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Brain Injury Fellowship Program


Carolinas Rehabilitation is offering a one year ACGME fellowship in brain injury rehabilitation for a board-eligible/board-certified psychiatrist interested in developing further expertise in clinical management and research pursuits within this subspecialty. Carolinas Rehabilitation is a 172-bed, CARF-accredited rehabilitation hospital with 30 beds dedicated to brain injury. This fellowship allows for flexibility between clinical and research time and will be specifically designed to meet the candidate's interest.

Clinical opportunities include:

  • Inpatient consultations and outpatient evaluations
  • Neuropsychological evaluations
  • Patient management of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with a focus on treatment of active medical problems
  • Neuropharmacological trials
  • Procedural management of spasticity

The clinical experience also provides time for learning opportunities with neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons located at the Level I trauma center, Carolinas Medical Center, adjacent to Carolinas Rehabilitation. Brain injury research at Carolinas Rehabilitation includes opportunities to participate in clinical trials initiated at either Carolinas Rehabilitation or Carolinas Medical Center. Interested candidates must have excellent clinical and academic credentials and be very motivated to be challenged in a dynamic clinical/research environment.

Please view our brochure (PDF) for further information on the Brain Injury Rehabilitation fellowship.

We accept applications ONLY from participants in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

Please send cover letter and curriculum vitae to:
Sandra M. Watson
Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
1100 Blythe Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Email: Sandra Watson


CrawfordMessage from Program Director

"Welcome to Carolinas Rehabilitation Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship training program. We offer a one-year, ACGME-accredited fellowship training program with one fellowship position per year. The program provides a conventional educational curriculum with distinction in clinical service and training enhanced by excellent research opportunities.

Our fellows obtain well rounded training in all aspects of brain injury to help nurture a generation of skilled academicians, clinicians and researchers in the field of Brain Injury Medicine. Helping us achieve this goal is the support of one of the best rehabilitation facilities in the nation, Carolinas Rehabilitation, incorporating an excellent faculty and competent, supportive staff with exceptional clinical and research facilities. Our curriculum and rotations are designed to give the fellows ample exposure to management approaches along the spectrum of care from mild to severe injuries, acute to long term management and within both the outpatient and inpatient settings.

With exceptional clinical training and research opportunities, our Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship program offers one the opportunity to cultivate your professional aspirations. Our fellows are well-prepared to enter any practice environment and have been very successful in both private practice as well as academic settings.

Beyond the fellowship academic training, our location provides the opportunity for fellows to enjoy their time outside of the hospital. Charlotte, NC is conveniently nestled between the beach and mountains, making for easy weekend getaways. Charlotte is a southern city that has plenty of charm, great places to eat with award winning food and plenty of unique attractions. These attractions include many local museums, sporting events and an overabundance of outdoor activities including the US National Whitewater Center.

We would like to sincerely thank you for your interest in our program and look forward to meeting with you soon!"

Kelly M. Crawford, MD
Program Director
Carolinas Rehabilitation Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship


Meet the Faculty


Kelly Crawford, MD
Fellowship Director
Medical Director, Brain Injury Program

Dr. Kelly Crawford has four years of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation experience with primary focus in Traumatic Brain Injury. She completed her residency at the University of Cincinnati and her fellowship in TBI & Concussion at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton in 2008.

Dr. Crawford is a football enthusiast and enjoys cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bengals. She also enjoys movies and spending time with friends and family.


Vu Q.C. Nguyen, MD
Vice-Chair of Academics
Residency Program Director
Medical Director, Stroke Rehabilitation

Dr. Nguyen graduated from Michigan State University and completed an internship in Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics. He served as a physician in the United States Air Force, functioning as an Emergency Medicine physician and Interim Medical Director, and later practicing Family Medicine. After leaving the Air Force, he returned to residency training at Carolinas Rehabilitation where he served as Chief Resident and subsequently joined the faculty of Carolinas Rehabilitation.

Dr. Nguyen is board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He subspecializes in Stroke Rehabilitation. His research interests involve post-traumatic amnesia, dysphagia, spasticity and neuromodulation of shoulder subluxation.

Dr. Nguyen is married to another physician and they have four children – three humans and one feline. Their current interests include hiking, camping and going to the beach.


Shanti Pinto, MD
TBI Model Systems Director
Faculty Physician, Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Shanti Pinto received her undergraduate at Valparaiso University and completed medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh. She completed her internship, residency and fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  

During her spare time, Dr. Pinto enjoys running, partaking in all the activities at the US National Whitewater Center, traveling and trying new food in Charlotte.


Sima Desai, MD
Faculty Physician, Traumatic Brain Injury  

Dr. Sima Desai received her undergraduate degree from Emory University, subsequently received her masters degree in Pharmacology from Tulane University and her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine.

She completed an Internal Medicine internship at Flushing Medical Center and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Tufts Medical Center where she served as Associate Chief Resident. Following residency, she completed a fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Desai is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the North American Brain Injury Society. Her clinical interests include traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurorehabilitation and spasticity.

During her spare time, Dr. Desai enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, baking and trying new food in Charlotte.       


Tobias Tsai, MD
Medical Director, Pediatric Rehabilitation at Levine Children’s Hospital

Dr. Tsai received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his internship at University of Rochester and his residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Tsai is nationally recognized as a leader in Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, providing comprehensive services for children of all ages who have experienced a debilitating illness or injury. His clinical interests include cerebral palsy and brain injury. Dr. Tsai has presented at national and international medical conferences and is a member of many pediatric and rehabilitation medical organizations.

Dr. Tsai is married and has a son and daughter and enjoys spending time with family and friends.


Current Fellow


Wendy Contreras, MD, Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: All Saints University School of Medicine, Dominica and St. James School of Medicine Anguilla
Residency: Beaumont Taylor Hospital, Taylor, Michigan

"Welcome to the brain injury medicine fellowship program here at Carolinas Rehabilitation! The fellowship program is ACGME-accredited and is conveniently located on the main campus of Atrium Health Charlotte, a Level I trauma center. As a fellow, I had exposure to a wide array of brain injury patients, both in the inpatient and outpatient settings. There were ample opportunities to pursue additional interests such as spasticity management, concussion management, neuropsychology, movement disorders, hydrocephalus clinic, neuroradiology and more. In addition, I was able to assist in management of patients enrolled in the emerging response program for the most severe types of TBI. I had the privilege of working with a highly-skilled and compassionate group of attending physicians. They did an excellent job teaching me the knowledge and skills I came here to develop, and I truly consider them lifelong mentors. It is also worth noting that the city itself is a great place to live. Charlotte is a diverse, multicultural city with plenty of things to do and a climate that allows for year-round outdoor activities.

I am grateful for my time at Carolinas Rehabilitation, and I whole-heartedly recommend completing your fellowship here! I feel confident heading into my career as a brain injury attending knowing that I have received the best possible training."  



Past Fellows

 Kyle Aman, MD

Kyle Aman, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: American University of Antigua
Residency: Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center

Megan Franz, MD

Megan Franz, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Residency: New York Presbyterian Hospital

 Tara Chilakamarri, MD

Tara Chilakamarri, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: University of Missouri
Residency: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine


Nisha M. Patel, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: Akademia Medyczna, Lublin, Poland
Residency: Hofstra North-Shore Long Island Jewish School of Medicine 


Gemayaret Alvarez-Gonzalez, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine
Residency: Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center

 Andrew Dennison, MD, Brain Injury Fellow

Andrew Dennison, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: University of Pennsylvania
Residency: Baylor College of Medicine/University of Texas

 Lori Grafton, MD, Brain Injury Fellow

Gemayaret Alvarez-Gonzalez, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: University of Rochester
Residency: Sinai Hospital in Baltimore

 Monica E. Crump, MD

Gemayaret Alvarez-Gonzalez, MD
Brain Injury Fellow

Medical School: Medical College of Pennsylvania-Hahnemann School of Medicine
Residency: Baylor College of Medicine/ University of Texas