Thank you for your interest in the neurological surgery residency program at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. Our residency program is dedicated to equipping physicians with the necessary skills and experience in clinical and operative neurosurgery, as well as educating each individual on the basic sciences and laboratory techniques needed to embark on an academic career. Upon completion of the neurosurgical program, residents are able to make important career decisions that are strengthened by the broad-based clinical and laboratory training received at the Medical Center.
The clinical training program requires six years to complete and residents are given progressive clinical responsibility in based on acquisition of knowledge and skills. Graduating residents are highly skilled in the evaluation and management of all categories of neurosurgical diseases and operative procedures.
Nine months of the program are divided between neurology, neuroradiology, and neuropathology, allowing residents to develop skills in these important related branches of clinical neuroscience. Our program has a strong didactic conference schedule addressing evidence-based neurosurgery, quality improvement, Youman’s textbook chapter review, multi-disciplinary case review, multi-disciplinary epilepsy, multi-disciplinary tumor, spinal surgery and bi-monthly journal clubs.
Residents devote at least one year to a laboratory research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor from neurosurgery or other related clinical or basic sciences. This is a highly “protected” time that permits trainees to develop a research niche, as well as exposure to a broad range of research tools and methods. Ideally, this project would provide date and background work to support an NIH “K” award, which helps the transition into academic neurosurgery. A broad spectrum of neuroscience research is in progress in the Department of Neurosurgery, including the study of cerebral blood flow, CSF physiology and volume-pressure relationships, CNS tumor biology and therapy, pathogenesis of degenerative disc disease, pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury and oxygen delivery in spinal cord injury, among many others.
The university also has special opportunities available for neurosurgery residents to obtain a Ph.D. in the basic sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and immunology. Another program of unusual scope is the brain injury research fellowship, which is offered to residents from our program and other institutions. For six months or more, the fellow will receive specialized individual training from recognized faculty experts in such areas as cerebral blood flow, intracranial pressure monitoring and volume-pressure relationships, evoked potentials, and CT scanning and learn to apply these studies to the evaluation of brain function in trauma patients and those with other diseases.
Our patient facilities, which include a 14-bed Clinical Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and three fully equipped, state-of-the-art operating rooms dedicated to neurosurgery. We perform an average of eight to 10 major operative cases per day at the hospital and have a daily bed census of 50 patients primarily comprised of elective admissions. Approximately 15 percent of our case load consists of trauma patients with an average of 40 patients admitted per year with severe head injury.
If you are interested in the neurosurgery program at VCU, we would enjoy discussing it further with you or hosting you for an acting internship.
Very sincerely yours,
Harold F. Young, M.D.
McGlothlin Professor and Chair
Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center
Department of Neurosurgery