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How to choose a spine fellowship?
Basically the title. I’d like to get great training, be comfortable bringing my skills to the program, train under a great mentor, and go to a place with a brand name. Not sure how important all of those are, or where to even start looking. Any advice would be appreciated.
Apply to them all PGY-4 or 5. Some will require the ortho match as a PGY-6. Have your chair and program director reach out, as well. Publish as much as you can prior to applying, but honestly, they are just looking for hard working residents who want some further sub-specialized training. It will take a lot of stamina and tenacity to finish a spine fellowship. Some of the more well-known "academic" programs are (from east-to-west): Columbia, NYU, Brown, Duke, Miami, Cleveland, Rush, barrow, UCSF. Some are neuro, some are combined neuro-ortho. I'm sure I missed a few. There are tons of ortho non-academic ones.
The first thing you have to do is decide why are you doing a fellowship. Most neurosurgeons don’t need to do additional training to be able to do most spine cases. 
If there is a specific skill you want, do some research and find out who is doing that. Ie if you want to do MIS doing a fellowship with Shaffrey won’t help you. Then talk to prior fellows to see if they had good mentor ship or were just left to wander for a year. 
If you only want a “brand name” you are probably wasting a year of your life. Those in spine know who the real fellowships are and those that are an empty suit. Most of the big names, ie mgh are overshadowed by other programs near by. 

If you just want an additional year of training because you are not comfortable with your residency experience I would encourage you to look at the smaller programs that are busy. That is where you will be operating and and not fighting with residents, ie ccf.   Also look at CAST, NASS, AO...they have databases of fellowships.
I studied the program carefully but couldnt find anywhere an option to CHOOSE focus points. There is a possibility to show focus points, but they can not be selected

Is it possible? Please help.

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