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Expanding and optimizing the chronic pain management workforce

Although primary care providers traditionally had limited formal training in chronic pain management, they deliver the majority of the pain care in the United States. The UC Davis Train the Trainer Primary Care Pain Management Fellowship provides a 10-month, multidisciplinary, evidence-based educational program for providers who wish to become expert clinicians and teachers in primary care pain management. This fellowship is designed for practicing clinicians and provides the opportunity to continue to work in their current practice while they receive the training, mentorship and resources needed to lead their primary care community to improve the practice of safe and effective pain management. This fellowship is not an ACGME-approved fellowship and learning takes place outside of traditional work hours.

Program overview

The UC Davis Train the Trainer: Primary Care Pain Management Fellowship offers expert guidance and support from leaders in pain medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, physical therapy, pharmacy and beyond. Our unique program features flipped classrooms, telementoring sessions, simulation experiences, complex case-based interactions, direct faculty fellow mentoring and academic detailing. The curriculum targets the most frequently encountered issues in primary care pain management with a significant emphasis on addressing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and responsible opioid prescribing. We seek to help individuals gain the essential knowledge and skills needed to educate their colleagues on the primary care front line and raise the standard of pain management across their primary care community, networks and region.

Program highlights

  • Skills to teach the concepts, theories and practices learned to their colleagues
  • One-on-one mentoring and individualized learning with UC Davis experts in pain management
  • Up-to-date, evidence-based training from multidisciplinary team of experts on all aspects of primary care pain management
  • AMA CME credits
  • Opportunity to share de-identified cases with pain medicine faculty for discussion and real-time feedback
  • Exclusive access to presentations, recordings and other educational resources
  • Optional Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) waiver training to qualify to prescribe for the treatment of opioid use disorder
  • Upon completion, fellows receive certificates of participation from the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief

Fellowship curriculum highlights

  • Virtual interactive workshops
  • Bi-monthly, live, case-based videoconference sessions with a focus on integrated primary care pain management
  • Individualized monthly mentoring with a Pain Management Fellowship faculty member
  • Monthly office hours on selected topics in primary care pain management

Core content

  • Motivational interviewing techniques and cognitive reframing
  • Physical exams for pain
  • Nutrition and pain management
  • Rational polypharmacy technique
  • Analgesic pharmacology NSAIDs
  • Opioid risk stratification
  • Naloxone as a rescue for unintentional overdose
  • Opioid tapering methodologies
  • Buprenorphine: a strategy for pain management
  • Addiction and chronic pain
  • Adherence monitoring
  • Marijuana, cannabinoids and pain management
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Pain procedures for chronic pain
  • Ultrasound guided procedures and pain care for primary care
  • Regenerative medicine in the primary care setting
  • Conducting a pain visit in 15 minutes

The 2020 fellowship runs from October 2020 through July 2021. The deadline to apply is Sept. 25.

  • All primary care-oriented providers and trainees are eligible, including licensed physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists.
  • To be considered for enrollment, primary care pain fellowship applicants must complete an application and submit their curriculum vitae or resume.  Approved applicants are then emailed instructions on enrollment.
  • Tuition for the fellowship is $10,000 per year. Tuition will be invoiced to the sponsoring agency upon notification of acceptance into the fellowship (payment must be received before start  of fellowship year).

Fellows must complete the following in order to receive a certificate of completion:   

  • Attend and participate in both weekend learning sessions in Sacramento.
  • Attend and participate in a minimum 80 percent of bi-monthly videoconference learning sessions.
  • Participate in a minimum of eight hours of individualized mentorship.
  • Complete all requested evaluation and surveys.


David Copenhaver, M.D., M.P.H. 
Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology

Charles DeMesa, D.O., M.P.H.
Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine

Scott M. Fishman, M.D. 
Executive Director
Pain Medicine, Psychiatry, Palliative Care

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D. 
Associate Director
Internal Medicine

Gagan Mahajan, M.D.
Associate Director
Pain Medicine


Timothy Cutler, Pharm.D., BCGP
Outpatient Pharmacy, Anticoagulation Services

Shelly Henderson, Ph.D.
Family and Community Medicine

Stephen Henry, M.D., M.Sc.
Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Bioethics

Mark Holtsman, Pharm.D.
Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine, Inpatient Pharmacy, Inpatient Pain Service

Ian Koebner, MSc., MAOM, L.Ac.
Pain Medicine

Samir Sheth, M.D. 
Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology

Naileshni Singh, M.D.
Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology

Allied Faculty

Joseph Amos, M.D.
Interventional Pain Management
Memorial Hospital Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute at the Texas Medical Center

Miguel X Escalon, M.D.
Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY

Barbara St. Marie

Barbara St. Marie, Ph.D., R.N., ANP, GNP
College of Nursing
University of Iowa

Sara Goel, DO

Sara Goel, D.O.
Interventional Pain Management, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 
Houston Spine and Joint Pain Consultants

The 2020 fellowship runs from October 2020 through July 2021. The deadline to apply is Sept. 25.

For more information, please contact