Clinical Neurosciences Center

Neurology Residency Evolves to Meet Changing Needs

Research continues to provide the medical community with better understanding of neurological diseases. Hope of lifting the burden these disorders place on patients and their families drives interdisciplinary collaborations and integrated learning opportunities for the physicians of tomorrow.

At The University of Utah, innovations in the Adult Neurology Residency Program reflect the complexity of the field of modern neurology, which encompasses hundreds of disorders affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system in patients of all ages.

More elective time throughout the Adult Neurology Residency Program encourages research investigations. Collaboration results from the availability of subspecialists within the three departments comprising the Clinical Neurosciences Center —neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology.  Clinical programs include care for patients suffering from stroke, multiple sclerosis, and neuromuscular disorders.

Effective acute intervention has become increasingly important in the light of research discoveries that redefined national guidelines regarding medication use and treatment intervals. One measure of that change has been the recent addition of a fellowship in stroke care.

Patients as Teachers

“Our patients are empowered to act as instructors,” explains David Renner, MD, Director of the Adult Neurology Residency Program. “The core teaching module involves learning from patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis], also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Dr. Renner cites the clear, universal dedication of the medical staff to teaching as a major draw for the Adult Neurology Residency Program.  “Camaraderie is evident throughout the
Neurosciences Center, and full support is given to these exceptional clinical programs,” says Dr. Renner, who also was responsible for the recently added fourth-year international elective.

“We continue to introduce changes that allow our residents more growth opportunities,” adds Stefan Pulst, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at The University of Utah. “Exciting breakthroughs in the treatment of neurological disorders are making this a golden age for clinical neuroscience, and our Adult Neurology Residency Program is preparing a new generation to build on those advancements.”

Learning in the Units
Challenging yet rewarding days await neurology residents at the Clinical Neurosciences Center.

Mentoring relationships with experienced clinicians, a solid grounding in neuroanatomy, and skills building in diagnostics and disease-management develop during the program’s three years as residents care for patients who face a range of challenges across the broad spectrum of neurological subspecialties. A typical day begins by examining the ward patients and following up on lab studies and imaging in preparation for attending rounds. Throughout the day, residents carry out treatment plans developed on rounds, admit new patients, and perform neurologic consultations for other services. Senior residents also see patients in the outpatient clinic.

As the only tertiary neurological and neurosurgical care center in the intermountain west, residents may further explore fellowship-level clinical neurophysiology training or specialties such as critical care neurology, stroke, pediatric neurology, movement disorders, sleep, dementia, and epilepsy.

For more information contact Neurosciences Public Affairs at 801-585-7777 or go to