Joanna Fong-Isariyawongse, MD, FAES, FAAN

Associate Professor of Neurology


  • Director, Critical Care Continuous EEG Monitoring
  • Consultant, UPMC Sleep Medicine Center
  • Neurology Consultant, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Chair, Neurology Wellness Committee

Biographical Sketch

Joanna Fong-Isariyawongse, MD, joined the Department of Neurology in September 2013. Prior to that, she worked at Cleveland Clinic as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Neurology, specializing in Epilepsy and Sleep Medicine. Her expertise lies in the medical management of patients with epilepsy, including those with medically refractory epilepsy seeking epilepsy surgical evaluation. She is also an expert in critical care EEG and has overseen the continuous critical care EEG monitoring service across multiple UPMC hospital systems, including UPMC Presbyterian, Shadyside, Mercy, Magee Women, Passavant, Altoona, and East.

In addition to her specialization in epilepsy and EEG, Dr. Fong-Isariyawongse possesses exceptional knowledge and clinical skills in sleep medicine, addressing conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and circadian rhythmic sleep disorders.

Beyond her clinical work, Dr. Fong-Isariyawongse is dedicated to sleep health advocacy. With her extensive experience in sleep medicine and neurology, she understands the significant impact of sleep on physical well-being, cognitive function, emotional resilience, and overall quality of life. She is deeply committed to raising awareness and advocating for the importance of sleep health among patients, students, colleagues, and the wider community. Dr. Fong-Isariyawongse excels at bridging the gap between the medical community and the general public, translating complex scientific concepts into accessible language to resonate with diverse audiences. Her engaging communication style and passion for education make her an influential advocate for promoting healthy sleep habits and dispelling myths surrounding sleep health.

Recognized for her exceptional patient care, Dr. Fong-Isariyawongse was honored with UPMC's Excellence in Patient Experience Award in 2020, placing her among the select group of 48 recipients from 7,600 physicians and advanced practice providers in the system. Pittsburgh Magazine has also named her a Best Doctor every year since 2019, further acknowledging her expertise and dedication.

Education & Training

  • Fellow, Cleveland Clinic - Cleveland, Ohio, Sleep Medicine Fellowship
  • Fellow, Cleveland Clinic - Cleveland, Ohio, Epilepsy Fellowship
  • Resident, Cleveland Clinic - Cleveland, Ohio, Neurology
  • Resident, Cleveland Clinic - Cleveland, Ohio, Preliminary Internal Medicine
  • MD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine - Columbus, Ohio, Medicine

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests

  • Clinical: Critical Care EEG and Quantitative EEG 
  • Educational: EEG Curriculum 
  • Advocacy: Sleep Health and Performance

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology:  Neurology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology:  Clinical Neurophysiology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology:  Sleep Medicine

Professional Organization Membership

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Honors & Awards

  • Medical Alumni Society Funding
  • Neurology Clerkship Award
  • American Neurological Association Travel Award
  • Excellence in Patient Experience Award – Top UPMC Provider
  • Pittsburgh Magazine “Best Doctors”

Selected Publications

Fong JS, Hantus S, Erbayat Altay E, Tuxhorn I. De novo sustained refractory status epilepticus and encephalopathy: a retrospective case series. J Child Neurol. 2010 Dec;25(12):1535-8. doi: 10.1177/0883073810376442. PMID: 21148451.

Joanna S. Fong, Lara Jehi, Imad Najm, Richard A. Prayson, William Bingaman.  Surgical Outcome and Prognostic Factors Following Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Surgery in Patients with Non-lesional MRI.  Epilepsia 2011 Aug;52(8):1393-401.

Joanna S. Fong, Andreas V. Alexopoulos, William E. Bingaman, Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, Richard A. Prayson.  Pathological Findings Associated with Invasive EEG Monitoring for Medically Intractable Epilepsy.  Am J Clin Pathol 2012 Oct;138(4):506-510.  

Joanna S. Fong, Zahreddin Alsheikhtaha, Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer. Chapter 31: Sleep and Epilepsy. Review of Sleep Medicine. Saunders (Elsevier Inc.), Philadelphia, PA (2011).

Joanna S. Fong, Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer. Chapter: Periodic Limb Movement in Sleep (PLMS). Encyclopedia of Neurological Sciences 2nd edition. Elsevier Inc, Oxford University Press, USA (2013).