Letter from the Neurology Chief Residents
Greetings from Rochester, NY!
Many thanks for your interest in applying to the Neurology Residency Program at the University of Rochester (UR). As chief residents, we are excited to share some of the program’s strengths with you!
Core and vital to the UR Neurology residency’s identity is an enduring tradition of education. Throughout residency, didactic education includes a standard regimen of daily morning report case discussions and noon conference didactics (with catered lunch), with weekly neuro-radiology conference, grand rounds, and resident case presentations to the faculty. But further, our integrated program boasts an accelerated and graduated developmental model of clinical education. Clinical neurology exposure starts in the first weeks of the PGY1 year where interns inherit a weekly afternoon resident clinic from a graduated resident, seeing new and follow up patients during the internal medicine year. They are paired with a faculty mentor to help trigger career interests. The PGY2 year emphasizes breadth of exposure to inpatient and outpatient neurology to develop early fellowship career planning with at least two months of organized, outpatient subspeciality clinic blocks (in addition to electives), with another month in the PGY3 year. To complement breadth, the PGY3 and PGY4 years promote depth in learning, each having at least two months of electives to nourish personal interests in clinical, research, administration, leadership, or other areas of interest.
The PGY4 ‘chief’ year emphasizes leadership, education, and transition. Chief residents hold an additional weekly afternoon subspeciality ‘chief’ clinic of their preference that cycles every three months. They serve as instructors in problem-based learning and laboratory dissection in the medical school’s acclaimed (consistently the highest rated course among medical students), second year “Mind, Brain, and Behavior” neuroscience course. Chief residents spend one month in Krakow, Poland serving as junior teaching faculty to international medical students at Jagellonian University. They undergo a career curriculum to begin skills for after residency, with regular discussions with faculty, and the class completes a leadership project to leave the residency better than they found it.
This tradition of education stems from the UR Neurology family’s history of neurology pioneers like Dr. Ralph Jozefowicz, an internationally recognized, ‘program director’ of program directors who over 25 years has molded the residency, mentoring decades of neurology faculty educators. In 2019, the program expanded from six to eight yearly residents, decompressing the inpatient requirements for each resident, improving resident well-being, and giving more space to learn clinically. Beginning in 2022, he is passing the torch to our beloved mentor Dr. Colleen Tomcik as our new celebrated program director who has been intimately involved with every residency improvement over the recent years!
This developmental focus in residency education allows residents to continue the amazing passions and talents you bring to our residency, provide opportunity to happen upon new interests, and connect residents with the resources to develop the skills needed for their desired careers. Our neurology residents frequently win Gold Humanism and Alpha Omega Alpha awards by medical students, influencing about 10% of each medical school class to pursue and match into neurology residency nationwide. Our residents lead QI projects in our inpatient and outpatient neurology service lines. They participate throughout the department’s cross-cutting themes, including the Wellness Task Force, the IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Antiracism, and Social Justice) Council, and other departmental administrative tasks forces. Residents travel internationally with faculty projects in Spain, Peru, and Zambia. The Department of Neurology is well known for its clinical and basic sciences research, consistently ranking among the top 10 in NIH research funding, neuroscience representing approximately 25% of the UR Medical Center’s research activity. Every year, residents participate in the Schwid research symposium held jointly with the Department of Neurosurgery. As you will hear during the interview and in the pages on our site, the department has sustained commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and resident wellness.
We love Rochester! Rochester is truly an enjoyable and culturally rich place to live. The city offers surprisingly affordable housing options as well as a wide variety of things to do. There are too many festivals to list, but the most iconic are the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the Lilac Festival, both of which are internationally recognized. We have the opportunity to enjoy anything from world class performances at the Eastman School of Music and GEVA theaters to a multitude of outdoor activities including skiing, kayaking, hiking in our many parks (many designed by Frederick Law Olmstead), or running or biking along the Erie Canal. Additionally, there are fantastic restaurants, breweries and wineries in the area and we are close to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northeast, including the Finger Lakes, Letchworth State Park, and the Adirondack Mountains.
We hope we have given you a glimpse into the life and opportunities for residents at the University of Rochester Neurology Residency Program. Please reach out to any of us if you would like to learn more and/or follow us on Instagram at urmc_neurology_residency!
Kindly, the UR Neurology chief residents:
Natalia Chunga, MD
Jennifer Corcoran, MD
James Matthew Dupree, MD
Andre Huang, MD
Michael Ibarra, MD
Diana Li, MD