Applications for fall 2021 are now closed. If you would like to be added to the interest list for 2022-23, please email Kate Lorenzen.

Expanding and optimizing the chronic pain management workforce

Health professionals are confronted with pain and its management every day. However, pain management receives surprisingly little attention in medical, nursing and other professional schools. The lack of appropriate pain education has left primary care providers on the front line of health care at a substantial disadvantage when managing patients with complex chronic pain. To help close this knowledge gap, the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief offers the Train the Trainer: Primary Care Pain Management Fellowship. The Train the Trainer Fellowship incorporates a competency-based curriculum and a hybrid educational model of in-person and distance-based learning, live webinars, simulation experiences and direct faculty-fellow mentoring. Fellows learn from leaders in the field, gaining the knowledge and skills needed to educate their colleagues on the primary care frontline and raise the standard of pain management across their primary care community, networks and region.

The Train the Trainer Fellowship targets the most pressing topics related to pain management including prescription drug abuse, responsible opioid prescribing, substance abuse, as well as broad coverage of comprehensive pain management and also prepares fellows to become the educators for their health care communities. The fellowship is designed for practicing clinicians and provides the opportunity to continue to work in their current practice while they receive training, resources and mentorship. Please note, this fellowship is not an ACGME-approved fellowship and learning takes place outside of traditional work hours.

This year we are excited to partner with the UC San Diego Center for Pain Medicine!

Program highlights

  • Up-to-date, competency-based training from a multidisciplinary team of experts on all aspects of primary care pain management
  • Skills to teach their colleagues the concepts, theories and practices learned
  • One-on-one mentoring and individualized learning with UC Davis experts in pain management
  • 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

  • Two intensive weekend workshops
  • Live, competency-based webinars with a focus on integrated primary care pain management
  • Individualized monthly mentoring with a Pain Management Fellowship faculty member

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 2021 fellowship runs from October 2021 through June 2022. 

    • All primary care-oriented providers 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.  Approved applicants are then emailed instructions on enrollment.
    • Tuition for the fellowship is $10,000 per year. Tuition is invoiced to the sponsoring agency upon notification of acceptance into the fellowship (payment must be received before start of fellowship year). Full tuition waivers for safety-net providers in California (including FQHCs, RHCs and county health systems) are available.


    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 2021 fellowship runs from October 2021 through July 2022. The deadline to apply is Sept. 27.

    For more information, please contact Christy Chung at