Why Come to UAB?
The following information can be found in complete detail in the remainder of the website. This is the condensed version.
- Faculty: Undoubtedly the biggest strength of the program, residents have the opportunity of working with every attending, many of which are nationally recognized, extensively throughout residency. Every faculty member is very pleasant to work with and approachable. In addition to inpatient experiences, residents are able to work with most faculty one-on-one in their personal clinics. Our faculty enjoy resident teaching - every attending gives several lectures to the residents throughout year. The extensive faculty involvement in teaching, along with the support and approachability of our Chairman, Dr. David G. Standaert, and Residency Director, Dr. Khurram Bashir, make UAB a rewarding place to learn.
- Clinical Experience: UAB is the largest medical center in the state and has one of the busiest neurology programs in the Southeast. Because of UAB's reputation throughout the Southeastern U.S., there are patients referred to UAB from the entire state of Alabama, and parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. Through inpatient services (UAB, VA, Vascular and Critical Care, Consult, Epilepsy, Children's), outpatient clinics (Children's Hospital, Cooper Green, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Kirklin, and VA), and call experiences, residents are exposed to a high volume and great variety of neurological disease that make our educational experience the highest quality. The Vascular and Critical Care service allows for exposure to a high number of ICU patients, including patients treated by neuro-interventional techniques. The Epilepsy and Movement Disorders centers offer experience in surgical evaluation and treatment of these disorders.
- Residents: Another notable strength, the residents at UAB enjoy working and socializing together. Recent resident classes have been particularly strong and the continued strength of the program has resulted in the expansion of adult residents accepted per year to increase from five to six (plus one pediatric neurology resident/year). In addition to annual department parties/picnics, social gatherings at attendings homes and local restaurants occur often and play a large part in making the UAB educational experience an enjoyable one. With a population of close to one million in the metropolitan area, Birmingham offers affordable living (most residents own homes very close to UAB) with plenty to do (nationally recognized restaurants, diverse music, arts, parks, college/semi-professional sports). Larger cities as well as beaches/mountains are a short drive away. The international airport allows for flights anywhere.
- Educational Program and Conferences: The resident lecture series is likely one of the most comprehensive lecture series in the country. Lectures are scheduled five days a week throughout the entire year except holidays. Lectures are given by faculty both within and outside the department and also include nationally known speakers. Important topics include introductory topics, anatomy, neurobiology, pharmacology, coverage of all subspecialty topics, review of clinical trials in all subspecialties, psychiatry, biostatistics, and a business series preparing for life after residency. Educational funding has offered our program the unique opportunity of providing lunch for the residents throughout the entire year. Morning reports focus on clinical cases and are as follows: Monday-neuroradiology, Tuesday-neuro-oncology, Wednesday-general neurology, Thursday-neuromuscular, and Friday-epilepsy which includes video EEG interpretation. Professor rounds - every Wednesday from 1-2:00 pm. Neurology/Neurosurgery Grand Rounds - every Tuesday from 8-9:00 am and involves topics from faculty/residents in both departments along with faculty from other UAB departments (psychiatry, neurobiology, PM&R) and nationally recognized speakers from outside institutions. Many other optional conferences are available, such as brain cutting, tumor board, epilepsy conference, neuromuscular conference, and several pediatric neurology conferences, just to name a few.
- Call Schedule: Q6-7 for PGY-2s (inhouse call) and Q10-11 for PGY-3s and PGY-4s (home call). PGY-2s have a great deal of in-house support during their in-house call nights. There is usually an outside rotator (an internal medicine, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, or psychiatry resident) in-house with them and of course an upper level neurology resident and attending as back-up. The new ACGME requirements are enforced, allowing post-call residents to go home at noon. Total work hours per week falls well short of the 80-hour maximum.
- Diagnostic/Procedural Experience: You will likely perform at least 200 EMGs, 100 LPs, and be involved in assisting in numerous angiographic cases/ICU procedures. You will review hundreds of routine EEGs and video EEGs. Opportunity for Botox injection experience is available. Opportunity for interpretation of PET, SPECT, fMRI, and MEG (one of the few in the country) is available. Busy stroke, epilepsy, general neurology and consult services allow for feeling very comfortable in interpreting MRI/CTs.
- Research/Electives: Clinical research is available within every subspecialty, and basic science/diagnostic research is available in most subspecialties. There is ample opportunity for one-on-one experience with virtually any attending. Research preparatory courses are offered through UAB free of charge. Time off of clinical responsibilities is allowed to attend such courses. Attendance/presentation at national meetings is available and encouraged through each resident's educational fund or outside educational grants and has been a recent strength of the program. For the last three years, about 80% of PGY-2s have had abstracts accepted at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting as a result of collaborations with attendings. Generous elective time allows residents time to pursue individual research projects or to strengthen their clinical skills through additional clinical rotations. In addition to its clinical reputation, UAB neurology is starting to be more recognized as a research department. For example, UAB recently received a coveted $12 million neuro-oncology SPORE grant (one of only two awarded in the country). UAB is currently among the top 15 schools in NIH funding, and is ranked higher every year.
- Board preparation: UAB neurology residents had one of the highest cumulative scores on the RITE (Residency In-service Training Exam) this past year with six residents scoring above the 90th percentile. A unique system utilizing a board preparatory text (published by past UAB residents), an organized review of RITE exam test questions from the previous five years, a CD-ROM of radiographs/pathology slides, and handouts correlating the lecture series with board questions ensures continued excellence on the RITE exam. Mock oral boards, given once a year, are very helpful in preparing for this challenging portion of the boards.
- UAB Medical Center/Facilities: Already recognized nationally in a number of departments and currently undergoing a tremendous expansion, the strength of the medical center affords a great overall educational experience with exposure to a number of other outstanding departments through the consult service and outside rotators. State of the art facilities, particularly in the areas of neuroimaging and intensive care, allow for the highest quality care. The neurology department also underwent an impressive expansion which included a new, expansive resident workspace, new library (with new research facilities), and new conference rooms and offices.
- Expansion: Dr. Watts, the previous chairman and now president of UAB, DOUBLED the size of the neurology department in the last six years. Every subspecialty within the department was included in the expansion. Dr. Watts stated (see Executive Summary) that UAB Neurology will be recognized as one of the top neurology departments in the country in the near future. Neurology is not the only department expanding. UAB opened the North Pavilion of UAB Hospital in November of 2004, which occupies an entire city block and includes a new state-of-the-art emergency department, operating rooms, intensive care units, and much more. A women and children's hospital adjacent to the North Pavilion opened in 2009. An impressive new Campus Recreation Center is now open also for UAB employees, students and residents. When you drive around UAB, there seems to be expansion in all directions!
- Educational Fund: UAB neurology has a very competitive educational fund (PGY-1: $500, PGY-2: $1000, PGY-3: $1000, PGY-4: $1000). Funds are carried over from year to year and can be used for professional fees (licensure, DEA #s, registration fees) and conferences. In addition, membership to the American Academy of Neurology is provided to all residents.
- Fellowships are offered across almost all subspecialty areas, including Neurophysiology/Neuromuscular Disease, Vascular and Critical Care Neurology, Epilepsy, Movement Disorders, Neuro-Oncology, Neuroimmunology/Multiple Sclerosis, and Neuropsychology.