Curriculum | Neurosurgery Residency
Diversity in training is essential to comprehensive resident education, a strength of the Neurosurgery Residency Program at the University of Maryland. The program benefits from access to several exceptional medical institutions within Baltimore as well as nearby Mid-Atlantic resources such as the N.I.H. and D.C. institutions. Such resources offer a variety of training opportunities across facilities, subspecialties, and patient populations.
Throughout the 7 years residents spend with us, they train in at least 5 institutions with additional sites available for elective experiences:
- University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC): This is our home base where residents establish a foundation in neurosurgery, experience academic growth, and develop expertise
- University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center (STC): This integrated hospital within UMMC offers trainees a unique experience in trauma. Shock Trauma is the premier trauma center in Maryland and is lauded as a national model for excellence
- Baltimore VA Medical Center: Residents rotate through the Baltimore VA gaining valuable training. Chief residents learn to book, treat, and follow their own neurosurgical patients
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC): A rotation at GBMC allows our trainees to be the only resident on a busy private practice neurosurgery service affording them valuable insight and one-on-one training
- Johns Hopkins Hospital: Through our partnership with John Hopkins, our residents contribute to a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgery service, fostering collaboration
Residents are supported by advanced practice providers at the three core rotation sites, UMMC, STC, and the VA.
- Neurology: Interns (PGY-1) rotate with our colleagues in Neurology, learning the neurological examination and the diagnosis and management of neurological disease
- Neurocritical Care: Interns (PGY-1) learn to manage patients in the Neurological ICU from a holistic and systems perspective
- Neuropathology: Residents (PGY-3) learn to assess and diagnose histological specimens provided by neurosurgery and other services
- Neurointerventional Radiology: Residents (PGY-4) serve as fellows assisting in all aspects of care, from cerebral and spinal angiograms, to mechanical thrombectomy and aneurysm/vascular malformation embolization
- Neurotrauma: Residents (PGY-3) take the lead on the Trauma Neurosurgery service at STC, managing cranial and spine trauma
- Pediatric Neurosurgery: Residents (PGY-4) collaborate with trainees and faculty at Johns Hopkins in caring for pediatric neurosurgical patients
Residents enjoy a manageable call system that minimizes redundancy. PGY-1s cover weekend days every other weekend, with two golden weekends a month. PGY-2s cover weekend nights every other weekend, with two golden weekends a month. PGY-3s cover night float during the week and approximately one weekend of day trauma neurosurgery a month. PGY-4s cover less than one weekend of day trauma neurosurgery a month. PGY-5s and PGY-6s share chief call, each covering every fourth day and one weekend a month. PGY-7 is free of call.
A total of 18 months of elective time is scheduled into this residency program. Starting in the 2023-2024 academic year, the 12-month elective period will occur during PGY-7. This 12-month period of elective time is completely protected from call. Residents can utilize their 12-month elective period for several purposes. They can complete a clinical fellowship at the University of Maryland or at another institution. This ensures eligibility to complete a CAST-accredited fellowship. They can conduct research at any institution. Residents may also choose to pursue an advanced degree at any institution. Faculty guidance and approval is required.
Starting in the 2021-2022 academic year, a transition in the curriculum will allow for shifting the 12-month elective period from PGY-5 to PGY-7. Applications for CAST-accreditation for fellowships available to residents at the University of Maryland are pending approval for Neurocritical Care, Endovascular Neurosurgery, Spine Surgery, and Neuro-Oncology. Residents may choose to complete these fellowships in PGY-7 at the University of Maryland, or may choose to pursue clinical, research, or education opportunities at other approved institutions.
Starting as a PGY-1, residents identify a key mentor among the neurosurgery faculty. PGY-1s are required to submit a grant/award application, abstract, or first author manuscript with the help of this mentor. Any research accepted for an oral presentation at a national meeting will have full support for travel and other expenses. As resident interests evolve, mentors can be changed. Residents are encouraged throughout their training to engage in scholarly activity with their mentors. These relationships are valuable throughout training and neurosurgery careers.
Conferences and Enrichment
Didactic teaching is carried out in a wide variety of weekly conferences for neurosurgery residents, faculty, and medical students. They focus on a broad range of neurosurgical topics, as well as topics from other disciplines, promoting interdepartmental collaboration among providers.
Faculty Case Conference: Thursdays, 7:00am - 7:30am
This conference is led by a neurosurgery faculty member on a rotating basis with a focus on case analysis and in-depth discussion on neurosurgical conditions and treatments.
Neurosurgery Grand Rounds: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30am - 8:30am
The Department of Neurosurgery Grand Rounds series provides opportunity for didactic teaching and discussion on relevant topics and updates in the field. Led by neurosurgery residents, faculty, medical students, and guest speakers, clinical areas covered include but are not limited to neurophysiology, neuroradiology, neurology, cerebrovascular surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, neurotrauma, tumor, and spine. Several other topics focus on professional development such as general critical care, bedside manner, and board certification. Both the medical and professional content covered should be incorporated in attendees' clinical practice to improve patient care and practitioner expertise.
Mortality and Morbidity (M&M) Conference: 4th Thursdays, 7:30am - 8:30am
Individual cases and accompanying complications are chosen by the Quality Assurance Officer, Bizhan Aarabi, M.D., and the neurosurgery faculty from services across UMMC, Shock Trauma, and the VA. The conference consists of a relevant clinical summary, identifying the complication, a short-referenced presentation on the topic, and outlining a management plan to prevent the complication in the future. In addition to neurosurgery faculty and residents, representatives from the offices of Quality Assurance, neuropathology, and neuroradiology attend.
Journal Club: Bimonthly, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
This conference brings residents together to critically evaluate scholarly journal articles written about various neurosurgical conditions. In-depth analysis and discussion amongst the residents are the primary focus of this conference. At least 1 to 2 faculty members are present to answer questions and foster discussion.
Henderson Lecture: Annually, Spring
This annual lecture is presented by an outstanding neurosurgeon chosen by the residents and faculty during a selection process. The date of the lecture is determined by the chosen speaker. This lecture is funded by a benefactor in honor of the deceased neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles M. Henderson, who practiced in Baltimore for 26 years. Dr. Henderson was the first president of the Maryland Neurosurgical Society and a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgery, the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society.
Ibrahimi Lecture: Annually, Fall
The annual Ibrahimi Lecture is to honor the memory of David Ibrahimi, MD, who completed his neurosurgical residency at University of Maryland in 2012 and practiced with the Department of Neurosurgery before passing in 2017. The lecture focuses on his specialty of spine surgery.
Mock Oral Boards: Biannualy
Mock oral boards are conducted to prepare residents for the American Board of Neurological Surgery Oral Examination (oral boards), which are taken following residency.
American Board of Neurological Surgery Primary Written Exam: Annually
The residency program sponsors residents to take the primary written exam starting in PGY-1. Residents are required to pass the exam prior to completing residency.
American Board of Neurological Surgery Neuroanatomy Exam: Annually for PGY-2
Residents take the new neuroanatomy exam in the fall of PGY-2. The program sponsors and supports residents in preparing for the exam.
Stryker-MedStar Neuroanatomy Workshop: Annually
The neuroanatomy workshop is held in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Hospital neurosurgery residency program. Faculty lead various dissection workstations which residents can explore throughout the day.
Residents are encouraged to engage in research starting PGY-1. Residents of any year are fully supported to attend conferences for oral presentations. Chief residents are supported to attend the AANS and CNS national meetings.