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Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has been training future neurologists for more than 30 years. During that time, residents have shown what is important to them in a neurology training program.
The program provides superb clinical training in an academic environment and provides the training needed to become a successful neurologist in academic medicine or private practice.
Program graduates will meet eligibility requirements for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology board examination.
In this four-year categorical program, all residents will complete an ACGME-approved PGY-1 year at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where they complete at least eight months of internal medicine and six weeks of neurology rotations.
The curriculum is designed so that each resident gains expertise in diagnosis and management of patients with a wide range of neurologic disorders. The department includes multiple faculty in all of the subspecialties of neurology. All residents receive training in evidence-based medicine, participate in an active Journal Club and complete a research project with the help of a faculty mentor. All residents present posters at local and national meetings, and many are able to publish during their residency.
In addition, for those applicants interested in more in-depth training, the program allows up to three months of research time during a standard residency, or a year off for research as part of a flexible residency.
The faculty are internationally recognized for quality patient care, clinical teaching and research. Most importantly for residents, training of new neurologists is a priority in the department. The training curriculum is built around active patient-care experiences. These experiences are the intellectual backbone of neurology. Since this process can best be taught by demonstration, the program encourages one-on-one teaching between the faculty and residents.
The high ratio (2:1) of full-time attending teaching faculty to the number of residents allows ample opportunity for one-on-one teaching. Attending physicians are always available to discuss patient-care issues and serve as guides in the process of resident education.
From an educational standpoint, the didactic curriculum is set up to ensure there is teaching on the clinical aspects of neurology, electrophysiology and neuroscience, as well as evidence-based medicine. The department prides itself on the quality of the neurology education provided to medical students, and neurology residents play an active role in medical student education, which they find rewarding.
Learn More about the Residency
Welcome to the Neurology Residency! Under the leadership of Dr. Krishnakutty Sathian, Chair, the Department of Neurology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has enjoyed continued rapid growth over the past years.
The department is composed of approximately 60 people, including faculty physicians, advanced practice providers, faculty with doctorate degrees and faculty members with joint appointments in neurology. This is an exciting time for the department.
What are the strengths of the program?
First, those who visit will notice the collegial environment. The residency is a priority for the department, and all faculty are actively involved in teaching. Program faculty work hard to balance the educational and personal goals of residents with the service requirements of the department. The size of the department is ideal: There are multiple faculty in each of the subspecialties of neurology, yet the group is small enough to remain close-knit so that residents are able to get to know each of the faculty during their residency.
Next, an advantage for the residency is that almost all required rotations are at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. This is the only hospital that the residents cover when they are on call, and a night float system is in place. In the medical center, all neuroscience patient rooms, from the Neuroscience Integrated Care Unit to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, are on the same floor as the resident workroom and call room.
Finally, the Hershey area is a wonderful community that provides excellent schooling, a safe environment and an affordable place to live.
In terms of the structure of the department, there are programs in each of the following areas:
- Neuromuscular disease (including the ALS, MDA and pediatric MDA clinics and an AGCME-approved Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship)
- Epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology (including a Level 4 Epilepsy Center and an ACGME-approved Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship).
- Stroke and vascular neurology (including a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center and an ACGME-approved Vascular Neurology Fellowship)
- Movement disorders (including the Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic)
- Multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology (including the Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Clinic)
- Cognitive and behavioral neurology (neuropsychology)
- General neurology
- Pediatric neurology (housed in the Department of Pediatrics)
- Neuro-ophthalmology (housed in the Department of Ophthalmology)
- Sleep neurology (in collaboration with the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry)
- Neuro-oncology (in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery as part of Penn State Cancer Institute)
- Neurocritical care (in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine)
- Neurorehabilitation at Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital
- Pain medicine (in collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, including an ACGME-accredited Anesthesia/Pain Medicine Fellowship)
- Neuropathology (housed in the Department of Pathology and Department of Neurosurgery)
- Neuroradiology (including an interventional neuroradiology program in collaboration with the Department of Radiology and Department of Neurosurgery)
In terms of research, the department has nationally and internationally renowned basic and clinical science research programs in many of the programs listed above.
Among the key research programs:
- The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) clinic is certified by the ALS Association. It provides outstanding clinical care as well as the opportunity for ALS patients to participate in a variety of research projects.
- Movement disorders researchers have a research program looking at novel imaging methods to identify how Parkinson’s disease affects the brain and whether stem cells can play a role in treatment.
- The multiple sclerosis program is held with staff support from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and also offers clinical trials for patients with multiple sclerosis.
- The stroke program participates actively in diverse research projects and has received ongoing certification from the Joint Commission since 2006. It is co-directed by faculty from the Department of Neurology and the Department of Neurosurgery and has won awards for its comprehensive services and quality outcomes.
For years, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has been recognized with the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, recognizing the use of evidence-based treatment guidelines, best-practice tools and resources in treating stroke patients.
The department’s broad involvement in research provides ample opportunities for residents to become involved in their own research projects.
It is a great time to be part of the Department of Neurology!
Max Lowden, MD
Director, Neurology Residency
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Neurology
The wellness initiative for neurology residents and advanced practice clinicians is aimed to improve the physical, social, and emotional health of Department of Neurology trainees. Its inception in 2018 was supported by Penn State College of Medicine’s Wellness Minigrant, which funded various events organized throughout the year.
To support physical wellbeing, the program organizes activities including:
- Hiking trips
- Zumba classes
- Bowling trips
- Intramural tennis tournaments
- Indoor rock-climbing sessions
To further develop community, the group organizes:
- Monthly potlucks
- Board game/trivia nights
- A trip to HersheyPark
To foster peer support, the group has started a resident-to-resident mentorship program to facilitate academic success, professional growth, and development.
With the support of Pet Therapy volunteers, residents have been afforded the opportunity to take a break from the daily routine and both love and be loved by a canine companion each month.
Additionally, the program has developed a wellness library in the workroom and provides weekly osteopathic manipulative therapy to relieve tension.
This initiative has been effective in improving wellness and reducing burnout.
General Application Information
All applications must be received through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
Applications should be completed by Dec. 1.
The following items must be included in the ERAS application:
- Curriculum vitae
- Personal statement
- Medical school transcripts
- MSPE or dean’s letter
- Letters of recommendation (at least three letters from faculty, with at least one from a neurologist)
- USMLE or COMLEX transcripts
U.S. clinical experience is preferred, but not required.
The program will contact select candidates via email to schedule interviews. Interviews occur on selected Fridays between October and December.
All candidates need to be registered with the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). No positions are offered outside the Match.
International Medical Graduates
The program accepts applications from international medical graduates. The application process is similar to the above; applicants must apply via ERAS and be registered with the NRMP.
Applicants must be either:
- A U.S. citizen
- A permanent resident (green card holder)
- The holder of a J-1 visa sponsored through ECFMG
The institution does not sponsor any other visas.
All international medical graduates must be certified by the ECFMG prior to the Match, but not necessarily prior to applying.
To be considered competitive for the program, international applicants should:
- Have competitive scores on the USMLE. There is no specific cutoff for USMLE scores; however, applicants should have a score of 220 or above to be considered.
- Have U.S. clinical experience in the past two years, with a letter from a U.S. neurologist.
- Have graduated from medical school in the past five years.
- Have successfully completed the Clinical Skills requirement on the USMLE.
- Be able to attain ECFMG certification as a part of their application.
- ACGME milestones
- Quality improvement project
- Research/scholarly activity project
- Annual RITE exam
- Faculty evaluations after every rotation
- Quarterly evaluations of faculty
- Evaluations by students
- Quarterly evaluation by office staff
- Neurology clinical examinations (five by end of residency)
- Biannual and end of residency evaluation of the program
- Quarterly meetings with program director
- Neurology ACGME Milestones
- Attend 75 percent of required conferences: Morbidity and Mortality, Grand Rounds, neurology lectures, Friday neuroradiology lectures, anatomy lectures
- Noon lecture (12:10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays)
- Resident lecture series
- Basic science lecture series
- Pediatric neurology conference
- Neuroradiology conference (Friday mornings)
- Neurology Grand Rounds (Fridays at 1 p.m.)
- Morbidity and Mortality conferences
- Neuromuscular pathology conference
- Thursday conferences
- Patient-based presentations
- Journal Club
- Board review
- Other optional conferences
- Neuroscience weekly seminar series
- Psychiatry weekly grand rounds
- Quality Assurance meetings: EMG, EEG, movement disorder epilepsy
Fellow Honors and Recognitions
Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center accept ongoing nominations for the Exceptional Moments in Teaching award.
The award, given monthly by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment, accepts nominations from College of Medicine students who are invited to submit narratives about faculty members, residents, fellows, nurses or any other educators who challenge them and provide an exceptional learning experience. See more about the award here.
Previous nominees from the Neurology Residency are listed here. Click the + next to a nominee name to read their nominator’s comments.
The annual Resident/Fellow Research Day is held each summer on and around the Penn State Health Milton S. Medical Center campus in Hershey, PA.
The intent of the event is to provide an opportunity for residents and fellows to showcase their research accomplishments to their peers in other clinical departments, as well as their colleagues in the basic sciences.
Previous presentations from the Neurology Residency are listed here.
Previous awards from the Neurology Residency are listed here.
Previous oral and poster presentations from the Neurology Residency are listed here.