Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

The Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology

Chief Residents’ Message

Welcome to the Northwestern Neurology Residency Program!  It is an amazing time to be in neurology, and we’d like to share some of the things that make us excited to work and learn here.

Northwestern provides training to enable us to excel in clinical neurology.  The downtown location of our 894-bed hospital, in the third largest metropolitan center in the country, provides busy and diverse clinical exposure.  All subspecialties are represented by our faculty, and with ten fellowship programs, there are clinicians and researchers to help you pursue your specific interests.  The program has a supportive culture and the department’s leadership, including our chairman Dr. Krainc and program director Dr. Bega, meet regularly with the residents to tailor the program based on resident feedback.  Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of our program, in which we work directly with emergency medicine, psychiatry, neurosurgery, and physical medicine & rehabilitation on various rotations, has created a collaborative work atmosphere amongst the housestaff and enhances our education. Ultimately, it is the relationships we make within the team – with passionate attendings, curious residents, and dedicated nurses and staff – that make our jobs fulfilling.

The expansion of our program from a class size of 6 to 8 residents over the last 3 years, and the addition of several inpatient NPs/PAs have made the program flexible and has allowed additional elective and research time.  Our residents have 20-26 weeks of elective time between the PGY3 and PGY4 years to supplement their training with clinical rotations (both in and out of the department), research projects (including the active R25 NIH research grant program), or additional months in the Neurological Testing Center to perform and interpret EMGs or complete a certificate program for EEG interpretation. This year we are also implementing a two-person night float system to give both more support to junior residents and autonomy to senior residents staffing overnight.

Scholarly work is expected and the program is built to facilitate research – all PGY4s and some PGY3s are able to attend the AAN conference to present their work and learn about the forefront of neurology, with financial support from the department.  Residents also attend and present at various subspecialty conferences as their career paths become clear.  Didactic time is protected, with morning report Monday – Wednesday, a 6-month anatomy course in the Fall and Winter, a basic science curriculum, Grand Rounds, case conferences, and daily subspecialty noon lectures with lunch provided.  Another unique didactic element is the Clinical Neurophysiology Course – PGY3 residents are given a month early in their year, free of any clinical responsibilities, to learn how to read EEGs, EMGs, and sleep studies.

Chicago is a great city and there are social and cultural activities for everyone—music, parks, professional sports, diverse restaurants, museums, adult athletic leagues and races, nightlife, and festivals.  For its size and resources, Chicago is also relatively affordable.  Most of us live within walking distance to the hospital, in Streeterville, River North, or The Loop, but every class has residents who live in other surrounding neighborhoods.  Winters are cold, but that doesn’t stop us from getting together, and summer living is good.  Typically, just under half of our residents are married, several of whom started families while in the program the last several years.  About a quarter of residents are from the Chicago area and the rest are transplants from all over the country.  We have a great time at work and while we unwind together after hours.  We are glad we chose to train in neurology at Northwestern and we hope you come visit us soon!


George Culler
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Undergraduate: University of Texas at Austin
Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine
Career Plans: Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsy fellowships

Linda Jiang
Hometown: Guilford, Connecticut
Undergraduate: Duke University
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University
Career Plans: Vascular Neurology fellowship