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2020 Child Neurology ResidentsA Letter from the Residents

Welcome to Child Neurology at the University of Rochester! We are so excited that you are considering our program. As current residents let us first say how happy we are to have chosen Rochester for our training. We love it here and hope you will too!

One of the most unique aspects of this residency program is the way it prioritizes resident education. In addition to the typical array of conferences, journal reviews, and patient of the week discussions, we are actively involved in teaching the medical school’s second year neuroscience course during our PGY-5 year. We also have opportunities throughout our training to teach abroad including in Poland, Ecuador, and Zambia.

The neurology faculty here are incredibly supportive and are tremendous teachers and mentors. We are lucky to work alongside nationally recognized leaders in a patient-friendly and family-centered atmosphere. We are exposed to a variety of specialties within pediatric neurology including epilepsy, headache, movement disorders, neuro-oncology, neuroimmunology, sleep medicine, neurogenetics, and neurodevelopmental disabilities. Many of our residents go on to complete fellowships in these specialties.

In addition to being an awesome place to work, Rochester is a wonderful place to live! There is affordable living around the hospital and also within the surrounding suburbs. We have delicious food, great breweries, and we are close to the Finger Lakes region which has countless wineries. There are activities for all seasons. In the spring and summer, we enjoy going to Rochester’s many festivals and spending time at Lake Ontario. In the fall, there are tons of spots for hiking and apple picking. In the winter, we can go skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. There are also museums, concerts, shows, and sports that2020 Child Neurology Residents we can enjoy all year round.

You will find that our program has residents who not only enjoy working together but also become life-long friends outside of the hospital. We encourage you to join our Child Neurology family at the University of Rochester.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are excited to see you on the interview trail and look forward to teaching you more about our program, sharing our experiences with you, and showing you around our amazing city!


Cindy Hernandez and Jessica Johnson

Current Residents

Class of 2023 (PGY-5)

Cindy HernandezCindy Hernandez, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine

Cindy graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine after receiving her Master’s degree from The University of North Texas Health Science Center and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. While she loves expanding her knowledge of Child Neurology, you can often find her in the kitchen learning and perfecting recipes passed down from friends and family or out on the dance floor sharpening her Salsa turns! She is excited to further her career at the University of Rochester and explore her new surroundings!

Jessica JohnsonJessica Johnson, DO, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine

Jess attended medical school at TouroCOM in Middletown, NY after completing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Drew University in Madison, NJ. She is originally from Boyertown, PA. She is most looking forward to all of the outdoor activities Rochester has to offer such as running, hiking, and rock climbing. Aside from sports and coaching, she enjoys traveling, meeting new people, trying new foods and occasionally taking a break to sit and read or paint.

Class of 2024 (PGY-4)

Ryan Alan Carrier, MD, Michigan State University College of Human MedicineRyan Carrier

Ryan went to medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine after completing his undergraduate studies at Grand Valley State University in western Michigan. He has spent his free time in Rochester exploring the many parks/trails with his wife and 2 dogs, rock climbing, buying too many houseplants for the amount of space there is in the house, and eating ice cream irrespective of the season.

Shermila Pia, MD, California Northstate University College of MedicineShermila Pia, MD

Shermila is originally from Davis, California. She completed her undergraduate training in Molecular & Cellular Biology with a focus in Neurobiology at University of California, Berkeley. She went on to complete her medical training at California Northstate University College of Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, baking, Finger Lakes wineries, and spending time with her husband and puppy.

Class of 2025 (PGY-3)

Julissa Maria Veras, MD, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolJulissa Maria Veras, MD

Julissa attended Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ after completing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She is originally from Edison, NJ. In her free time, you will usually find Julissa running, baking cupcakes, watching movies, crocheting or relaxing on the beach with her husband and her rescue pup Rosie! Julissa is primarily looking forward to taking advantage of the many outdoor activities Rochester has to offer, especially the festivals!

Anjili S. Vara, MD, University of Sydney Medical SchoolAnjili S. Vara, MD

Anji originally hails from Toronto, Ontario. She attended medical school at the University of Sydney in Australia after receiving her Master’s degree from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor’s degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. In her free time, Anji enjoys indoor rock climbing, baking cookies, travelling, and learning new dance styles. She is excited to explore Rochester’s hiking trails and discover the renowned live music scene!

Class of 2026 (PGY-2)

Catherine Gleed, MDCatherine Gleed, D.O., University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

Katie attended medical school at University of New England after graduating with a bachelors degree in animal science from Cornell University. She is originally from Ithaca, New York and is looking forward to being able to go camping, fishing, and hiking in upstate NY again. In her free time she enjoys baking, cooking, exercising, and trying new foods with her husband.






Kayla Staub, M.D., Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple UniversityKayla Staub, MD

Kayla grew up in a small town in south central Pennsylvania. She completed her Bachelor's degree in neuroscience at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and earned her MD from Temple University. Outside of the hospital, you can usually find her in the kitchen baking a new treat, reading fantasy novels on her couch, or in the gym improving her totals for squat, bench, and deadlift. She is so excited to explore the food scene in Rochester, especially the wineries of the Finger Lakes, the many unique restaurants, and, of course, all the ice cream she can find.




Class of 2027 (PGY-1)

Laura Owlett, MD, PhD

Laura Owlett, MD, PhD, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry








Yassir Selouani, MD – Universite Mohammed V Souissi Faculte de Medecine (Morocco)Yassir Selouani, MD

Although Yassir was born in the small Moroccan city of Taza, he grew up in Rabat, where he attended and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Mohammed V University of Rabat. In his free time, Yassir enjoys drawing and graphic design, focusing most of his art time on Paleoart.