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Career Development in Neurosurgery Research for Medical Students, Residents and Young Neurosurgeons: From Finding Mentorship to Starting and Funding a Lab

By CareerNo Comments

Research has always been integral to the field of neurosurgery. Its purpose is to improve patient treatment paradigms and stimulate innovation. Given these efforts, an emphasis on research quality and productivity has become a minimal requirement to enter and progress in academic neurosurgery. However, the barrier to entry in neurosurgery research remains relatively high for medical students, neurosurgery residents and young neurosurgeons — which may be prohibitive for academic progress. Providing transparency in the research process is a necessary step in reducing the barriers that have been formed. Read More

Building a Better Match: Efforts of the SNS Medical Student Committee

By Career, MentoringNo Comments

It has been a pleasure to serve as the chair of the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS) Medical Student Committee. This group of neurosurgical leaders is deeply engaged in finding better approaches to training future neurosurgeons. Our responsibilities include enhancing exposure to the field for students exploring future careers, providing a framework of mentorship for those considering a neurosurgical residency, and ensuring that The Match® is fair and efficient for both applicants and programs. It has been clear that forces are making this last goal more challenging for some time. Read More

Ann R. Stroink, MD, FAANS Retires from Neurological Surgery

By AANS Spotlight, CareerNo Comments

Ann R. Stroink, MD, FAANS, a neurosurgeon at the forefront of advocacy efforts, retired from neurosurgery practice at Carle BroMenn Medical Center on Nov. 22, 2023. Throughout her career, Dr. Stroink has been an in advocating — in the halls of Congress, before the Illinois state legislature, with health plans and within organized medicine — for sound health policy to ensure patients have timely access to care. Throughout her career, she held critical leadership roles within organized neurosurgery, including president of the Illinois State Neurosurgical Society, chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Council of State Neurosurgical Societies, chair of the AANS/CNS Washington Committee for Neurological Surgery and AANS president. Read More

Cross-Post: Medical Student Tamia Potter Makes History

By Career, DEI, MentoringNo Comments

Our current series on Making and Maintaining a Neurosurgeon discusses how one transitions from student to resident to practicing neurosurgeon. In particular, we highlight what our field is doing to improve diversity and the importance of mentorship to those considering neurosurgery. How impactful can a mentor be? Incredibly. Especially when it comes to forging a path few before have traveled. Read More

The Transformative Power of Mentorship: Establishing a Personal Board of Directors

By Career, MentoringNo Comments

Stepping into the inaugural American Society of Black Neurosurgeons (ASBN) dinner in 2022, surrounded by almost 30 Black neurosurgeons, residents and medical students, was an indescribable experience. In that room, I encountered past program neurosurgery department chairs and senior attendings, who welcomed me into the fold with open arms. The presence of such accomplished individuals who shared my background and experiences left an indelible impact on me. Read More

Pathway to Neurosurgery Program: Creating the Next Generation of Neurosurgeons

By Career, MentoringNo Comments

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are vital components of strategic planning in a growing number of organizations across all sectors. The health care sector is especially relevant since DEI directly affects health outcomes. In the United States, most people are aware of the racial reckoning that has resulted in the necessary dialogue around implicit bias’s harmful effects. It has also drawn attention to the Black, indigenous, and people of color who are disproportionately impacted by long-standing systems that were not created with their whole personhood in mind. Together, we can foster equitable access to high-quality care for a wide range of people while building cultural competencies that increase a sense of belonging in spaces where people might not have been able to feel included before. Within neurosurgery, DEI initiatives that engage and educate teams have great potential. Read More

Training the Next Generation of Neurosurgeons: Inclusive Excellence in Neurosurgery

By Career, MentoringNo Comments

The Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University is committed to inclusive excellence at all levels of education and training. Investing in outreach and pipeline programs exposes students to knowledge and opportunities otherwise unavailable. Our reach extends beyond Stanford and the surrounding community — we have reached students from all over the world who are interested in the neurosciences and are dedicated to learning. We are proud of the department’s work with outreach, including students locally, nationally and internationally. The future of neuroscience is bright. Read More

Making and Maintaining a Neurosurgeon

By Career, MentoringNo Comments

“You need to see a neurosurgeon.” Those words would likely make any person pause. Unlike the quip, it is brain surgery. Neurosurgery is a critical medical specialty — treating everything from tumors to strokes, Parkinson’s to cerebral palsy, aneurysms to spine fractures. The average neurosurgeon has spent at least 15 years in school and training after graduating high school — four years in college, four years in medical school and seven years in a neurosurgical residency. And that is the bare minimum, not including extra years of schooling to get a second degree — such as a master’s or doctorate — and subspecialty fellowship training after residency.

So, what exactly is the process of becoming a neurosurgeon? How do we “make” a neurosurgeon? Once a neurosurgeon is done with training, how do we ensure they continue practicing lifelong learning to stay at the top of their field? Our field is committed to ensuring that patients who need neurosurgical treatment are cared for by competent, empathetic and qualified neurosurgeons, implementing initiatives throughout medical education to ensure these goals are achieved.

Through this series, we will discuss how we “make and maintain” a neurosurgeon. How do we recruit a qualified and diverse workforce? How do we break down barriers for residency applicants to ensure that students match into programs where they will succeed? How do we adapt our training programs to changes in science and technology and adapt to ever-changing regulations? How do we learn from mistakes and teach future generations always to ask how we can be better? What are we doing to verify the quality of subspecialty fellowships for those who want additional training in a neurosurgical subspecialty? Once a neurosurgeon finishes training, how do we assess them? Our first several blogs in this series will highlight the work across the country in these many avenues.

Neurosurgery is dedicated to the practice of lifelong learning. So even when the formal education is completed, we continue to grow in our practices and careers. The second half of this series will follow neurosurgeons who can share their experiences. This includes self-reflection and assessment and a focus on continuous lifelong learning, considerations of adding new procedures with innovations in the field, moving beyond neurosurgery into other roles in medicine and a continuous reflection on our profession. Hence, we continue to evolve and evaluate the needs within our specialty and recruitment and maintenance of diversity in neurosurgery.

Just as science evolves, so must our field to ensure that we continue to provide the best neurosurgical care to our patients, founded on a solid educational background and with a mindset for continuous improvement.

Editor’s Note: We hope you will share what you learn from our posts in the Making and Maintaining a Neurosurgeon series. We invite you to join the conversation on Twitter by following @Neurosurgery and using the hashtag #Neurosurgery.

Krystal L. Tomei, MD, MPH, FAANS, FACS, FAAP

Cleveland, Ohio

Cross-Post: A Night in the Life of a Busy Neurosurgical Resident

By Career, Cross PostNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places that we believe will interest our readers. Today’s post originally appeared on Magazine. Abdul-Kareem Ahmed, MD, provides a poignant depiction of one night as a neurosurgical resident at the University of Maryland. Every patient’s worst moment is Dr. Ahmed’s every day. Read More