Curriculum

Integration and Innovation

Neurology residents at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona participate in an integrated curriculum that includes courses taught by world-renowned neurologists, teleconferenced to each Mayo Clinic site. Our didactic program is one of the strongest in the nation because all faculty members are intimately involved in the training. Unlike some programs in which senior level faculty are less visible, our faculty members conduct training across the spectrum of their careers.

Examples include:

  • Neuroscience Course. Under the auspices of the American Academy of Neurology, Mayo Clinic neurologist Eduardo Benarroch, M.D., has designed and directs a neuroscience course that can be attended by neurology residents from across the United States. He also oversees the neuroscience training for Mayo Clinic neurology residents at all three sites. His neuroscience course is carried by satellite from Minnesota to residents in Florida and Arizona.

  • Evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine is taught by national experts Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., Dean Wingerchuk, M.D., and Cumara B. O'Carroll, M.D., M.P.H., at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona and teleconferenced to Florida and Minnesota through the Mayo Clinic Arizona's Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, Research, Informatics and Training Center (MERIT) program. Its goal is to foster the lifelong critical thinking skills needed to evaluate research findings that impact patient care.

MERIT conferences are integrated into Neurosciences Grand Rounds every several months. A trainee, a faculty member from one of the three sites with expertise in the topic area, and a MERIT faculty member lead a patient-based satellite presentation that takes participants through all aspects of the evidence-based medicine process. The peer-reviewed summary is available on Mayo's intranet and is often published in The Neurologist, giving residents an opportunity to publish in a scholarly journal before they complete their program.

Patient-centered clinical training

Clinical practice is as necessary to residency training as didactics. Every patient is unique, and it is through hands-on experience and supervision that both patient and educational needs are served. 

A highlight of Mayo Clinic's Adult Neurology Residency is its depth of clinical experience combined with an excellent mix of routine and esoteric neurological disorders. You are given ample time to see patients and discuss cases with the supervising physician. Close clinical supervision continues to foster the reciprocal learning between supervisors and trainees that characterized the early days of Mayo's neurology program.

Rotations

While the core clinical training and all subspecialty training is available at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, you may choose to rotate to another site for a particular training or research experience. Rotations are available at Mayo Clinic sites in Minnesota and Florida.

Moonlighting

Moonlighting is permitted for licensed residents only when you do not have clinical responsibilities (during research time or vacation time, for example). 

Didactic training

Throughout your neurology residency at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, you are involved in educational courses. The courses are designed to meet the educational needs of each postgraduate year (PGY) level.

PGY-1

You begin your adult neurology residency in the Transitional Year Residency Program.

PGY-2

  • Academic Half Day (AHD). This 52-week lecture series is aimed at assisting neurology residents in synthesizing all aspects of clinical neurology. It serves as the capstone educational course of the Adult Neurology Residency. Topics come from all major subspecialty areas in neurology, with emphasis placed on details necessary for the independent clinical practice of neurology.

  • Neuroanatomy Course. This three-month lecture series consists of 20 lectures focused on clinical neuroanatomy. This course is taken from October to December of PGY-2. Topics include cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord anatomy. Cross-sectional and longitudinal anatomy is emphasized. The course is designed to offer a detailed, yet clinically relevant, review of neuroanatomy.

PGY-3

  • Academic Half Day (AHD). This course is ongoing (see description above).

  • Clinical Neurophysiology Course. A highlight of the residency in Arizona is the clinical neurophysiology rotation at the beginning of PGY-3. This course is a two-month intensive experience in which you learn how to perform nerve conduction studies, EMGs and interpret EEGs. With the exception of your weekly continuity clinic, you are relieved of all patient care responsibilities during this course.

    During the first month of the course, you learn how to perform nerve conduction studies of the major nerves of the face, upper limb and lower limb in hands-on practice groups with other residents and fellows. Once you have demonstrated clinical competence, you perform nerve conduction studies on clinic patients during the second month. Also during the second month, you learn techniques for EMG, and you perform these studies on patients. Emphasis is placed not only on proper technique, but also on correct interpretation of clinical and electrophysiologic data.

    Throughout the course, your afternoons are devoted to learning how to conduct and interpret EEGs. You learn correct electrode placement and have the opportunity to learn correct application techniques through hands-on practice sessions with other residents and fellows. You are given both theoretical and practical instruction on electroencephalogram techniques and interpretation. You independently read and interpret several EEGs on a daily basis throughout course.

    You are also given opportunities to observe autonomic studies, as well as participate in the testing of brainstem auditory, visual, and somatosensory evoked potentials during this course.

    The course is highlighted by daily lectures on techniques, theory, localization, synthesis, and interpretation of EEG, nerve conduction studies, EMG and evoked potentials.
  • Basic Neuroscience Course. This is your second course during PGY-3. The four-month course includes 37 ninety-minute lectures that originate from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and are simulcast between all three Mayo Clinic locations. The course content is basic neuroscience with emphasis on clinical relevance.

PGY-4

  • Academic Half Day (AHD). This course is ongoing each year of your residency.

Ongoing longitudinal course

  • Neuroradiology. Throughout your residency, you participate in a neuroradiology conference twice a month. This conference, directed by our core group of neuroradiologists, focuses on interpretation of normal and abnormal neuroimaging studies.

    Recent and interesting neuroimaging studies are reviewed, and learning points of individual cases are emphasized. Particular attention is paid to identification of neuroradiographic representation of neuroanatomic structures.

Certification

You are required to become certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). ACLS courses are held during the last week of June, before the start of the academic year. An evening ACLS course also is offered every three months to facilitate re-certification.

Case studies

During your residency, you frequently prepare case study presentations. You present pertinent information from an interesting case and conduct an in-depth discussion of that case, using evidence-based material.

Committee assignments

You are given an opportunity to gain experience in a number of administrative capacities during your training. Class representatives meet with the Neurology Residency Committee each month to improve the program. Additional committees led by residents focus on improving all facets of resident training.

Networking

To expand your knowledge of the field, and enable you to connect to the larger neurology community inside and outside of Mayo Clinic, you have opportunities to: 

  • Participate in department committees
  • Serve on institutional committees
  • Actively participate in national professional organizations 

For example, three of the recent past chairs of the American Academy of Neurology's Consortium of Residents and Fellows have been Mayo Clinic trainees. 

Research training

Research opportunities at Mayo Clinic are outstanding. Your projects will depend on your interests and background. Research opportunities are divided into two broad categories: clinical and basic science laboratory research.

Clinical research

You have access to Mayo Clinic's world-renowned medical records system for clinical research. During your residency, you will conduct at least one clinical research project, publish the results, and make at least one regional or national presentation. 

Teaching opportunities

You have the opportunity to supervise and teach Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students and visiting student clerks through bedside instruction and formal didactic lectures.

Evaluation

To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the Adult Neurology Residency. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members after each clinical rotation and meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.

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