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Neurosurgery Residency Curriculum

Program Overview

Clinical Program

The Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s Hospital neurological surgery residency training program offer residents an ideal mixture of high clinical volume, exposure to complex and rare pathology under the guidance of world-class surgeons. The goal of the program is to produce superb clinical neurosurgeons and academicians who will be future leaders, clinicians and educators.

Research Opportunities

Residents are provided two years dedicated to research, clinical fellowship or in pursuit of an advanced degree. Research opportunities in Boston include those at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Broad Institute, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Educational Opportunities

Resident education are an integral part of the program. Residents are encouraged to attend neurosurgical courses throughout their training in their chosen subspecialty. The program encourages and sponsors resident to present their research at neurosurgery grand rounds and at national conferences including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and subspecialty section meetings.

In addition, BWH residents play an important role educating and mentoring Harvard Medical Students. Residents work closely with the Harvard Medical School and its AANS Chapter to host neurosurgical lectures, teach neuroanatomy, introduce surgical skills and host monthly educational events.

Program Structure








Neurosurgical ICU and floor (4 months)

Cushing Junior (4 months)

Cushing Junior (3 months)



Cushing Senior (4 months)

Cushing Chief (4 months)

IR/OR (2 months)

Dandy Junior (4 months)

Dandy Junior (4 months)


Penfield Senior (4 months)

Dandy Chief (4 months)

Ingraham Intern (Pediatrics at BCH, 2 months)

Penfield Junior (2 months)

Penfield Junior (2 months)


Ingraham Chief (4 months)

Penfield Chief (4 months)

Nights & Neurosciences (4 months)

Ingraham Junior (2 months, BCH)

VA (3 months)




Neurosciences: Neuroradiology, NeuroIR, Neuropathology, Radiosurgery (2 months)






Cushing Service: Tumor, Skull base

Dandy Service: Spine, Peripheral nerve

Penfield: Open/Endovascular, Functional/Epilepsy

Ingraham: Pediatrics

PGY-1 (Intern)

Residents spend six months rotating on the neurosurgical intensive care unit and the floor, developing their basic skills on the management of neurosurgical patients and frequently encountered medical and neurologic diseases. Residents are trained to be independent and competent in performing basic neurosurgical procedures (e.g. external ventricular drains, lumbar drains, central lines, arterial lines) and management of acute neurological and medical issues by the end of rotation.

Interns also spend 1-2 months rotating in non-neurosurgical services, including general surgery, plastic surgery, neuroradiology, neurointerventional radiology, neuropathology and radiosurgery to develop introductory skills in these areas.

PGY-2 - PGY-3 (Junior Resident)

Residents are part of the team of a respective service (Cushing, Dandy, Penfield, Ingraham) under the direct supervision of senior and chief residents. Junior residents learn the non-surgical and surgical management of neurosurgical patients. PGY2 junior resident spend 4 months taking day call and 8 months dedicated to the operating room developing surgical skills. PGY3 junior residents are in the operating room during the day and share overnight calls with the PGY2-4. PGY3 junior residents also rotate at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

PGY-4 - PGY-5 (Research Resident)

Residents are encouraged to pursue research or a clinical fellowship during their PGY4-5 years. PGY4 responsibility include overnight call one weekend per month and PGY5 is protected time used to focus on research, training and career development.

Residents sit for the written neurosurgery board examination during this time and are encouraged to participate in neurosurgical courses, national meetings, and educational events. Research residents can teach as neuroanatomy lab as an instructor at Harvard Medical School, the BWH Skull Base Dissection Lab, and may host monthly Harvard Medical Student neurosurgical teaching sessions and resident journal club.

PGY-6 (Senior Resident)

Senior residents play an even greater role in the operating room, and as a leader on the clinical team in the clinical management of patients. Senior residents are responsible for organizing the resident curriculum conference for weekly teaching sessions, and inviting Grand Rounds speakers and visiting professors.

PGY-7 (Chief Resident)

Chief Residents oversee the entire neurosurgical program with administrative and educational responsibilities. Chief residents are expected to demonstrate knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that are exemplary in each area of the ACGME’s core competencies.

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