Student Interst Group Neurology (SIGN)


Welcome to the Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN) at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Our SIGN chapter is very active, and approximately one-quarter of the school's medical students are members of SIGN. The enthusiasm and excellence of the faculty, residents, and staff of the Department of Neurology contribute, in a large part, to the interest of Rochester students in neurology. Our adviser is Ralph Jozefowicz, M.D., who directs Mind, Brain, and Behavior Parts One and Two (second year neurology class and third year clerkship, respectively) and the neurology residency program at the University of Rochester.

History and Purpose of SIGN

From the American Academy of Neurology: Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN) brings together medical students who are interested in exploring the practice of neurology. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) supports each SIGN chapter along with the Neurology Department or Dean's Office at each member's institution.

SIGN Member Benefits

The following are the benefits you receive as a SIGN member. Contact Cheryl Alementi at for more information.

  • First-hand experience
    • Shadow a neurologist
    • Be matched with a mentor
    • Meet professors
    • Meet neurologists in private practice
    • Meet attendings
    • Meet residents
  • Free AAN Membership
    • SIGN members can join the AAN with a free student membership.
  • Scholarships
    • SIGN members can compete for summer research scholarships.


Meetings are held 3-4 times during the academic year, at which faculty and/or residents speak about a wide variety of topics. Recent speakers include:

Chad Heatwole, M.D.
Frederick Marshall, M.D.
Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D.
Gerald Honch, M.D.
Ralph Jozefowicz, M.D.
Jennifer Kwon, M.D.
Nimish Mohile, M.D.
Heidi Schwarz, M.D.
Paul Twydell, D.O.
Michael Yurcheshen, M.D.

The speakers discuss a wide variety of topics, from clinical knowledge about their subspecialties to a general discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a career in neurology. Neurology residents always participate in a panel at least once each year to address specific questions about the application process, the character and quality of life as a resident, and other issues that students may raise. The meetings also promote congeniality and camaraderie between students and faculty.

Clinical Neuroscience Pathway

The neuroscience pathway program is a department-sponsored, student-driven journal club open to first and second year medical students interested in neurology.  Through a series of approximately six (6) lunchtime meetings, students will explore various topics of interest to the group through reading and discussion a current journal article.  The students choose amongst themselves both the paper and the discussion leader(s).  The faculty advisor is Chad Heatwole, M.D., a neuromuscular specialist in the Department of Neurology.  In addition, students are encouraged to spend two nights taking call with a neurology resident from 4:00 – 9:00 PM (see below).  The final component is to present a patient at Attending Rounds during the third year neurology clerkship.  Students who fully participate in the program can request a letter of recommendation from Dr. Jozefowicz in support of their residency application. 

SIGN/Pathway Shadowing Program

The University of Rochester medical school curriculum is unique in that students now begin outpatient clinical rotations in the first year of medical school. Students are briefly introduced to outpatient neurology in the second year. The SIGN Shadowing Program provides students with the opportunity to spend more time with a neurology resident in his or her weekly clinic. Interested students may also take call with a resident in the hospital, thus gaining exposure to acute neurology before beginning the neurology clerkship in the third year.

Handbook for Applicants to Neurology Residency Programs

American Academy of Neurology 2001 Annual Meeting Resident/Fellows Consortium

Top Ten Tips for Finding Your Residency Program:

  1. Look early and get exposure to neurology early (if not required in the third year).
  2. Make sure that the place you are interviewing for your internship is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (see web site for certified programs).
  3. Ask questions of residents currently in the programs to which you apply.
  4. Consider spending time at program to which you apply or stay an extra day after you interview.
  5. Find out what kind of fellowship opportunities the program's graduates achieve.
  6. Ask about the performances of the residents on the boards.
  7. Find out what relationships between faculty, staff, and residents are like.
  8. Determine what types of hospitals you will work in (university? Community? VA?). Consider applying to a program that offers all three.
  9. Find out what types of patients you will see as a resident.
  10. Consider the location of the school/program in making your choice.

Contact SIGN/Pathway

For more information about SIGN and/or neurology at the University of Rochester, please e-mail:

More Information

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