Interventional Spine and Musculoskeletal Medicine Fellowship

ISMM group photo

UT Southwestern Medical Center's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation offers a one-year fellowship opportunity for Board Eligible/Board Certified physicians interested in Interventional Spine and Musculoskeletal Medicine (ISMM). Fellows will receive in-depth multidisciplinary training in various aspects of spine and musculoskeletal medicine. Fellows will work closely with members of an interdisciplinary spine program including fellowship-trained PM&R physicians in pain medicine and sports medicine, anesthesiology pain management physicians, orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, radiologists, physical therapists, and psychologists. The clinical setting is a multidisciplinary facility with on-site clinics, imaging (ultrasound, x-ray, CT and MRI), electrodiagnostic lab, therapy gym, and outpatient surgery center.

Fellowship Objectives

The goal of the Interventional Spine and Musculoskeletal Medicine (ISMM) fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center is to prepare the fellow for advanced diagnostic evaluation and management of patients with acute and chronic spinal & musculoskeletal pain. We offer a comprehensive training program to expose fellows to patients with cervical/thoracic/lumbar spine disorders as well as a myriad of musculoskeletal disorders. Trainees will gain hands-on exposure to a variety of interventional procedures including cervical/thoracic/lumbar spine nerve blocks, facet blocks, epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency nerve ablations, sacroiliac joint injections, peripheral joint injections, electrodiagnostic testing, dorsal column stimulator trials and implants, and vertebral augmentation.

The fellow will have the opportunity to provide patient care in our multidisciplinary spine clinics and PM&R clinics. Trainees will collaborate with fellowship-trained interventional PM&R pain specialists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and sports medicine-trained physiatrists. We also provide exposure to didactic lecture series, grand rounds, and journal clubs, as well as teaching and research opportunities within the field of spine and musculoskeletal medicine. Our mission is to provide mentorship and training to the next generation of leaders in the field.


Ankit Patel, M.D.
Ankit Patel, M.D.
Associate Professor and Program Director

Dr. Patel is ABPM&R board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine. He is fellowship-trained in providing a variety of nonsurgical treatment options, including nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, joint injections, radiofrequency ablations, spinal cord stimulator trials, and vertebral augmentation procedures. Dr. Patel is also a member of the International Pain and Spine Intervention Society, American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and North American Spine Society among others. Dr. Patel was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors List and named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly. He received the Faculty Teacher of the Year Award from the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Kavita Trivedi, D.O.
Associate Professor and Associate Program Director

Dr. Trivedi is ABPM&R board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine. She offers nonsurgical relief for back pain and neck pain as well as spine conditions and other musculoskeletal disorders. She also is an expert in electrodiagnostic medicine, the medical subspecialty that applies neurophysiologic techniques to diagnose and evaluate patients with impairments of the neurologic, neuromuscular, and muscular systems. Dr. Trivedi is part of Dallas County Medical Society, North American Spine Society, Texas Medical Association, Texas PM&R Society, International Society of Interventional Spine, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors List, named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly, and is a two-time Texas Monthly Rising Star.

Sunny Sharma, M.D.
Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director

G. Sunny Sharma, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in interventional spine, sports, and musculoskeletal medicine. Double board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and interventional pain medicine, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2019.

Dr. Sharma is an expert in the nonsurgical treatment of spine and musculoskeletal conditions with a goal of helping patients improve their physical function and quality of life. His clinical and research interests include minimally invasive spine procedures, spine injections, ultrasound-guided injections, regenerative medicine, radiofrequency nerve ablation, electrodiagnostic medicine, and neuromodulation including spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation. He is also passionate about medical device and health technology innovations.

Heakyung Kim, M.D.
Heakyung Kim, M.D.
Professor and Chair

Dr. Kim is Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Kimberly-Clark Distinguished Chair in Mobility Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She specializes in pediatric rehabilitation medicine, brain injury, cerebral palsy, and botulinum toxin injections for spasticity and drooling management.

Dr. Kim earned her medical degree at Ewha Womans University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. She completed both her residency in rehabilitation and fellowship in neuroscience in rehabilitation medicine at Yonsei University Health System in Seoul. She later completed a combined residency in pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in physiatry with subspecialties in pediatric rehabilitation medicine and brain injury medicine, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2022.


Fellows will gain expertise in the evaluation and management of patients with a variety of spinal and musculoskeletal disorders including neck pain, back pain, joint pain, radiculopathy, myelopathy, and sports injuries.

Fellows will also be provided with the following:

  • Hands-on exposure to a myriad of interventional spine and musculoskeletal procedures such as epidural steroid injections, facet/SI joint injections, medial branch blocks, radio-frequency nerve ablations, dorsal column stimulator trial and implantation, vertebral augmentation, and ultrasound-guided peripheral joint/MSK injections
  • Opportunity to enhance electrodiagnostic skills by working with faculty experienced in EMG/NCS testing
  • Attend regularly scheduled Spine, Sports, and Pain Journal Clubs, spine lecture series, and PM&R Grand Rounds
  • Opportunity to participate in scholarly activities at a large academic medical center
Surgeons performing spine surgery


ISMM Fellows are given this opportunity to establish their research interests and have protected time for research throughout the fellowship. Fellows have the opportunity to develop relationships with researchers from within the division and department.


Faculty from UT Southwestern Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation provide mentorship. You are assigned a dedicated faculty adviser who can provide comprehensive educational advice and personal support. You meet with your adviser periodically throughout the program to review your progress and career goals, and ensure that your educational needs are being met.


Program Benefits include medical, dental, vision, supplemental life, AD&D insurance, long-term care insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement.

An educational stipend is available to the fellow for use at approved conferences, CME travel, courses, books, board exam reimbursement, etc. Additional details are provided during the interview process.

UT Southwestern Non-Discrimination Policy

UT Southwestern Medical Center is committed to an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. In accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits unlawful discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of: race; color; religion; national origin; sex, including sexual harassment; age; disability; genetic information; citizenship status; and protected veteran status.

Application Process

The ISMM Fellowship is participating in the North American Spine Society (NASS) Match, Please visit the NASS website for more information on the application process.

ISMM Fellowships (

If you do not already have a NASS login, you will need to create one to access the site. All requested documents are uploaded via this dashboard.

The following documents must be included with your completed NASS application:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letters of Recommendation (3 minimum)
  • USMLE/COMLEX Transcripts (All Steps/Levels)
  • Personal Statement
  • Photograph

Eligible candidates must have successfully completed an ACGME-accredited Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program. Candidates must be board-eligible or board-certified at the time of application.

Fellowship Training Dates: August 1 - July 31