Fellowship in Headache & Facial Pain


The vision of the Hartford Healthcare Headache Center, one of the largest headache programs in the country, is to build a network of academic multidisciplinary headache centers across the growing footprint of the Hartford Healthcare system within the state of Connecticut. One of our key missions is to train future leaders in the field of headache medicine. Our senior leadership has been fortunate to train more than 20 headache fellows over the years, many of whom lead other headache programs in the United States, as well as the primary headache specialists for Puerto Rico, Israel, and Singapore. All of our headache faculty take an active role in clinical care, research, and teaching. The Hartford Healthcare Fellowship Program is accredited by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) and offers two clinical fellowship positions each year. The clinical fellowship starts on July 1st of each academic year and is 12 months in length.

What makes our training program unique from other headache fellowships?

There are a number of factors that make our one-year headache fellowship program unique and ideally suited to training future leaders in the field of headache medicine.

1. Breadth of Patient Experience

Fellows will independently see patients with a wide-range of primary and secondary headache and craniofacial pain disorders from diverse demographic segments in an outpatient setting. These patients are referred from a regional, national, and international base and present with a broad range of interesting, unusual and refractory disorders. Fellows will have detailed discussions with the headache faculty for each patient seen. Fellows will become proficient in advanced interventional procedures including Onabotulinum toxin injections, occipital nerve blocks, supraorbital and supratrochlear nerve blocks, auriculotemporal nerve blocks, sphenopalatine ganglion blocks, and trigger point injections. Fellows will also have the opportunity to manage complex headache and craniofacial pain disorders in our outpatient infusion center and will become skilled using infusion therapies.

2. Extensively detailed formal headache curriculum

Fellows actively participate in a comprehensive weekly year-long didactic curriculum in which they learn about every facet of headache medicine including all primary and secondary headache disorders, facial pain and other cranial neuralgias, transitional, preventive and acute treatments, interventional procedures, neuromodulation devices, drug-drug interactions, neuroimaging and diagnostic evaluation of headache, and infusion therapy. These weekly didactic sessions are guided by assigned readings on each of these topics and discussed with our entire headache faculty.

3. Neuroradiology rounds

Under the leadership of Dr. Jignesh Modi, our chief neuroradiologist, we have bimonthly dedicated neuroradiology rounds where we review imaging studies and neurointerventional procedures for our patients. As part of our neuroradiology rounds, we also have lectures on incidental findings and normal anatomical variants on neuroimaging in adults for primary headaches.

4. Lecture series and case conference

These include a set of core lectures that are presented by headache faculty and guest speakers expert in topics related to headache as well as from disciplines that intersect with headache medicine such as pediatric headache, behavioral health, psychiatry, neuroradiology, women’s health, neuro-otology, otolaryngology, physical therapy, integrative medicine, medical weight loss, pain medicine, and sleep medicine. Case conferences are held weekly and serve as a venue for formal discussion of patients with complicated headache and medical histories to discuss multidisciplinary treatment plans amongst our entire headache faculty.

5. Headache Council

Recognizing the opportunity to optimize headache care across an entire healthcare system and state, our headache program developed the first monthly interdisciplinary headache council in the country with representation from multiple disciplines that intersect with headache medicine, including primary care, behavioral health, outpatient infusion centers, neuroradiology, rehabilitation, women’s health, pain management, ophthalmology, emergency medicine, urgent care, otolaryngology, neuro-otology, integrative medicine, neurosurgery, medical weight loss, sleep medicine, and the internal research, media, and marketing teams. Our goal is to improve patient access for interdisciplinary headache care by standardizing a communication process for referrals into the headache program; improving interdisciplinary communication to promote education, research, and patient care via interdisciplinary case conferences; and creating an interdisciplinary telemedicine headache program. Fellows actively participate in our monthly council meetings and are engaged in quality initiative projects developed there.

6. Research

It is important to be able to critically evaluate peer-reviewed literature, to have a sense of what is involved in clinical trials, and to learn how to construct, execute, and write up a research project. Fellows will have access to some of the top scientists and clinicians in the field of headache medicine and will participate in research projects and scientific writing. Faculty support is readily available.

7. Professional Growth

Regional, national and international conferences are excellent opportunities to enhance educational connections and establish professional collaborations. Financial support is available through scholarships provided by conference sponsors.

  • AHS Scottsdale Headache Symposium (November)
  • International Headache Academy (January)
  • Headache Cooperative of New England (November)
  • AAN Annual Meeting (Spring)
  • AHS Annual Scientific Meeting (Summer)
  • IHS International Headache Conference (September)


  1. Residency Training
    Applicants must have successfully completed their residency at an accredited United States or Canadian training program.

  2. International Medical Graduates
    Our program welcomes International Medical Graduates that hold a valid ECFMG certificate. (This does not apply to Canadian graduates.

  3. Year of Graduation
    Residency graduation should be within 2 years of fellowship application.

  4. Visas: (if applicable)  Hartford Hospital only sponsors the J-1 visa for those candidates who are not permanent residents or US Citizens.

  5. USMLE Exams
    USMLE exams of Part I, II, and III (or equivalent) must be passed to begin fellowship positions.


All applicants must have completed an accredited residency training program in a relevant field (i.e. neurology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, family medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, internal medicine) and have board eligibility in that field. For the application, we request a cover letter outlining your career goals and interest in pursuing a fellowship with us (letter of intent), a minimum of three letters of recommendation from residency training faculty, a copy of your curriculum vitae with recent photograph, and a completed application form using the link below. Applications are to be submitted no later than October for the following academic year.

Download an Application Form

For additional information, contact

Past Faculty & Fellows

Maria Garcia-Ayala, MDMaria Garcia-Ayala, MD
Dr. Garcia-Ayala was a headache and facial pain fellow in the 2020-2021 academic year and will be returning to Puerto Rico to become its second headache specialist. Prior to fellowship, she completed her neurology residency at the University Of Puerto Rico School Of Medicine and was Chief Resident in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Chantel Strachan, MDChantel Strachan, MD
Dr. Strachan was a headache and facial pain fellow in the 2020-2021 academic year and will be joining ColumbiaDoctors in New York as a general internist and headache specialist in 2021. Prior to fellowship, she completed her internal medicine residency at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine and was Chief Resident in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Justin BeuthinJustin Beuthin, MS, DO
Dr. Beuthin was a headache and facial pain fellow in 2019 and will be joining Spectrum Health in Western Michigan in 2020. Prior to fellowship, he completed his neurology residency at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Sandhya MehlaSandhya Mehla, MBBS
Dr. Mehla was a headache and facial pain fellow in 2019 and will be joining our headache program faculty in August 2020. Prior to her headache and facial pain fellowship with us, she completed a vascular neurology/stroke fellowship at the University of Massachusetts in 2018, and her neurology residency at the University of Buffalo