Author(s): Pedram Maleknia (1); Kyle Zappi (2)
(1) School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
(2) School of Medicine, Weill Cornell University, New York, NY, USA
Date Submitted: 10 January 2021
Date Published: 28 January 2022
The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery Residency is a highly competitive, 7-year program situated in the heart of downtown Birmingham.[1-2] This program consists of 21 residents and is committed to teaching residents the clinical, surgical and professional capabilities needed to become successful physicians. Through a curriculum based upon camaraderie, growth, and compassion, graduating residents go on to careers in academic medicine, professorships, and private institutions, many of whom taking on leadership roles.
A distinguishing feature of the UAB Department of Neurosurgery is the natural camaraderie among the residents. All residents annually compete in the Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament held in Central Park, New York during the month of June, and frequently travel to national CNS, AANS, and SNS section meetings for continued medical education and presentations on their most recent research projects. The program readily supports academic travel and reimbursement for expenses is commonly given. In addition, participation in The Society of Neurological Surgeons’ “Boot Camp Courses” is highly recommended to help accelerate the development of early clinical skills of the residents.
Utilizing didactic teaching, self-directed learning, computer-based education, anatomic cadaveric dissection, and apprentice experiences the curriculum is centered upon the six ACGME core competencies (practice-based learning and improvement, patient care and procedural skills, systems-based practice, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism).[1, 4-5] The curriculum aims to expose and teach residents about the 7 major sub-speciality areas within neurosurgery through this diverse, non-monotonous form of direction.[3,6] The breakdown for each post-graduate year is shown in the table below:
Several important aspects to consider regarding the curriculum include Medical Evidence-Based interpretation of scientific literature, Resident-Directed Research Protocols, and Evidence-Based Development of Neurosurgical Clinical Guidelines. Monthly medical evidence conferences and resident-led journal clubs are headed by Dr. Beverly Walters, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS. This initiative was instituted to help residents study experimental design, study bias, validation of assessment, common error types, and introductory statistical assessment. Through this plan of action, residents use the skills learned here to good use in their self-directed research protocols. Many residents are able to present their current and past research at conferences across the nation. Dr. Andrew Hale, a PGY-1 Neurosurgical Resident, recently was awarded the Shulman Award for best overall paper at the 2021 AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery Annual Meeting.[6-7]
Furthermore, in order to culminate and celebrate the resident-led research projects, the department instituted the Annual Galbraith Research Symposium. This symposium, named after Dr. James Garber Galbraith, who in 1954 established the Division of Neurosurgery within the Department of Surgery, is a two-day program aimed to help further foster the culture of growth of compassionate care that Dr. Galbraith helped introduce 67 years ago.
The Department of Neurosurgery also offers four, world renowned fellowships. The Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellowship is under the direction of Dr. Mark R. Harrigan, the Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship is under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Blount, and the Radiosurgery and Stereotactic and Functional Fellowships are both under the direction of Dr. Barton L. Guthrie.
The UAB Neurosurgery Residency participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). To apply, three letters of recommendation are required, with one of these letters needing to be from the program director of your home institution.
For more information regarding the UAB Neurosurgery Residency program, you may contact the Residency Coordinator Ms. Debbie Mielke (email@example.com) or the Residency Program Director Dr. Curtis Rozzelle (Curtis.Rozzelle@childrensal.org).[1-2,5]
Outline of each Post-Graduate Year (PGY) for Neurosurgical Residents
1. Gorelick K. Residency - School of Medicine - Neurosurgery | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurosurgery/education/residency
2. Yeatts M. How to Apply - School of Medicine - Neurosurgery | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurosurgery/education/residency/how-to-apply
3. Current Residents - School of Medicine - Neurosurgery | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurosurgery/education/residency/current-residents
4. Team NK. Exploring the ACGME Core Competencies (Part 1 of 7). NEJM Knowledge+. Published June 2, 2016. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://knowledgeplus.nejm.org/blog/exploring-acgme-core-competencies/
5. Furgerson T. Birmingham - School of Medicine | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/home/about/birmingham
6. Yeatts M. Curriculum - School of Medicine - Neurosurgery | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurosurgery/education/residency/curriculum
7. 2021_Peds_Awards.pdf. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.aans.org/-/media/Files/AANS/Peds/2021_Peds_Awards.ashx?la=en&hash=2EA83707DADB923F8AAC1380D0E708B84888F587
8. Gorelick K. Fellowships - School of Medicine - Neurosurgery | UAB. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurosurgery/education/fellowship
Conflicts of Interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest concerning the material or methods used to develop this manuscript.
Acknowledgements: No acknowledgements
Michael W. Kortz, MBA
Brain & Spine Report
Medical Student Neurosurgery Training Center