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Residency Curriculum

Resident curriculum

The seven-year neurosurgery residency program at the University of Kansas Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and includes 18 months focused on research. The current rotations are:

PGY-1: Four months the neurosurgery service, four months on neuro-ICU, one month each on neurology, trauma/SICU, orthopedic surgery-spine including peripheral nerve, and anesthesiology at the primary teaching site, Kansas University Hospital.

PGY-2: Ten months at Kansas University Hospital rotating equally between two faculty teams, the Blue Team (primarily cranial) and the Crimson Team (primarily spine). One month each is spent on neuroradiology and neuropathology.

PGY-3: Two months at North Kansas City Hospital, which offers a community neurosurgical experience and six months at Children's Mercy Hospital, which offers a dedicated pediatric experience. The remainder of the time is split between the Blue and Crimson teams at the Kansas University Hospital.

PGY-4: Dedicated to research and scholarly activities (12 months), the focus of which is a basic research project which may be conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center or the Stower's Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. The research is continued from the fourth into the fifth PGY year for a total research rotation of 18 months. In addition, it is expected the resident will sit for and pass the AANS Written Primary Board Examination during the PGY-4 year.

PGY-5: Research (6 months), two-month rotation at North Kansas City Hospital, with the remainder of the time spent with the Kansas University Hospital neurosurgery Blue and Crimson teams.

PGY-6: Three months at Children's Mercy Hospital with the remainder of the time at the Kansas University Hospital gaining further surgical experiences, splitting time between the Blue and Crimson teams and assisting chief residents in administering the Kansas University Hospital service.

PGY-7: Chief resident year at Kansas University Hospital gaining further Blue and Crimson surgical experiences and administering the clinical service. Residents may also gain surgical experiences in specific areas of need or interest at the other approved training sites (Children's Mercy Hospital, North Kansas City Hospital), and as approved by the program director.

The resident educational curriculum includes the following conferences and lectures:

  • Core Competency GME Conference (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Grand Rounds (Weekly, PGY 1-7)
  • Journal Club (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Life After Residency Didactic (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Morbidity and Mortality Conference - Adult (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Morbidity and Mortality Conference - Pediatrics (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Neurocritical Care Didactic (Monthly, PGY 1-4)
  • Neuropathology Didactic (Monthly, PGY 1-4)
  • Neurovascular conference (Twice monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Cranial Surgical Anatomy and Approaches Didactic (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Spinal Surgical Anatomy and Approaches Didactic (Monthly, PGY 1-7)
  • Neurology and Neurosurgery Case Presentations (Weekly, PGY 1-7)
  • Professor Rounds/Oral Boards (Weekly, PGY 1-7)
  • Neuroradiology/Neurosurgery Conference (Monday-Thursday, PGY 1-7)
  • Written Board Review (Weekly, PGY 1-4)
  • Wellness Lectures and Activities (Monthly, PGY 1-7)

Additional conferences available to residents:

  • Brain and Skull Base Tumor Board (Three times monthly)
  • Epilepsy Conference (Weekly)

Outside conferences and courses
Throughout their training experience, our neurosurgical residents have access to a broad range of outside educational opportunities. The education curriculum includes attendance at a variety of conferences and courses, such as:

  • Society of Neurologic Surgeons Boot Camps (PGY-1)
  • Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons (RUNN) Course in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (PGY-3)
  • Washington Neuroradiology/Dr. Kenneth M. Earle Memorial Neuropathology Review Course (PGY-4)
  • Chicago Review Course (PGY-4)
  • Congress of Neurosurgeons (CNS) SANS Written Boards Review Course (PGY-4)
  • Annual meetings of the CNS (PGY-6) and American Association of Neurological Surgeons (PGY-7)

Over the course of the residency, attendance at additional meetings and courses is encouraged as approved by the Program Director, reflecting resident scholarly activities and subspecialty interests as well as Quality Improvement and Wellness initiatives.

Educational offerings also include:

Microvascular lab
This formal microsurgical lab is designed specifically for resident education with 7 microscope stations. Each quarter, residents learn and perform microvascular surgical techniques and procedures. Skills are put to the test using a variety of methods to continue to challenge the residents' abilities and acumen as they progress.

Virtual reality training and 3D printing
Three virtual reality systems for resident education, including the Microsoft Hololens, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift systems. The department has been very active in advancing 3D modeling to enhance resident learning and for patient education to explain pathology together with the surgical plan. We are consistently seeking opportunities to provide the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art 3D systems, which allow for printing in material that mimics human tissue and give our residents the ability to practice surgical procedures on realistic models.

Skull base cadaver lab
Neurosurgery residents participate with faculty supervision in full day cadaveric dissection sessions devoted to cranial approaches, made possible with industry support in cooperation with the KUMC Compliance Office. Cadaver dissections are completed either on campus, at a nearby facility, or mobile laboratory on average annually. Topics have included skull base and endoscopic approaches. Each session involves a classroom didactic session followed by hands-on cadaver dissections with direct supervision and one-on-one teaching. Each session has all the necessary equipment needed to perform the various approaches. 

Spinal neurosurgery lab
Residents explore multiple spinal techniques in this hands-on course that takes place two to four times per year and made possible with industry support in cooperation with the KUMC Compliance Office. Partnering with our orthopedic spine surgeons, the focus of the curriculum is on spinal techniques and training. It provides residents with the opportunity to review current spinal concepts, gain understanding of common spinal pathologies, discuss potential advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to the spine, examine management of possible complications during and after surgery, and evaluate different techniques and approaches to the spine. Most importantly, it gives residents hands-on practice using spine models with both simple and advance spinal instrumentation techniques.

Last modified: Mar 26, 2021