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Education-oriented Faculty

Access resources, answers to FAQs, sample templates, and tools specific to Program Directors/Coordinators, Clerkship Directors/Coordinators, Fellowship Directors, Neuroscience Course Directors, and Senior/Junior Faculty.

Tools and Resources

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME): Tools to help with milestones

Simply defined, a milestone is a significant point in development. For accreditation purposes, the Milestones are competency-based developmental outcomes (e.g., knowledge, skills, attitudes, and performance) that can be demonstrated progressively by residents and fellows from the beginning of their education through graduation to the unsupervised practice of their specialties.

Evaluating Your Residents and Residency Programs: Samples

View sample forms compiled by peers that can be used to evaluate your residents/residency programs. These samples are all non-AAN resources.

Course Development

Getting Started

Improving Your Course

Career Resources

Career Development

Lecture from the 2014 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting On Demand: Career Development for Clinician Educators

This 3-part video focuses on planning and execution, working with your chair, and vignettes for how to get started.

No CME is provided for viewing this video. This is for informational/teaching purposes only.

FAQs

How to organize a basic science course
How to organize a neurology residency program
How to organize a neurology clerkship

Spotlight

Hear from noteworthy neurology colleagues who do exceptional work and exude high levels of dedication to neurology. A new medical student, resident, fellow, coordinator, or director is featured each month.

Residents & Fellows
Elizabeth Joe, MD
University of Southern California/LAC+USC Medical Center
Specialty: Behavioral Neurology

What attracted you to neurology?
I knew about the field of neurology from an early age. My grandfather had myasthenia gravis and wore a pirate eyepatch for diplopia, which he would periodically switch from one eye to the other to see if anyone was paying attention. When I started medical school, I realized I really liked the problem-solving nature of localizing the lesion, so it seemed like a good fit. I love that in neurology, with a good exam, we can predict what the MRI will show. It's like having a superpower.

Do you have a neurology mentor? If so, who and how have they mentored you?
I have been fortunate to work with Dr. Helena Chui throughout residency and have learned so much from her especially when she attended on our county hospital consult service. She inspired me to go into behavioral neurology, and I am staying at USC this year for fellowship working with her as well as Dr. John Ringman, who has been my mentor on a research project during residency. I have also learned so much about how to be a compassionate doctor even in difficult situations from all of our stroke/critical care faculty especially Dr. Nerses Sanossian and Dr. Natasha Renda.

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to neurological teaching, education, and/or community service?
I served as education chief resident during my final year of residency, leading an effort to assess and restructure our curriculum for resident didactics and organizing our preparation for the RITE exam. This spring I also served on an AAN workgroup to design a survey for graduating residents focusing on future plans and training gaps.

Additional accomplishments:
Young Investigator Award, Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Disease Family Conference 2017
AAN Resident Scholarship to the Annual Meeting 2017
Ethel and Reuben Russman Prize in Geriatrics 2013

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Neurology has a reputation in medicine as being a purely diagnostic specialty, but actually, most of what we see on an everyday basis either already have treatments available or are the subject of a lot of exciting research going on right now. Also, don't be intimidated by the neuroanatomy, you just learn it one piece at a time as you take care of patients.


Brittany Lauren Brand, MD, MS Ed
Children's Hospital New Orleans
Specialty Interest: Child Neurology, Sports Neurology

What attracted you to neurology? 
I initially started off in categorical pediatrics. But once I rotated through child neurology, I loved the wide variety of pathology. But even more so, the patients are great. We may not have the ability to cure their ailments, we can help optimize their quality of life.

Do you have a neurology mentor? If so, who and how have they mentored you?
Dr. Ann Tilton has been a mentor for me. She has so much patience and is very in tune with her patients' needs. No matter how difficult the patient or family may be, they all deserve your smile and respect.

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to neurological teaching, education, and/or community service? 
I participated as a medical staff member and camp counselor at the Muscular Dystrophy Association camp this past summer (at Camp Starlite). It was one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I was able to see the patients I was treating in clinic be able to live like a normal child without worries of judgment. They reminded me that they are just kids trying to live their lives to the fullest.

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
You don't have to go out seeking neurology. Neurology will definitely find its way to you. Major keys to a neurologist: listen and watch. You can probably figure out the diagnosis when the patient walks in the room and speaks to you.


Sahil Gupta, MD
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Specialty: Pain Medicine

What attracted you to neurology? I remember during medical school, I was fascinated by the complexity of how the brain worked. Localization of a lesion seemed more like a puzzle-solving exercise. Also, doing my medical school in India, where investigations and resources came at a premium, neurology was the only specialty where I can go in the exam room with a reflex hammer and come out with a diagnosis.

Do you have a neurology mentor? If so, who and how have they mentored you?

Yes. I spent a year doing research under Dr. Weinstock-Guttman at University at Buffalo. It was a privilege to work under her guidance. Her continued passion towards neurology and the immense dedication towards research and the pursuit of the unknown was always inspiring. Additionally, Dr. Khurram Bashir, who serves as the program director for neurology at University of Alabama at Birmingham, has played a very important role in my training. His contribution to resident education at my institution and the wealth of knowledge he possesses has made me a better clinician in every respect.

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to neurological teaching, education, and/or community service?

Teaching neurology to medical students has always been a very deliberate effort. As clichéd as it may sound, I sincerely believe that there is something that can be learned from every patient and I ensure the medical students accompanying me learn something from each one of the patients they interact with. I also participated in developing the stroke simulation lab for the medical students and future residents. 

Additionally, I have also been involved in weekly charity clinics at the Cooper Green clinic, which caters to the less fortunate and patients with no health insurance. It's been one of the most fulfilling aspect of my job to make a real difference in the lives of the patients I see at that clinic.

Additional Accomplishments:

  • Recipient of scholarship from the National Resident Scholar's Program, 2016
  • Award for best poster and travel scholarship, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, 2016
  • Award for best student in all round performance in medical school, 2010

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?

Utilize every resource available to you to the fullest. Try to learn from every patient, resident, and attending you come in contact with. Master the fundamentals and neurology will feel like a cakewalk for you. History, physical exam, and a comprehensive understanding of neuroanatomy will help you understand every neurological pathology. Lastly, be compassionate and empathetic as it is important to be a good person as well a good doctor.


Ashhar Ali Headshot
Ashhar Ali, DO
Cleveland Clinic
Specialty: Headache

What attracted you to neurology?
As a sophomore in college, I was exposed to a series of neuroscience courses and quickly became fascinated with the intricacies of brain. I was particularly intrigued to learn that each millimeter of real estate played a specific function, distinguishing it from any other organ. Exposure to the science behind the medicine served as my initial attraction. Additionally, I had learned quickly during medical school clerkships that clinicians in other disciplines are relatively unfamiliar with Neurological disease, and hence, Neurologists are held in high value given their area of expertise.

Do you have a neurology mentor? If so, who and how have they mentored you?
Many individuals have played a key role. Dr. MaryAnn Mays (residency program director) and Dr. Jennifer Kriegler (fellowship program director) have of course played a central role in my training. Additionally, Dr. Yuebing Li (Cleveland Clinic, Neuromuscular Staff) has inspired me to critically think about cases, and, dedicate time and energy toward teaching. His insights into Neurological disease coupled with his genuine interest in resident education and training is both humbling and admirable. Dr. Thomas Gretter (Cleveland Clinic, General Neurology) had closely taken me under his shade of experience and wisdom. The clinical independence he would allow me, even as a young trainee, has developed me into a better clinician.

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to neurological teaching, education, and/or community service?
During my final year of residency, I served as the clerkship liaison for rotating medical students from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and was appointed Clinical Instructor of Medicine with these responsibilities. Additionally, in an effort to inspire pre-clinical medical students toward a career in Neurology, under the guidance of Dr. Kerry Levin (Chairman), I was involved in arranging the first inpatient clinical experience for 1st year medical students at the Cleveland Clinic. Moreover, during years 3 and 4 of residency, I developed an in-depth clinical Neuroanatomy lecture series tailored toward fellow residents. These interactive sessions were delivered on a bi-weekly or monthly basis as a part of resident didactics, and have been well-received.

Additional Accomplishments: 

  • Trainee Teacher of the Year (Cleveland Clinic, 2015-2016
  • Cleveland Clinic GME Excellence in Teaching Award (Cleveland Clinic, 2015-2016
  • "Frontiers in Headache Research Scholarship" Recipient (American Headache Society, 2016)

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Take full advantage of the gems that are hidden within your respective programs. There are stellar models and mentors at each institution- learn to appreciate them, and absorb every ounce of knowledge and wisdom they are willing to share with you.


Justin V. Chandler, MD
Justin V. Chandler, MD
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Specialty Interest:
Neurovascular/Stroke

What attracted you to neurology?
Initially I was all about pediatric orthopedic surgery. However, after the exceptional instruction of Dr. David Renner during our neuroscience course at the University of Utah and his recommendation that I at least consider neurology, I was privileged to work with Dr. Lauren Schrock in her movement disorders clinic. At that point not only did I realize that the neurological examination of a patient enabled me to use my hands, but revealed localization, pathophysiology, and diagnosis. Then, a 64-year-old man with essential tremor came into our clinic. He could not write his name or drink a glass of water. In fact, he hadn't been to the grocery store for nearly 10 years (knocked several jars of pickles to the floor reaching for them). We saw and discussed his frustration, embarrassment, and the disability. This was quickly followed by DBS placement and programming and I witnessed this grown 64-year-old man write his name for the first time in years, rest a cold glass of water to his lips, and shared in his tears of joy and gratitude. After that, the decision was easy. Neurology is really about life and being able to experience it and help others through it. As a physician…nothing is better.

Do you have a neurology mentor?
Yes. First it was Dr. David Roman Renner. He assembled the kindling and struck the match. I will be forever indebted to Dr. Jozefowicz. He fanned the flame, taught me how to control and manage it, and has been the personification of academic neurological education. He has shown me how to teach, expected me to teach, and pushed me to teach medical students, fellow residents, the community, and most importantly our patients and their families. In the process he has instilled the principles of humanity and welded them to my daily practice and treatment of others. Drs. Robert Gross, Robert Holloway, Irene Richard, and Nimish Mohile have been inspirational and essential in helping me construct future career goals.

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to neurological teaching, education, and/or community service?
Teaching neurology is something that great neurologists just do. They do it on rounds, with patients, at the bedside, with their staff, and with the medical students and physicians who consult them. I have made it a goal to teach something with each personal interaction I am a part of.

Additionally, I was given the opportunity to be an instructor in the neuroscience course for the second year medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and again at the Jagielloinian University School of Medicine in Krakow Poland.

I have flown in Life Flight helicopters to outlining hospitals in Western, NY, and given stroke lectures regarding assessment, management, and current therapies to both emergency medical responders and the community.

I have been a guest lecturer in our neuromedical ICU regarding post-stroke care.

Furthermore, I started an ambulatory neurology LP clinic to provided early exposure and teaching of the indications and techniques of performing successful LPs for our residents.

Additional Accomplishments:

  • Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism in Medicine. Awarded by the 3rd year medical school class for excellence in clinical teaching and humanism.
  • 2016 recipient of the Class of 1990 Resident Teaching Award. Awarded by the graduating 4th year medical students at commencement; the Class of 1990 Resident Teaching Award is given to one URMC resident that shows exceptional commitment, skill, and excellence in medical student education.
  • ICARE Gold Star Award. Awarded by Patients and Hospital Administration for consistently demonstrating Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence in patient care.
  • Accomplishments I actually feel right talking about. . . husband and father of three beautiful daughters!!

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Do it. Choose neurology. You will work with your hands, you will use your brilliant mind, you will continue to be challenged, and you will be surround by a profession of the best and most caring people in the world. In Neurology you will make a difference. You will help others. You will matter to others. Put away your cell phones and your distractions. Ask questions, don't let the fear of failure paralyze your participation. Engage fully in your education. Don't waste your time trying to "find yourself," create yourself. Become something and become something important to others.

Clerkship, Residency Program & Fellowship Directors
Vicki Shanker, MD
Vicki Shanker, MD
Program Director, Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Specialty: Movement Disorders

What attracted you to neurology and your subspecialty?
I was a psychology major at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. At the time, I thought I would be a psychiatrist. After college, I took a position as an epilepsy research assistant with Michael Sperling, who is now at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia. He was the first person who pointed out to me that all the classes I selected in my major were neurology related. I had an amazing experience working with Dr. Sperling and Dr. Joseph Sirven, who was a fellow at the time. I entered medical school knowing I would be a neurologist. 

Prior to medical school, I trained in many styles of dance and I think my background as a competitive dancer made me attune to observing the ways people move. I began to work on dystonia research with Dr. Saunders-Pullman and Dr. Bressman at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York between my first and second year of medical school. I was inspired by these women who are outstanding role models in both academics and bedside manner. I continued to work with them throughout residency in both the research and clinical settings. Clinically, I enjoyed the long-term relationships that developed between a movement clinician and the patients. Movement disorders was a natural fit for me.

How did you decide on your career path?
I always enjoyed teaching students and peers in residency, but it was not until I had the opportunity to serve as chief resident that I learned how much I enjoyed the administrative aspect of it. I had the opportunity to take a new program and help build it from the ground up. Working as a program director, I am able to tap into my strengths of organization, creativity, and problem solving. Program directors put in long hours
 
How have you contributed to neurology?
I have had the opportunity to work as an assistant Program Director and then Program Director since fellowship. I am the Medical Student Site Director for the neurology rotation. I have been privileged to be part of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Movement Disorder group, which is a National Parkinson Disease Center of Excellence, and Bachmann Strauss Dystonia Center of Excellence where I have the opportunity to train Movement Disorder fellows, participate in clinical research, and clinical trials. During my time here, I have been able to mentor several research projects and contribute to the Neurology literature. This year, I first authored an article on tremor and a chapter on dystonia for Continuum®. I have been the co-director of an annual “Advance in Movement Disorder” course for neurologists in New York City. I have also been the course director of the “Approach to the Shaky Patient” at the AAN annual meeting. Recently, I was appointed to the AAN Conference Subcommittee.
 
Innovative academic contributions:
  • Serve on the group of Clinical Skills Examination Training (CSET) Workgroup at the AAN, which developed a teaching tool to instruct faculty on how to assess residents using the NEX (Neurology Examination) documents.
  • Developed an assessment/training methods to improve chart documentation
  • Created a milestone assessment form that is used in consults/clinic to assess resident work
  • Serve on faculty development committee at Mount Sinai and we run a full day program annually. Last year, I was on the committee that selected the key note speakers. I am co-chair of Mount Sinai's Grand Rounds
  • I have a faculty development series that I run for the faculty in the summer. I also do workshops with the residents on “Teaching to Teach.” I have mentored two trainees (a resident and a fellow) who were selected to attend the Program for Postgraduate Trainees: Future Academic Clinician Educators at Harvard
  • We created a Team Case Conference which places medical student, residents, fellows, and faculty in mixed teams (1-2 of each on a team) to solve a case from the literature (developing a localization, ddx). The PGY2 resident serves as the spokesperson
  • We created a research mentorship program that has culminated in 100 percent of our trainees presenting in meetings and/or publications

Additional accomplishments:
In addition to the AAN Program Director Award, I received the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award from the ACGME last year. I am also proud to receive from Mount Sinai the Cullman Family Award for Excellence in Physician Communication for scoring in the top one percent of physicians across the country on the Medicare survey.

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
We are so privileged to live during a time where neurologists can make real change in a person's disease course and quality of life. The opportunities for a neurologist are vast and given the wide array of subspecialties and practice settings, can meet the needs of many different personality types. I always tell students to try to get exposure to the consultative neurology service. If they love the process of localization and differential diagnosis, then neurology is for them. 


 

Raghav Govindarajan, MD
Raghav Govindarajan, MD
Clerkship Director, University of Missouri-Columbia
Specialty:
Neurology/Neuromuscular Medicine

What attracted you to neurology and your subspecialty?
For as far as I can remember I always wanted to be a surgeon. But soon after entering medical school, I realized I liked the intricacies of brain and nervous system. The pathways, decussations, tracts, columns, horns-and most of all, localization-won me over. As a child, I spent many hours reading about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and with neurology I could finally be like my childhood hero and put different clues together (localization) and identify the villain (disease) and save the day. Perhaps I felt that one day I could be like one of those physicians with exotic knowledge of the brain and nervous system who live in the rarified stratosphere.

How did you decide on your career path?
I enjoy teaching students. Many of my family members were teachers and we have a rich tradition of being teachers/mentors in my family. Further, my interest in motor neuron diseases and finding biomarkers for their early identification and progression is something I am passionate about, so academic neurology was a natural and easy choice for me.

How have you contributed to Neurology?
Teaching: I was able to build a robust four-week neurology clerkship curriculum (details below) in addition to creating innovative changes to our SIGN chapter by integrating the SIGN to the clerkship and offering year around didactics, workshops, and grass roots advocacy activities (example: this SIGN chapter is raising funds and participating in ALS walk). This has created significant enthusiasm among students and we have a record number of students sign up and participate in SIGN chapter activities (highest in the last 10 years). 
Advocacy: As a graduate of the Palatucci Advocate Leadership Forum, I have advocated for neurologists and our patients both nationally and locally. As the president elect of Boone County Medical Society, I drafted a resolution to get fair reimbursement for teleneurology/telemedicine services (including store-and-forward) which was adopted by Missouri State Medical Association and is currently being heard in the senate. I have been a regular participant in Neurology on the hill, a BrainPAC donor, and an active grass roots advocate for our ALS and muscular dystrophy patients.
Contributions to AAN: As a member of Practice Committee, I have led the charge of creating a telemedicine/teleneurology training curriculum for residents/students and practicing physicians alike. I was also one of the co-authors on the white paper on integrating advanced practice providers into the AAN. I have been a member of BrainPAC committee and currently serve on payment policy committee, where I have been a co-author on payment policy pieces that provide input to providers and payee alike in cases where there is ambiguity due to lack of evidence-based guidelines. 
Research: I am interested in developing new animal models and biomarkers for ALS and currently working on a project on the use of AAV-based gene therapy in a canine model of ALS. 

Additional Accomplishments:
This year, I was promoted to clerkship director just as the department was preparing to offer our first four-week rotation. I was able to build the four-week curriculum on already established successful endeavors from past two-week offering. In addition, we have initiated three practices to supplement and reinforce the students' learning. Each addition is accompanied by supporting documentation that prepares the student well for the tasks ahead. Each student must do a quality improvement project, case report, and literature review or abstract while on the clerkship. These things not only push the students to dig deeper than just the neurology texts, they encourage the student to conduct research, participate in practice management and improvement, and have an opportunity to be published, all at the same time.  
The second initiative places students in situations they won't encounter anywhere else in medical school. Each student goes through two of four simulated patient encounters where they are faced with a situation that they are will encounter later in their career, regardless of the discipline they choose. All of the encounters are replicas of situations that I have seen occur. With more in development, students currently face the delivery of bad news when they give an ALS diagnosis or disclose a medical error or the delicate dance of guiding a patient with an opioid addition or non-epileptic seizures to seek psychiatric care. Each simulated patient has been trained to play their role flawlessly and test the students' patient care skills. At the end of the event, the actors give the student feedback about their performance. We also evaluate the encounter and it counts toward the student's overall grade.
Finally, the third initiative brings it all together. All students are assigned a resident mentor to guide them through all aspects of the clerkship. The residents have been in the medical students' shoes more recently than the faculty and can provide invaluable leadership and comradery. The aim is to ease the stresses of the rotation and perhaps like a spark of passion for neurology in the medical students.  Students evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor at the end of the block and the feedback becomes a part of the resident's file.

Student Given Awards & Recognition:  

  • 15 teaching awards. including the National Golden Apple Award, an award given to a medical school professor committed to advancement or improvement in medical education by American Medical Student's Association
  • Investiture marshal at the school of medicine 2016 graduation ceremony
  • Keynote speaker at the 2016 White Coat Ceremony
  • Member of both Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society
  • Keynote speaker for the 2015 Gold Humanism Honor Society meeting

Other recognition for academic excellence:

  • Voted best teacher by the neurology residents in 2015 and 2016
  • Medical school curriculum board teaching and innovation awards
  • Recognized nationally for mentorship by both the American Medical Association and the American Medical Women's Association
  • Schwartz Compassionate Caregiver Award
  • Leonard Tow Humanism Award

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Neurology is all about history and exam. We have a lot of fancy investigations, but history and exam still forms the core of neurological care. So the question is, are you willing to get your hands dirty and spend the time needed in doing a careful, methodical history and exam! Neurology is a rapidly growing field with lots of new treatment options and research opportunities. In addition, it offers both cognitive as well as procedural options with a great lifestyle. Check it out!


Cara E. Harth, MD, FAAN
Cara E. Harth, MD, FAAN
Stony Brook University School of Medicine
Associate Professor Neurology
Program Director Neurology Residency
Director, Neurology Clerkship

What Attracted you to Neurology?
Is there anything more interesting than how the brain works? Is there anything more interesting than how we think? It is the essence of what makes us human. Seeing what happens when the brain goes wrong is fascinating. I love that I can still see a patient and be utterly fascinated. I love that we can put all the pieces together to “localize the lesion.” I love that neurology is still very much “old-fashioned medicine.” We rely on really thorough histories, and incredibly detailed, nuanced physical examinations. It sounds corny, but I still tell my students that I chose Neurology because it is just so cool.

What attracted you to your specialty?
My specialty is General Neurology. My mother would say it is because I am indecisive. That may be true, but I love that as a Neurohospitalist, I really have no idea what I will see on any given day. I love the variety, the challenge, and also having time to really think about my patients as I see them. I love that with each patient, I can teach, learn, and discuss with the students and residents on my team. I would probably be lonely in private practice without a team of people to whom I could say “Wow, did you see that? That's pseudo-athetosis!” or “Hey, check out this MRI - you can actually see the Wallerian degeneration here!”

How did you decide on your career path?
I always knew I had to be in academia. I think that Neurology almost more than any other medical specialty lends itself to academic medicine. Most neurologists have been inspired by great teachers, it only makes sense to continue the tradition.

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Love what you do. People choose their specialties for a lot of reasons. But at the end of the day, you need to be inspired and excited about what you do.

How have you contributed to neurology?
I suppose all academic neurologists contribute to neurology in their own way. Some do research and discover new treatments. Others do meta-analyses and analyze the old treatments. Some are administrators. I like to think that my biggest contribution is in teaching students and residents about neurology and medicine as a whole. I try to make sure that my students and residents know that they must continuously question, always be humble, and know how to talk to patients and their families. And of course, nothing is more thrilling than inspiring a new neurologist!


Augusto A. Miravalle, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology and Director, Neurology Residency Program, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine

Medical education has been my personal and professional interest since my role as chief resident of medical education during neurology residency training at Loyola University, Chicago. Since my appointment at the University of Colorado I have been actively involved in education developing curricular activities and outcome measurements for the Core Neurology Clerkship, Neurology Residency Program, and Faculty Development activities. Since these initial steps, I have been involved in education at multiple levels, including the design and implementation of lecture series; on-line curriculum for neurology residents; development of RITE exam review series; assisting in the development of a simulation course in Emergencies in Neurology; development of an applied neuroanatomy and neuroimaging course for residents; re-design and implementation of Grand Round Series; Socio-cultural Curriculum for the Neurology Residency Program; and the recent development of a Leadership Curriculum for Neurology Residents. In terms of leadership and administration I supervise the outpatient Resident Continuity Clinic, Chair Clinical Competency Committee for the Residency Program, Chair for the Adult Residency Education Committee, Chair for Grand Rounds Committee, and participate as a member on the Quality Improvement Committee for the Department of Neurology. I currently serve as Vice-Chair for Education, as well as Residency Program Director for the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado.

These experiences demonstrate my commitment and interest in leadership in medical education. I am currently one of 12 neurologists selected to participate in leadership training through the American Academy of Neurology Emerging Leaders Forum. Through this training I learned my leadership style and I am currently working on identifying strengths and weaknesses that will allow me to grow. I am particularly interested in applying recently acquired knowledge on Leadership fundamentals into practice. I am also interested in improving my fiduciary knowledge and budget management skills. We are in the process of implementation of a newly developed educational RVU (eRVU) system. This model will likely improve our current model of compensation and allocation of resources for faculty members who actively participate in educational activities at the Department of Neurology.

During my short academic career I learned to enhance personal leadership attributes through practice-based learning. These include honesty, commitment to work, creativity, and positive attitude. My personal definition of leadership could be summarized in the capacity to translate vision into reality. Many good ideas die, not because the market rejects them, but because the leaders who sponsor them fail to navigate institutions, committees, or environments that they originate. The next generation of leaders must balance numerous competing interests and new ideas in order to foster innovation. During my early involvement in leadership I realized that I spent an incredible amount of time in trying to turn weaknesses into strengths. Even though it is a widely accepted model for personal development and improvement, that process resulted in an inefficient use of energy. As I got more involved in the practical aspects of leadership, I learned that the true concept of team work has to do with understanding your weakness and identifying team members that could fill in those gaps, allowing yourself and others to concentrate in bringing strengths from good to great. This process resulted in a very integrated team approach where each member had a well-defined role.


Robert W. Neel, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology, Neuromuscular Division, Director, Neurology Residency Program, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

The core missions of the academic medical school are clinical work, research, and education. This is the holy trinity. Education of the next generation (or as I like to think of them, the generation that will be caring for us) remains a sacred duty and pleasure. Clinical work and research are very rewarding, as well, but education reserves a special place in my heart.

There is great joy in teaching. I cannot deny it. The feeling of interacting with another, trying to help them understand a concept or principle, and figuring what roadblocks might be in their way as they try to grasp it, is not measurable. It is part thespian, part general, and part cheerleader. It involves a high degree of flexibility and adaptation, a firm sense of a plan and outcome, and a double dose of encouragement.

I am a firm believer in the outcomes project. We have trained (and been trained) in systems that help you “gestalt” your way into what defines a good doctor as opposed to a bad doctor. Now we have concepts of what we think as a group it takes to be proficient and then to be excellent, which are much more concrete. I hope others will find them useful as a way to give residents more concrete ideas about how to be a better doctor.

Education of medical students and resident physicians and fellows remains the key to the future. But somehow it feels like education is the Holy Spirit, hidden in the shadows of the more visible Father and Son in my Holy Trinity analogy from above. How do we change that? How does the system acknowledge the work of those who educate the next generation of doctors? The first step, after the idealism and joy of teaching has occurred, is to understand how we finance this mission. I was surprised at asking some of my peers about their budgets for the clerkships, and others for their residency budgets and how few of them actually had budgets or knew what they should be budgeting. This needs to change and I think we all need to be taking a more proactive role in understanding funds flow for the holy mission of education.

Neurology Program Support Staff
Dominique Walker Hurt, BS
Dominique Walker Hurt, BS
Education Programs Coordinator, University of Louisville

What attracted you to your position? 
In May 2009, I graduated from the University of Louisville College of Business with no medical education background. I applied for a program assistant position at the University of Louisville Neurology Education Office in August 2008 because I loved the University of Louisville (go, Cards) and what all it had to offer, as far as benefits. I interviewed in August 2008 and was hired in September. As time progressed and with the training from my supervisor, I became more interested in the medical education field. Nine years later I am still here in the neurology department, and I love it!

How did you decide on your career path?
I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. I originally had intended to become a cosmetologist and start my own business. However, after getting hired in the Neurology Education Office, my career path quickly changed!  I started working in the department as the assistant clerkship coordinator. Years have passed, and my supervisor is preparing for retirement; I am now one of the program coordinators for our residency (adult and child neurology) and fellowship (clinical neurophysiology and vascular neurology) programs. 

Share any ways that you have helped enhance graduate/undergraduate medical education within your program.
Within our Education Office, there are three staff members, and we work collaboratively as a team on all our endeavors. Our program recently switched from New Innovations to MedHub, and I've been the department contact in charge of our programs initial set up in MedHub. I also have been the scheduling guru for all of our education programs, closely monitoring and assigning medical students, residents, fellows, and others. Over the last few months, in preparation for my supervisor's retirement, I've been given the responsibility of the Education Programs Office overseer. I've been trained by Constance Elgan for almost nine years, and I've been taught by the best!

How have you successfully promoted communication among coordinators, directors, and trainees?
I am in communication with coordinators, program directors, residents and fellows every single day. Whether it be email, text messages, or phone calls.  When I don't receive responses, I am always following up with them to ensure I get a response when needed. I also attend monthly Graduate Medical Education Coordinators Meetings, which allows communication between the university's Graduate Medical Education office and other program coordinators.

What important improvements have you installed in your residency program?
One major improvement is the full use of the ERAS system. Our programs use ERAS for resident and fellow recruitment. I've been successful in getting our interviewers access to review resident applications prior to interview date. This has drastically helped reduce the Education Office's time (no more printing or downloading application files and sending to the interviewers).

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
If you are interested in neurology, take advantage of the medical student electives that are offered at your institution. Also, contact program coordinators for more information about their specific residency programs requirements.


Mary Phelan Headshot
Mary E. Phelan, BS, C-TAGME
Education Administrator for the Neurology Residency and Fellowship programs
SUNY Upstate Medical University

What attracted you to your position?
The opportunity to work with recent medical school graduates.

How did you decide on your career path?
It was by luck. I had worked in the airline industry for over 20 years when the company closed the office I was working in. I was offered and accepted a position in the research office at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The office was located in the Medical School. I found that working with faculty and staff in the medical school was something I liked and wanted to pursue. I eventually found my current position and have been here for over 10 years.

Share any ways that you have helped enhance graduate/undergraduate medical education within your program.
I send an email out at the end of each week with the next week's conference schedule. This year I set up MedHub where I enter conference information to send an email reminder to the faculty member or other staff scheduled to give lectures. These reminders have helped and faculty no-shows and cancelations are rare.

As residents and faculty are very busy and it's hard to keep track of multiple emails. I started a “weekly update.” At the end of each week an email is sent to residents, fellows, chair, and program directors. The email contains updates, reminders, announcement of events, etc. I added a “Chief Corner,” the chief residents email me the update, it is added to the email, and is sent at the end of the week.

How have you successfully promoted communication among coordinators, directors, and students/ residents/fellows?
At our institution, I mentor program coordinators in the use of MedHub and ERAS. I am the chair for the TAGME subcommittee. I try to attend all GMEC meetings so that I have firsthand knowledge of changes and/or requirements and can pass this information along to residents/fellows as needed.

At the national level, I have been attending program coordinator meetings since 2009. I have been helping with the organizing and planning of the meetings since 2011.

What important improvements have you instilled in your clerkship/residency/fellowship program?
I try to take advantage of systems/software programs that are available at the institution to make information easily accessible to the residents/fellows and faculty. When I joined the department, we did not have a site for the sharing of information. I learned how to use the Blackboard site that the medical school had and started a neurology resident “course.” This course contained an announcement each week of the next week's conferences. Sections were created for schedules, conferences, rotation information, house staff manual, stroke/icu, to name a few.

In 2014, Upstate's GME office transitioned to MedHub software for resident's evaluations and tracking of duty hours. I have been inputting items that were on the Blackboard into MedHub. For example, putting the conference schedule and tracking of resident attendance. We use MedHub for CCC and PEC meeting information, etc. We use the resident dashboard feature in MedHub for semiannual reviews and documentation of credentialing/NEX completion, rotation information, etc. I try to make information that is needed easily available in one location so there is one log on and it is available on any computer.

Please include here any other accomplishments you'd like to share.
Receiving the institution's GME “Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education” program coordinator award in 2011-2013 and the AAN program coordinator recognition award this past April.

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
Take advantage of elective and research opportunities in neurology. Working in neurology will help solidify the decision. Feel free to contact program administrators with questions about their programs. We are here to help and have a lot of program specific information.


Julie Campbell Headshot
Julie Campbell, C-TAGME
Program Coordinator for the Neurosciences
Nationwide Children's Hospital at The Ohio State University

What attracted you to your position?
What primarily attracts me to the position is the opportunity to help young medical students transform into mature, well-trained physicians ready to independently practice the subspecialties of neurology. Sharing in their journey and helping provide them the opportunity for personal and professional growth is a very rewarding experience for me.

How did you decide on your career path?
I don't know that I actually decided on this career path or if the career path decided on me. I began as a program coordinator for a colon and rectal surgery program housed in the private practice office where I was employed as a medical secretary. The program found itself in need of a coordinator, and I was approached to take on the task. I immediately found the passion associated program management. As the program was housed in an office separate from the hospital which provided sponsorship, I was charged with the task of semi-independently learning the ropes of GME management. I traversed the program requirements and very quickly fell into the need to prepare for a site survey. This process helped me to learn very quickly the intricacies of accreditation, and I was hooked from there. After transferring to Nationwide Children's, I was privileged as well to become involved with the initial accreditation of the child neurology residency and have been part of that program from its inception. As time went on, I also assumed responsibility for the clinical neurophysiology, neuromuscular medicine, and headache programs as well.

Share any ways that you have helped enhance graduate/undergraduate medical education within your program.
One enhancement that comes to me immediately was a change in the recruitment process for our residency program. The program had sent large packets of printed information to candidates, which seemed overwhelming to look at, and it was evident during candidate interviews that they, in fact, had not been looked at. My suggestion was to streamline the packet by incorporating a flash drive housing general information about our program and institution, as well as providing a selection of research articles by our faculty and residents. We also include a video of our program director briefly describing the program and including a “thank you for considering our program.” The flash drive does not replace all printed material, but the combination of media types has been a source of compliments from our candidates. It has been evident the information has been more consistently reviewed by the candidates as they consistently refer to the information during their interviews and touch base on many of the research topics included in their packets.

How have you successfully promoted communication among coordinators, directors, and students/residents/fellows?
From 2008-2010, I served as the chair and vice chair of the Program Coordinators' Committee at Nationwide Children's. In this position, I was a liaison between the program coordinators and the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC). In this capacity I became a voting member of the GMEC, thus providing coordinator input on important decisions regarding GME within the institution. Information from this meeting was shared back with the Program Coordinators during their monthly meetings. I have also given several lectures and presented several posters at my home institution, regional and national meetings on topics related to GME and professional development for coordinators. Some of these venues include Central Ohio Program Administrators (COPA), Child Neurology Society (CNS) and the ACGME Annual Educational Conference.

In 2014, I worked with the CNS to develop the Program Coordinators of Child Neurology (PCCN) association. This group held its first conference in conjunction with the Child Neurology Society annual meeting and has held yearly conferences since then. Our conference and association has met with resounding support from the Professors of Child Neurology (PCN) and the CNS, and in 2015 we were voted into acceptance as Associate Members of the Society. I have served as President of the PCCN since its inception in 2014.

I have also been involved since 2011 with Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education (TAGME) when I obtained my original certification. TAGME is a national certifying board for GME Administrators. In 2015, I was appointed chair of the Child Neurology Review Board and thus a member of the TAGME Board of Directors. In this capacity, I worked together with my review board for assessment development and revision for certification examination with special qualifications in Child Neurology and worked together with the Board of Directors for policy and procedure implementation. Since the change in process for certification, removal of specialty specific certification, I currently serve as a member of the Medical Review Board, Policies and Procedure Committee, and Assessment Tool Quality Review Committee.

What important improvements have you instilled in your clerkship/ residency/ fellowship program?
Since I have been involved with the residency since its beginning and involved with the fellowships for quite some time, I have been involved with its continual evolution in order to comply with ACGME requirements. No evolution ever takes place by the hands of one individual, and I work very closely with our program directors and trainees to assure compliance and ongoing improvement for our programs.

Please include here any other accomplishments you'd like to share.
A longstanding goal for me was to publish. That goal was realized this year with my first peer-reviewed publication in the Journal of Child Neurology. This manuscript entitled, “Survey of the Child Neurology Program Coordinator Association: Workforce Issues and Readiness for the Next Accreditation System” is a publication authored along with colleagues from the PCCN administration, Terri Feist from Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Julie LaBare from Mayo Clinic Rochester. We are currently working on a second submission at this time. Other publication opportunities have also come to light, amongst them including an article in HCPro in December 2015 entitled, “Program Coordinator Success Begins at the Institutional Level.”

As well, one of my career highlights was being awarded the 2016 Program Coordinators' Recognition Award given by the American Academy of Neurology this past spring. Many thanks to those who nominated me and to the Academy for deeming me worthy of this prestigious award.

What advice do you have for trainees or students considering a career in neurology?
The best advice I could provide is to go for it! Following initial training, child neurology affords physicians a myriad of opportunities for sub-specialization and ultimately will be able to provide them with an optimum work/life balance.

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