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Neuro-Interventional Surgery Fellowship

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Message from Program Director

The Neuro-Interventional Surgery Fellowship Program at Westchester Medical Center is now CAST accredited and aims to train the next generation of neurosurgeons, neurologists and radiologists in the science and art of the treatment of the neurovascular patient. Based in a clinically and academically rich environment, fellows are exposed to the entire spectrum of the most current treatments for adult and pediatric neurointerventional pathology, with a focus on developing both technical skills and outstanding clinical acumen. With expanding faculty, a state-of-the art neurointerventional space, and the support of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, this is an exciting time of growth and innovation for our program, which I invite you to explore. 

Chirag D. Gandhi, MD
Professor and Chair, Neurosurgery
New York Medical College
Director, Neurosurgery
Westchester Medical Center


Program Overview and Curriculum

1) Program Overview

The primary mission of the Westchester Medical Center Neuro-Interventional Surgery Fellowship Program is to provide fellows with the training necessary to become leaders in academic neuro-interventional surgery through an intensive clinical and educational experience. Fellows will acquire knowledge and expertise to satisfy the six core competencies outlined by the ACGME. 

  1. Fellows acquire medical knowledge through a series of didactic and Socratic mechanisms and self-directed reading programs. Skills and knowledge are assessed by faculty on a continuous basis
  2. Patient Care skills are developed by the fellows through evaluation, participation, and treatment of patients with cerebrovascular pathologies in the outpatient clinics, the emergency room, the neuroangiography suites, and by taking care of patients on the neuroendovascular service in the ICUs and ward. Neurointerventional skills are assessed on an on-going basis by the respective faculty
  3.  Communication skills are developed, enhanced, and evaluated via ATLS, Life Wings training, evaluation in the ICUs, communication with the neurosurgical, surgical and medical teams, and communications with families of critically and non-critically ill patients
  4. Professionalism is highly valued and reinforced throughout the program. This is done by evaluation of the fellow’s behavior and skills by faculty and nurses, mentorship through fellow’s participation in administrative duties
  5. Systems based practice is mandatory throughout these specialties. Fellows are involved in faculty meetings, retreats, PI/QA mechanisms and are actively involved in enhancement of systems-based practice throughout their fellowship. The ICU services are systems-based and this permeates all aspects of care and training.
  6.  Practice based learning and improvement is achieved through numerous integrated mechanisms. Fellows participate in all aspects of the neuroendovascular and critical care services to develop and maintain evidence-based “best-practice” medicine and be on the forefront of the delivery of acute care management. Fellows are involved in development and reviewing management and practice guidelines, order set development, PI/QA, educational and research initiatives that enhance knowledge, direct care and improve outcomes.

    
2) Rotations

Year 1

The fellow will be assigned to the neuroendovascular clinical service on a weekly basis at which time his/her primary responsibility will be the clinical as well as operative management of inpatients. The fellow will participate in the pre- and post-procedure evaluation of patients with attending faculty supervision. The fellow, in collaboration with the supervising attending, will ensure compliance with established neuroendovascular and institutional policies during and following interventional procedures. Case-based learning will integrate case-specific imaging modalities, including MRI, MRA, MRV, CT, CTA and CT Perfusion technologies. Instruction will include review of contribution of each modality to case management with particular attention to radiation physics and radiation biology to ensure patient safety and appropriate systems-based practice.

In addition to neuro-interventional procedures, the latter will include direct participation in rounds structured for post-operative patient care and didactic as well as working clinical conferences. The fellow will present timely, accurate pre- and post-procedure documentation that includes operative report and separate interpretive report, daily documentation of patient’s course, discharge physical examination and neurological status, inpatient medical therapies and reconciliation of physician order entries. The fellow will actively participate in daily inpatient rounds with neuroendovascular faculty on all neuroendovascular inpatients and effectively communicate neuroendovascular specific management plans with other participating services. The fellow will participate in continuity of ambulatory care of patients following discharge from Westchester Medical Center, including communication of discharge neurologic status, interventions during inpatient status, findings on serial imaging surveillance and medication reconciliation with primary care providers and referring physicians. The fellow will participate in regularly scheduled, supervised inpatient and ambulatory neuroendovascular-specific consultations with assigned attending faculty as well as related didactic/working conferences. Ambulatory assignments will be coordinated with protected time allowing scholarship activity. The fellow will complete at least one research project with peer-reviewed publication per year.  


Year 2

In addition to year 1 responsibilities, the fellow will gain greater independence and responsibility for these functions with demonstrated, documented proficiency and experience during his/her fellowship. The fellow will review, interpret and integrate into patient management all pertinent diagnostic studies under the graduated supervision of the attending faculty and with interdisciplinary collaboration and consultation. The fellow will perform diagnostic and therapeutic advanced endovascular surgical neuroradiology procedures under the direct supervision of the attending with requisite post-procedure care that includes interdisciplinary collaboration. All procedures performed by the fellow will reflect demonstrated skills and competencies identified by participating attending. The case-based training structure of the ESN fellowship and recurring one-to-one attending supervision will guide competency-based assignment of fellow’s role and responsibilities during interventional procedures.

3) Neuro-Interventional Surgery Didactics 


Daily Morning Report/Rounds:
Designed to improve faculty-fellow-resident interaction and educational opportunities, facilitate the management and transfer of patient care information, and allow a forum for the discussion of patient care and management. An organized sign out process will utilize the presence of post-call neurosurgical team members, physician assistant, nurse practitioners, and a digital reviewer allowing access to previous radiographic studies obtained over the previous 24-hour period.

Weekly Neurosurgical Conference: Designed to enhance the educational opportunities to learn from different neurosurgical specialties from both academic and community settings regarding the management of neurovascular pathologies.

Weekly Reperfusion Conference: Designed to discuss IV tPA and mechanical thrombectomy cases for that week as well as any other stroke/ ICH/ SAH/ Carotid stenting/ CEA cases that require multidisciplinary input from vascular, NIR and neuroradiology.

Monthly Morbidity and Mortality Conference: Critically assess all complications and mortality on the Endovascular Surgical Service with input from specialties involved in the care of those patients.

Monthly Stroke Quality Meeting:
By attending this meeting, the fellow learns administrative, quality and performance improvement tools necessary to lead a multidisciplinary Endovascular Stroke Surgical Service.

Monthly Joint Cerebrovascular Conference: Designed as a multidisciplinary conference where participating departments provide didactics and case discussions that cover all aspects of cerebrovascular topics and clinical practice guidelines.

Quartly Journal Club: Review and discuss, using Evidence-Based Medicine tools, cerebrovascular related articles. Monthly Interdisciplinary Neurovascular Conference: Rotating didactics and case review focusing on index topics in cerebrovascular disease and the medical and surgical management. The fellow is expected to present a one-hour presentation each quarter with the supervision of the core neuroendovascular faculty. 


Current and Past Fellows

Current Fellows


Katarina Dakay, DO
Fellow Year 2

Kat was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and her medical degree at Touro University Nevada. She then moved to Rhode Island where she completed her internship, neurology residency, and vascular neurology fellowship at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her research interests include convexity subarachnoid hemorrhage, posterior circulation stroke, and perfusion neuroimaging. She currently serves as a blogger for AHA’s “Blogging Stroke” and as a trainee reviewer for Stroke. Outside of work, she enjoys playing classical piano, dancing, and rock climbing.



Haris Kamal, MD
Fellow Year 1 

Haris Kamal received his medical degree from Yerevan State Medical University in Yerevan, Armenia. Subsequently, he completed his Neurology residency with State University of New York’s (SUNY) Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the Buffalo General Medical Center, where he served as Chief Resident and was inducted to the Gold Honor Humanism Society. He pursued further training, finishing his Vascular Neurology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. He is double Board certified in Neurology and Vascular Neurology, Haris worked as Assistant Professor of Neurology at UT Health for a few years before joining us for fellowship at WMC. He served as the Medical Stroke Director and Chief of Neurology at LBJ Hospital, an affiliate of UTH helping set up their Stroke and Neurocritical care services. Besides English, Haris is fluent in Armenian, Hindi and Urdu.

Throughout his training and career, Dr. Kamal has been honored with numerous recognitions including the AAN AB Baker Teaching award for 2020 and LBJ Physician Transformation award. Two years in a row, he received the Michael E. Cohen Resident Research Award for Best Research Project at SUNY Buffalo. In addition, he was awarded SUNY Buffalo’s Edward Fogan Resident Award for Highest Standards of Neurological Practice and Compassionate Care, the AAN Fellow Award, the ASNeuroimaging Resident Travel Award and the McGovern Medical School Fellowship Teaching Award. In his free time, Dr. Kamal enjoys hiking, trekking and reading biographies.

Alumni

Gurmeen Kaur, MD (2020)
Current Position: Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY

Vikas Patel, MD (2019)
Current Position: Mohawk Valley Health System, Utica, NY

Ahmad Thabet, MD (2018)
Current Position: Michigan Head & Spine Institute, Southfield, MI


Faculty


Chirag D. Gandhi, MD
Professor and Chair, Neurosurgery
New York Medical College
Director, Neurosurgery
Westchester Medical Center



Fawaz Al-Mufti, MD
Associate Program Director
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Radiology,
New York Medical College
Specialties: Neuroendovascular, Neurocritical Care



Justin G. Santarelli, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Radiology,
New York Medical College
Specialties: Neurosurgery, Endovascular and Cerebrovascular Surgery

 


Gurmeen Kaur, MD
Specialties: Neuroendovascular, Stroke


How to Apply

Applicants interested in the Neuro-Interventional Surgery Fellowship Program at Westchester Medical Center should contact the Program Coordinator and submit the following items for review:

  • Application (provided by Program Coordinator)
  • Brief Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Minimum of two letters of Recommendation
  • Residency Verification Letter
  • Fellowship Verification Letter, if applicable
  • USMLE/COMLEX I, II, III Score Reports
  • ECFMG Certificate, if applicable

Neurology Applicant Prerequisites: Stroke, Vascular Neurology, or Critical Care Fellowship

Radiology Applicant Prerequisites: Diagnostic Neuroradiology Fellowship

Interviews for the Neuro-Interventional Surgery Fellowship occur in April /May of every year, and applicants are accepted two years in advance to accommodate other fellowship training. We are currently accepting applications for the July 2023 start.


Contact Us

Chirag D. Gandhi, MD
Program Director

Fawaz Al-Mufti, MD 
Associate Program Director 

Christine Loscri
Fellowship Coordinator
Phone: 914.493.8795
Christine.Loscri@wmchealth.org 

Mailing Address

Westchester Medical Center
Department of Neurosurgery, Macy Pavilion, Suite 1325-1333
100 Woods Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Fax: 914.493.2424