, and the differences in management strategies abroad. The multidisciplinary inputs from both orthopaedic and neurosurgical specialists, allowed me to gain differing perspectives with regards to surgical decision-making in addition to the technical skills necessary for delivering high quality care. I gained much knowledge during this prestigious learning opportunity and thank IASA and all those from whom I received valuable experience and encouragement during my Fellowship. In particular, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the IASA Director, Nazie Dana, who remained helpful throughout the duration of my fellowship.
This fellowship has definitely upgraded my knowledge in the specialty field of spine surgery and I believe that the entire experience will have a very positive impact on the rest of my career. I wish to thank IASA again for its generosity and support by investing in the future of young surgeons like me and helping them achieve their dreams. I strongly recommend this fellowship to all budding spine surgeons who wish to learn and gain an international exposure in management strategies.
Dr. Rakesh Dhake
LTMMC & LTMGH