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Letter From Neurology Chief Resident


Dear Prospective Residency and Fellowship Candidates,

I would like to welcome you to the department of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Thank you for your interest in our program, and allow us to take this opportunity to introduce our program.

Barrow Neurological Institute was founded in 1962, and over the past few years has ranked consistently as a top hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery by the US News & World Report. In 2006, our state-of-the art neurosciences tower opened, with 64 neuro-intensive care beds, 32 neuro-telemetry beds, 38 general neurology beds, and 10 adult Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) beds. We work in close collaboration with the large and world-famous Neurosurgery group and residency program at Barrow, and we have support from a large and specialized Neuroradiology group (with a residency and fellowship program) and a Neuropathologist (with a fellowship program).

We offer multiple neurological subspecialties at Barrow, including Neuro-Oncology, Neuro-Otology, Cognitive-Behavioral Neurology, Stroke, Neuromuscular, Epilepsy, Neuro-Immunology, Movement Disorder (with a DBS program) and Sleep. We have the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center, an MDA clinic, an NPH clinic, a Neuro-psychology team, and an inpatient Neuro-Rehabilitation center. We have over 17 adult neurology attendings, 16 neurosurgery attendings, 10 neuroradiology attendings and one neuropathologist. There are also over a dozen dedicated scientists in the neurology, neurobiology, and neurosurgery programs if you are interested in doing lab-based research while you are here. We offer Fellowship positions in Epilepsy (Electrophysiology), Stroke, Neuro-Oncology, Neuro-Immunology and Movement Disorder/DBS.

With the help of our Residency Director and Chairman, we have set up a strong didactic learning experience for our residents. We have daily morning reports, daily noon didactic lectures, Wednesday morning Brain Cutting, Thursday noon resident case conference presentations, and Friday morning Neurology and Neurosurgery Grand Rounds. There are also subspecialty didactic lecture series, including weekly Tumor Board, EMU, Gamma-Knife, and Neuroradiology noon conferences. This past year the residents have also instituted once monthly evening stroke journal club meetings and a book review series.

In terms of our Ward service, we have one stroke team and two general teams. Each team consists of an attending (who switches every 2 weeks), and 2 residents (who switch every 4 weeks). Our year is divided into thirteen 4-week blocks, which are divided into time on the Wards and in electives, including neurosurgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and any of the subspecialties mentioned above. We also have a night-float system of call, so that no call is longer than 12 hours. PGY2’s do 4 weeks of night float (spread throughout the year), PGY3’s do 3 weeks, and PGY4’s do 2 weeks. We have a large residency program, with 7 residents per class.

Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the US, the Valley of the Sun is the 13th largest metropolitan area in the country, and our patient referral base includes patients from throughout the Southwest. Therefore we generally have a large patient census (usually between 15-25 patients per team). We see a very diverse patient population and a wide variety of neurological conditions. Because St. Joseph's Hospital is a Level One trauma center, and because of our large and well-known neurosurgical program, we have the opportunity to see some otherwise very rare cases and conditions. This provides our residents with excellent hands-on experience, because we get the chance to see cases that we might otherwise only get to “read about”.

Phoenix is a wonderful place to live, if you can stand the heat! Our daily temperature averages 100 degrees for ~90 days each year. Our winter months generally reach daytime temperatures in the 60’s. It is true that we have a dry climate with very little rain, but we also do not have humidity, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes or forest fires. It even snows here (about once every 50 years). You know that you have become a true Phoenician when you reach the day that you realize that you can never again live in a climate where a winter jacket, boots and a snow-shovel are required.

There are numerous cultural attractions in the city and valley, including museums (the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, AZ Challenger Space Center, AZ Science Center and the Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesen West), the AZ Opera, Ballet of AZ, the Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, the Phoenix Zoo, botanical gardens, and 2 wildlife parks. For sports enthusiasts we have professional Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Arena Football and Women’s Basketball teams. Other activities include golfing (you can golf year-round here) and numerous water parks and amusement parks. Day-trips include the AZ Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, Sedona artist colony and the Grand Canyon. The Neurology and Neurosurgery residents go on a rim-to-rim (and back again) hike of the Grand Canyon every year, which is a great bonding experience between the two programs.

We hope that the above information will be useful to you in the process of applying for your Residency or Fellowship. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at BNINeurology@DignityHealth.org