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Why should I choose Utah’s neurology program above others?

We are the only hospital in the Mountain West that houses in-patient neurology and neurosurgical critical care. We attract complex and unusual cases to fill our service. Because of this unique patient pool, our residents see disorders that others may only ever read about.

However, not only do our residents get the opportunity to see these disorders; they also have time to read about them. Our program maintains a balance, allowing residents to solidify clinical knowledge with reading. And, we’d like to think that this balance extends into other arenas, such as maintaining the balance between work and personal life because it’s simply part of being healthy, and that’s what we’re about.

A second reason is our amazing faculty that crosses most subspecialties within neurology. Our department has numerous young and well-respected researchers and clinicians who ensure that our residents are always on the cutting edge of treatment and research.

Interspersed with these young faculty members are well-seasoned pillars of neurology who actively participate in the teaching of residents.

Our program is mid-sized, yet we have an incredibly large catchment area from which we draw our patient base.

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Does every interviewee in neurology get placed on the rank list?

When individuals have met admission criteria for neurology residency and have submitted all necessary documentation, then they are granted a personal interview. However, based upon the applicant pool each year, we cannot guarantee that all individuals who interview at our program will be ranked.

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If I am granted an interview, may my spouse/significant other come too?

Absolutely. We realize that many neurology residency applicants will ultimately be moving to a new city with a significant other/spouse. Their input into the residency selection decision-making process is important. If you have a spouse/significant other who wishes to know more about our community, job opportunities and the like, please let us know prior to your interview, and we shall attempt to facilitate any contacts or meetings for the day of your interview.

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Can an IMG applicant apply for neurology residency at the University of Utah?

Yes. Every year we receive numerous applications from IMGs with J1 visas and we have had applicants with J1 visas successfully match. Note:J1 visas are sponsored through ECFMG. Those IMGs who do not currently hold a J1 visa but are willing to obtain one if they match with us must complete a J1 visa agreement as a part of their application for residency.

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If I match in neurology at the University of Utah, am I guaranteed a position in internal medicine for a preliminary year? If so, do I need to apply to the regular match for a preliminary spot?

Eight PGY1 positions are available to applicants matching with our program, provided they meet criteria for internal medicine residency.
Our program is Categorical and the preliminary year is included in you match here in Neurology. You do not need to apply with Internal Medicine separately or interview with them unless you want to apply to their program solely for a preliminary spot. For specific Internal Medicine application information, please contact the Internal Medicine Housestaff office at (801) 581-7899 or visit their website. Please contact the Department of Neurology if you have unanswered questions at or call us at (801) 585-5405.

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Does your program have a couple's match?

Neurology does participate in the couple's match program.

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Is this program accredited through the ACGME?

Yes! Both the adult and pediatric neurology residency programs at the University of Utah underwent a site visit in August 2005 for ACGME re-accreditation. We were granted the maximum amount of time between site visits, and hence our programs are accredited through the year 2021.

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What is the on-call schedule like?

University Hospital

Over the past few years, we have made significant resident-driven changes to the on-call structure. The University Hospital neurology ward service is covered by a night-float system, ensuring that no residents will have traditional 28-hour shifts.

During weekdays, the University neurology ward team shares call from 0700-1600. The inpatient residents (ward senior, ward juniors, and consult) alternate covering short-call from 1600-1900 on weekdays and 0700-1900 on weekends.

The night float resident is on call from 1900-0700, and signs out new patients to the ward team at 0700 every morning. The night float resident has Saturday night off the first week and Sunday/Monday off the second week. The Saturday off is covered by off-service residents on an average of 1 Saturday night shift every 3-4 months. 

Residents cover only one hospital when on call. When at University Hospital, their call is in-house. At the beginning of the PGY-2 year, residents may not feel comfortable with management of neurological disease. Hence, PGY-2 residents initially work side-by-side with a senior neurology resident (PGY-3 and PGY-4) for all floor and ER consults, admissions and critical care issues on the floor and in the neuro-ICU.

There is a graduated level of autonomy as PGY-2 residents gain experience and confidence.

Veterans Administration Hospital

Neurology residents rotating at the VA Hospital share call during the daytime (0800-1700). During a neurology resident's VA ward rotation, they take night call from home. Some nights at the VA are covered by non-neurology residents rotating on our service (internal medicine, ophthalmology, psychiatry).

Primary Children's Hospital

Adult neurology residents rotating through pediatric neurology at PCH share home call with the pediatric neurology resident. Residents average 10 calls per month from home. Rarely, residents are called into the hospital after hours, given that the pediatric neurology service is largely (but not exclusively) consultative.

As with all of the sites where we provide coverage, a neurology attending is always available to staff consults and admissions and to answer questions. Neurology attendings are also available to provide back-up coverage when residents need assistance.

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How are call duties distributed in neurology residency?

The neurology residency is bottom weighted, meaning that more call is taken during the PGY2 year (first year of neurology residency) when compared to the PGY4 year (last year of neurology residency).

Currently, junior residents (PGY2) cover 6 weeks of night-float and senior level residents (PGY3) will cover 3-4 weeks of night-float. As the year progresses, senior residents (PGY3 and PGY4) will share more backup supervision duties. When on call, residents cover only one hospital.

Residents gain experience in managing brain attacks, performing lumbar punctures, reading scans, and managing neuro-critical care patients.

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Is research required during the neurology residency?

All neurology residencies include required research. At the University of Utah, each year our residents are required to submit an academic paper to a regional neuroscience conference (Western Intermountain Neurological Organization). The faculty are very invested in helping the residents research so there is an abundance of opportunities.

Please explore our resident profiles and resident research page to see what our current residents are doing.

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Does this program comply with the ACGME work hour regulation policy?

Yes. The ACGME mandates that all ACGME-accredited residencies adhere to a maximum 80-hour work week as of July, 2003, to ensure patient safety, as well as resident well-being. Our department strongly supports this rule and requires all residents to submit monthly work hour logs to document compliance. These logs are reviewed monthly by the assistant program director to ensure that compliance is met.

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How is a neurology resident’s performance evaluated?

Resident performance is evaluated at the end of each month’s rotation. Attendings provide feedback about performance directly to the residents on an informal basis.

Residents also meet on an individual basis twice yearly with the department chair, the program director, and/or the program assistant director to review overall performance and specific areas of strength or areas needing more effort.

Each resident is also encouraged to meet with his or her advisor to review performance issues and plans for future elective rotations or areas of study.

In addition, residents are also evaluated by their peers with whom they work on a monthly basis.

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How does the residency prepare me for the ABPN Part I (written examination)?

A practical goal of the neurology training program is to prepare each resident to achieve certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

The certification examination process consists of a written examination (ABPN Part I) and an oral examination (ABPN Part II).

We assist residents in preparing for this examination process by administering the Residency In-Service Training Examination (RITE) each spring. This is similar to the written board examination and helps the resident organize their study program towards board certification.

Resident performance on the examination is reviewed on a confidential basis with the resident. Residents must complete RITE to stay in the residency program. However, the results of the exam are confidential, and therefore are not factored into resident performance evaluations.

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Can I lead a normal life outside residency?

Absolutely! While residency can place seemingly never-ending demands on residents, residents need a healthy balance between work and leisure activity to stay well.

One of the biggest unknowns for medical students applying to residency is the uncertainty of what life will be like once July 1st arrives. At the University of Utah, we adhere strongly to the ACGME 80-hour work week, ensuring that residents can have time with family and friends.

Our residents and staff at the University of Utah are fortunate to have four-season outdoor activities in Salt Lake’s close canyons and mountains. When we are at work, we work hard, but when that’s over, we know we have a big backyard to explore and we each try to take every advantage of it. The residents and faculty have been proactive in organizing monthly wellness activities for the residents and their families.

We hold resident ski days and snow-shoeing on weekends during winter months; and residents and staff often plan mountain biking, canyon hiking and rock climbing during the spring, summer and fall months. Amidst these more active sports are opportunities to visit our ballet, symphony, the Sundance Film Festival, internationally renowned jazz and blues festivals, and spectator sports such as Jazz basketball, and Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

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My spouse/significant other has a career. How can I find out about job opportunities for him/her?

Many residency applicants move here with either a spouse/significant other. We strive to ensure that (s)he has the opportunities to find out about potential job opportunities within Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.

Our department has set up a committee to facilitate job opportunities and ensure that partners of residents can make local job contacts.

When you schedule your interview, simply let Carol Wall know about your spouse/significant other’s job interests and we will try to establish some contacts before your trip out here.

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