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PGY 7 - Research or Subspecialty Year

NOTE:  PGY-6 and PGY-7 of the neurosurgery residency can be performed in either order depending on the needs and desires of the individual resident and their satisfactory progression in the development of neurosurgical competencies. One of the years will be spent as chief resident and the other year will be devoted to an internal “advanced clinical training” focus or a year of research.


  • 12 months devoted to laboratory/clinical research or assumption of advanced clinical training.
  • Attend all mandatory neurosurgical/neuroscience conferences.
  • Prepare lectures for journal club, ethics, spine and M&M conferences.
  • Take “chief” call one day out of 7.
  • Write at least one abstract, book chapter or article.
  • Maintain case log through ACGME site and provide all required documentation for resident portfolio.


Goals and Objectives

For the research year are to:

  • Perform laboratory project organized in prior year.
  • Perform extensive review of literature pertaining to project.
  • Submit abstract of work to major scientific meeting.
  • Review fundamentals of research design and biostatistics.

For the advanced clinical training year are to:

  • Select area of subspecialization as outlined below.
  • Function at level of fellow with supervised assumption of responsibilities of preoperative evaluation, interpretation of diagnostics, and surgical planning.
  • Perform surgical procedures at highest level of proficiency.
  • Assume graduated responsibility for postoperative care while patient is in-house as well as in clinic.
  • Assume first phone call responsibility for patients both in and out of house.

The advanced “subspecialty” can focus on any area offered in the AGH neurosurgery department:

  • Epilepsy Surgery
  • Pain Management and Movement Disorders
  • Cranial Nerve Disorders
  • Complex Spine Surgery
  • Functional and Stereotactic Surgery
  • Neuro-Oncology, Neuro-Endoscopy
  • Skull Base Neurovascular Surgery.

This type of subspecialty focus is intended to supplement and intensify basic experience in those areas received during regular clinical neurosurgical rotations. This has the additional benefit for the resident of allowing adequate time for involvement in the relevant clinical research pertinent to the subspecialty.


Medical Knowledge - The resident will become fully able to:

  • Maintain and expand on all skills and competencies learned in the prior years.
  • Expand and refine the broad base knowledge in the chosen subspecialty.

Utilizing:                     Observed exam

                                    Written board exam


                                    Oral exam

                                    Skull base lab

                                    Bi-annual evaluations: competencies

Patient Care and Assessment: The resident will be fully able to:

  • Refine all neurosurgical operative skills.
  • Maintain case log of all procedures performed.

Utilizing:                    Observed exam: clinics and operating room

                                    Patient survey: post-exam/feedback cards

                                    Bi-annual evaluations: procedures

Practice Based Learning
– The resident will be able to:

  • Develop academic growth through collaboration with research faculty.
  • Master the fundamentals of research methodology, biostatistics, literature review and critical analysis.

Utilizing:                    Journal club with statistics

                                    Set new/evaluate old goals

                                    Case logs

                                    Yearly scholarship logs


Systems Based Practice – The resident will be able to:

  • Obtain available research resources – both within and outside of our system.
  • Obtain funding for research project by utilizing offices of grants and contracts within our system.
  • Follow a timeframe for research completion.

Utilizing:                    QI Team projects

                                    Formal lectures

Interpersonal and Communication Skills: - The resident will be able to:

  • Communicate research needs effectively with faculty and all members of research department.

Utilizing:                    Observed exam

                                    Patient survey

                                    Feedback cards

Professionalism – The resident will be able to:

  • Perform duties in a professional manner at all times.
  • Develop a personal program of learning to foster continued professional growth and development with guidance from the teaching staff.

Utilizing:                    Project professionalism/ AMA Virtual Mentor

                                    360-degree evaluation

                                    Feedback cards

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