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Graduates of Penn State’s Neurology Residency will meet eligibility requirements for the American Board of Psychiatry and ACGME. 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 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 in peer-reviewed journals during their residency.
In addition, for those applicants interested in more in-depth training, the program allows research time during a standard residency as part of the longitudinal research track, or a year off for research as part of a flexible residency.
Faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized for quality patient care, clinical teaching and research. The training curriculum is built around active patient-care experiences. These experiences are the intellectual backbone of neurology. 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, and neurology residents play an active role in medical student education, which they find rewarding.
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 (Stroke) 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)
Learn More about the Residency
Welcome to the Neurology Residency! Under the leadership of chair Dr. Krishnakutty Sathian, 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.
Those who explore the program will notice the collegial environment. Faculty members are actively involved in teaching and work hard to balance the educational and personal goals of residents with the service requirements of the department. 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 faculty member during their residency.
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.
The following are some highlights of the residency program in terms of curriculum and evaluation tools that have been developed:
- Six-week “neurology immersion” curriculum for the neurology interns: First-year neurology residents spend six weeks rotating in the neurology consult service, general service and stroke service, with goal to learn the neurologic exam and obtain exposure on localization skills and clinical skills. This experience has been praised by residents and helps identify any struggles early in residency.
- Integrated longitudinal resident research track: Residents who are accepted have the opportunity to apply for grants under the mentorship of NIH-funded researchers and participate in the Physician Scientist Training Program curriculum. Enrollment starts in early second year, and residents may spend up to two years doing their project and graduating on time.
- A dedicated longitudinal resident continuity clinic block rotation: Residents spend four half-days per week in resident clinic every five weeks. This rotation allows a much more realistic clinic schedule for the residents that mirrors an attending schedule; continued supervision by faculty; avoidance of unnecessary inpatient handoffs; and much more relaxed dedicated outpatient learning environment.
- Two-week required telehealth rotation: In this program, all residents and fellows in the program can gain exposure to telemedicine (telestroke and tele-ALS). Trainees also gain experience in documentation, “webside” manners and simulation in telehealth.
- A dual “resident-driven” and “department-driven” wellness program:
In terms of research, the department has nationally and internationally renowned basic and clinical science research programs in many areas. The department’s broad involvement in research provides ample opportunities for residents to become involved in their own research projects.
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.
In conclusion, I want to thank you for the opportunity to present our residency program. I extend an invitation to you to learn more and see our great residency program in action.
Max Lowden, MD, FAAN
Director, Neurology Residency
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Neurology
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.
Penn State Health
Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to improve health through patient care, research, education and community outreach.
In December 2017, the system partnered with Highmark Health to facilitate creation of a value-based, community care network in the region. The shared goal of Highmark and Penn State Health is to ensure patients in the community are within:
- 10 minutes of a Penn State Health primary care provider
- 20 minutes of Penn State Health specialty care
- 30 minutes of a Penn State Health acute care facility
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Dr., Hershey, Pa., 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)
- The health system’s 548-bed flagship teaching and research hospital
- The only medical facility in Pennsylvania accredited as both an adult and a pediatric Level I (highest-level) trauma center
- Dedicated surgical, neuroscience, cardiovascular, trauma and medical intensive care units
- Accredited Life Lion critical-care transport providing more than 1,100 helicopter and approximately 750 ground ambulance transports per year
- More than 1,300 faculty members and more than 650 residents and fellows
- Approximately 28,500 admissions, 75,000 emergency department visits, 1.1 million outpatient visits and 32,000 surgical procedures annually
- Designated as a Magnet hospital three times
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital
600 University Dr., Hershey, Pa. 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)
- A five-story, 263,000-square-foot-facility built in 2013
- Three-floor expansion opened in November 2020
- Level IV (highest-level) neonatal intensive care unit
- Level I (highest-level) pediatric trauma center designation
- Dedicated pediatric operating rooms
- More than 150,000 pediatric outpatient visits and approximately 5,000 pediatric patient discharges annually
Welcome to Hershey
More About Hershey
Interested in learning more about living and working in Hershey, Pa.? See details here:
Wellness, including emotional, spiritual, social and physical health, is a crucial component to training and to becoming a professional, compassionate and resilient physician. Self-care is a skill which must be continually practiced and reinforced. Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health are committed to addressing wellness among residents and fellows, with multiple resources readily available.
Graduate medical education resources
The wellness initiative for neurology residents is aimed to improve the physical, social, and emotional health of Department of Neurology trainees.
To support physical well-being, the program organizes activities that are resident-driven and program-driven, 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
- Team-building exercises
- A trip to HersheyPark
- Axe throwing
- Apple picking
- Group volunteer activity at Ronald McDonald House
For emotional and social well-being, the group hosts:
- Monthly wellness lectures/workshops
- Art workshop
- Coloring while watching comedies
To foster peer support, the group has started a resident-to-resident mentorship program to facilitate academic success, professional growth and development. The program also developed a peer-to-peer “kudos” program, in which trainees praise each other anonymously and announce comments on monthly wellness meetings.
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.
Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine celebrate, embrace and support the diversity of all patients, faculty, staff, students and trainees.
Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In keeping with this, Penn State Health has an active Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with various programs, networks and resource groups, including:
- Regular talks and lectures on diversity, equity and inclusion
- Periodic town halls on topics such as eradicating racism and creating a culture of inclusiveness
- An allyship support group
- Many affinity resource network groups, including:
- Disability Affinity Resource Network Group
- Group on Women in Medicine and Science
- Interfaith Affinity Resource Network Group
- LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Resource Network Group
- Military/Veterans Affinity Resource Network Group
- Multicultural Affinity Resource Network Group
- A new organization specifically for trainees, the Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows
Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education
The vision at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health is to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to provide culturally excellent health care and research for an increasingly diverse U.S. population. The Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education was formed to help meet that goal.
Office for a Respectful Learning Environment
In addition, the institution does not tolerate discrimination, biases, microaggression, harassment or learner mistreatment of any kind, and any concerns are immediately addressed by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.
All residents must complete do the following during their training:
- Show consistent progress on all ACGME milestones and core competencies
- Complete a quality improvement project
- Participate and be productive in research/scholarly activity project
- Pass the annual RITE exam
- Complete faculty evaluations after every rotation
- Complete evaluations of rotations as indicated
- Take part in quarterly evaluation by office staff
- Pass ABPN clinical examinations (five by end of residency)
- Complete a biannual and end-of-residency evaluation of the program
- Participate in quarterly meetings with program director
- Complete and maintain case logs and procedure logs in New Innovations
- Attend 75 percent of required conferences: Morbidity and Mortality, Grand Rounds, neurology lectures, Friday neuroradiology lectures, neurology noon lectures and morning report
- Neurology noon lecture (12:10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays)
- Neuroradiology/cerebrovascular conference (8 a.m. Fridays)
- Neurology Grand Rounds (noon Fridays)
- Morbidity and Mortality conferences (quarterly)
- Neuromuscular (EMG) quality conference (monthly)
- Epilepsy (EEG) quality conference
- Morning report (8 to 8:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays
Resident 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.