The UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery offers a seven-year (PGY 1-7) residency program that is internationally renowned as a training ground for exceptional neurosurgeons. Accredited by the UPMC Graduate Medical Education Council, as well as the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the program is currently approved to train 28 residents, four each year. The goal of the program is to provide exceptional clinical and scientific education to top-notch graduates of medical schools who wish to be future leaders in the field of neurological surgery. The program focuses on training to maximize medical knowledge, build patient care skills, and provide for practice based and systems-based learning. The department stresses professionalism as well as interpersonal and communication skills, and relies heavily on both inpatient and outpatient use of informatics.
The University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery—which can trace its roots to 1936 and has offered a residency training program dating back to the late 1940s—has always stressed a strong commitment to patient care, education and research. Today, the department is the largest neurosurgical academic provider in the United States, performing over 9,000 major procedures annually system-wide, the majority of which are performed at our academic hospitals of UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside, UPMC Mercy, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive.
An article published in USA Today in February of 2018, ranked the University of Pittsburgh neurological surgery residency program as one of the top five programs in the country, citing the "advanced technology and focus on innovation" available here. In a ranking published in Becker's Spine Review in August of 2018, our program was ranked among the top five in the country based on a peer-rated, review-based survey.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery showed that our department ranked among the top five neurosurgical residency programs in the country in terms of academic publishing output of faculty. Another Journal of Neurosurgery article showed that our department ranked as the most productive residency program in the nation in terms of graduates remaining and contributing to academic neurosurgery. Still another article, published in informaHealthcare, showed that our stereotactic research effort was the most productive in the world.
In 2018, the department completed a 50-year retrospective assessment of training at our program, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. In each decade, beginning in 1971, we looked at admitted residents and finishing residents, tracking any changes in professional or behavioral events during training. We surveyed 98 graduates and analyzed the data in 76% who completed the survey. This study does not indicate that residents have changed in any significant way over these 50 years. The vast majority of resident graduates express satisfaction with their career choice and its overall positive impact on their families.
More than eighty years at the forefront of neurosurgical care have demonstrated that we are a proven international leader in patient care, research and training. Resident performance and tracking is performed twice per year using the ACGME Milestones project.
[See article Are millennial residents really any different? co-authored by L. Dade Lunsford, MD, and 2019 residency graduate W. Christopher Newman, MD, published in the Allegheny County Med Society Bulletin in April of 2018.]