Neurosurgical Fellowship
Training & Visiting
Scholar Programs

ResourcesFor ProvidersNeurosurgical Fellowship Training

We offer fellowship training as well as short-stay visiting scholar opportunities for both U.S. trained and foreign-trained neurosurgeons.

One Year Clinical Fellowship

The Pacific Brain Tumor Center & Pituitary Disorders Center offers a 1-year fellowship in minimally invasive surgery for brain, pituitary and skull base tumors. Our clinical training program is focused on endonasal endoscopic and keyhole surgical approaches, neuro-endoscopy, pituitary tumor management and multimodality neuro-oncology treatments. The fellowship emphasizes operative and peri-operative patient management, outpatient evaluation of new patients and follow-up patients as well as clinical and anatomical laboratory research projects. The fellowship is integrated into the John Wayne Cancer Institute Surgical Oncology Fellowship.

Qualified applicants must have completed training in an ACGME-accredited neurosurgical residency program and be eligible for a California medical license.

Applicants should contact:

Include the following:

  1. An initial letter or e-mail
  2. Current curriculum vitae
  3. 2-3 Letters of Recommendation, one from a Residency Director or Department Chairman
  4. Personal statement detailing fellowship training goals and career aspirations

Current Neurosurgical Fellow

Walavan Sivakumar, MD 2015-2016 sivakumar

Dr. Sivakumar received his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience at UCLA and his MD with distinction from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He was elected to the Skull and Dagger All University Honor Society and USC Order of Arete and awarded the AMA National Medical Leadership Award. He continued with residency training in Neurosurgery at the University of Utah, where he received numerous regional and national awards for his research pertaining to skull base surgery and neuro-oncology. He has a special interest in medical trainee education, having served on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education National Committee and currently serving on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Young Neurosurgeons Committee. His additional focused training from Drs. Kelly and Barkhoudarian for a fellowship in minimally invasive neurosurgery and endoscopic skull base and pituitary surgery allows him to provide his patients with the most comprehensive and contemporary care possible.



Past Neurosurgical Fellows

Observational & Anatomical Fellowships

Non-clinical fellowships are available for non-U.S. citizens for 3 to 12 months. Observational training opportunities may include attending neurosurgical procedures, neurosurgical clinic and teaching conferences. Non-clinical fellows may also participate in anatomical studies and research projects involving endoscopic and microscopic cadaver dissections in the Skull Base and Endoscopic Microdissection Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Garni Barkhoudarian. Clinical research opportunities using our clinical outcomes database are also available.

Due to state medical licensing regulations, foreign trained fellows are not allowed to provide patient care. Additionally, non-clinical fellowships must be self-funded or supported by the visiting fellows’ sponsoring institution.

Qualified applicants must be have completed or is enrolled (with a minimum of 4 years of training) in a neurosurgical training program in their own country and meet Department of Homeland Security visa requirements for a J1-visa. They can also apply for a tourist visa for 3-6 months stay.

Applicants should send specific requests to program directors, Daniel F. Kelly, MD or Garni Barkhoudarian, MD & to Amy A. Eisenberg, ARNP & Fellowship Director.

Past Fellows

  • Pablo Villanueva, MD | April – September, 2013 Dr. Pablo Villanueva is Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery division of sciences Faculty of Medicine in Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile. He completed his residency in Neurosurgery in Universidad Católica and did a fellowship in Surgical Neuro-Oncology with emphasis in pituitary surgery at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008.
  • Danjuma Sale, MD | May – November, 2013 Dr. Danjuma Sale is a staff neurosurgeon of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria, Nigeria, and currently a final year neurosurgery resident at the Regional Center for Neurosurgery, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria.

Joint Fudan University & JWCI Neuro-oncology Fellowship

Under the general supervision of Drs. Daniel. Kelly , Garni Barkhoudarian, MD, Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD (Director Neuro-Oncology) and Dave Hoon, PhD (Director, Molecular Oncology, JWCI), visiting neurosurgeons from Fudan University (Shanghai, China) spend 6 to 12 months at Saint John’s Health Center & JWCI observing minimally invasive “keyhole” surgical techniques for brain, pituitary and skull base tumors including trans-cranial and endonasal endoscopic approaches, attend neurosurgery clinic and participate in clinical research projects. Additionally, at JWCI they will learn biomarkers research techniques including genome, epigenome, and transcriptome analyses and will be participate in ongoing translational research projects in molecular profiling of metastatic brain tumors, gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas and other brain tumor types.

Current Fudan Fellows

Xiawen Wang, MD   October 2015 – September 2016   Translational Research & Molecular Oncology Fellowship under direction of Dr. Dave Hoon

Fan Zhao, MD November 2015 – October 2016  Observational & Anatomical Fellowship under direction of Drs. Daniel Kelly & Garni Barkhoudarian

Past Fudan Fellows

Hua Wei, MD | May – November, 2013
Dr. Hua Wei is an attending neurosurgeon in Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. He completed his residency in 2009 and focuses on brain tumor research and surgery.

Short-Stay Visiting Scholars

Our short-stay program is open to Neurosurgeons or ENT surgeons interested in observing endonasal endoscopic and keyhole surgery for up to 3 weeks at our facility.

Those interested in the program may contact Dr. Daniel Kelly or Amy Eisenberg via email with a request for a visit.