Medical Residents: A Dream Career Can Be Yours If You “Choose Sleep”: Dr. Ilene Rosen, President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Now is the time that many medical residents are considering future plans, and hopefully giving thought to a sleep medicine fellowship. The truth is, we need you. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic sleep disease, and now more than ever there is an increasing demand for sleep physicians. As awareness of sleep health increases, millions of new patients will be seeking evaluations from sleep physicians.

Sleep medicine is an intriguing field with long-term growth potential and the opportunity to have a positive effect on the health of a huge population of patients. By diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, you can directly improve patients’ health and quality of life. In addition, because sleep is still a relatively young field, many research questions still exist. These questions can lead to involvement in cutting-edge basic, translational, and clinical research.

As a new sleep medicine physician, you may have the opportunity to practice in diverse settings. Opportunities abound in teaching hospitals, community hospitals, and independent sleep centers, allowing you to cultivate a work schedule that best fits your lifestyle. In addition, you can expect a call schedule that is quite manageable, as trained technologists at an accredited sleep center monitor most overnight sleep studies, and patients often self-administer their own sleep studies at home.

Another great thing about sleep medicine is the constant collaboration. As a sleep specialist, you will work closely with physicians from other disciplines and lead sleep teams of other health care providers – including nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and technologists. You may find many opportunities to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, treating patients in coordinated efforts using the latest technology. I think you will find these collaborations eye-opening and educational.

So, the choice is yours and the options are plentiful to pursue your dream career, just as I did. There are 83 sleep medicine fellowship training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Learn more at

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