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Neurosurgery Residency Program

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Message from Program Director

The match process into residency is a rite-of-passage for every medical student and an equally important annual tradition for training programs, with both looking to find the perfect fit. Your decision to pursue Neurological Surgery will undoubtedly be among the most important and life-changing choices you will ever make, and we are genuinely thrilled to welcome you within the folds of our profession. Each of you has made that choice after much deliberation and the next phase of your training will expose you to a field offering tremendous cognitive and technical intensity, career growth potential, and unquestionable patient gratitude. It will also require of you a significant degree of commitment and personal sacrifice as you develop into a fully trained neurosurgeon. Over the next few months, as you explore the training programs across the country, you will begin to discover the many ways that neurosurgery can be successfully taught within the varying frameworks of an individual program’s cultures and traditions. Identifying which of these programs best fits your personality and priorities is the challenge that each of you now face.

The neurosurgical training program at Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College has been fully accredited by the ACGME for more than 25 years. Over that quarter-century, it has been developed into a program that prides itself on uncompromising clinical excellence and a philosophy of the department as family. From these simple but powerful ideas have emerged many successful and highly respected graduates who have pursued careers in all the branches of neurosurgical subspecialization. More recently, with the infusion of new departmental leadership and additional subspecialized faculty, there is a sense of renewed optimism and many great expectations for the near future. This has been further fueled by the recent expansion of training sites as well as the additional expansion of the residency program complement. I am confident that based on the pillars of clinical excellence, education, academic opportunity, and mentorship, the residency in neurological surgery will continue to flourish and am grateful for an opportunity to be able to share our unique program with you.  

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


Program Overview and Curriculum

Overview

The Department of Neurosurgery at Westchester Medical Center/New York Medical College has been continuously accredited for 25+ years without any significant citations. Our last site visit was in 2012 and the program is fully accredited until 2022. As of July 1, 2020, we accept two residents per year for our seven-year training program. Our primary site is Westchester Medical Center and the adjacent Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Hackensack University Medical Center serves as a second training site.

Our faculty is composed of experts across all neurosurgical subspecialties. Each faculty member is fully committed to mentoring and teaching residents to achieve excellence in clinical and academic neurosurgery, which includes both clinical and basic science translational research. Our residency program is a seven-year program and the goal is to produce master surgeons at the end of the training period.

Below you will find an outline of each year throughout residency. We follow a 13-block schedule.

Clinical Rotations and Responsibilities

Internship: PGY 1

Neurosurgery residents are enrolled in the Neurosurgery Department from year one. The PGY1 year includes the following rotations:

  • Three blocks of neurosurgery
  • Three blocks of neurosciences, which is comprised of neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology and neuro palliative care
  • One block of anesthesiology
  • One block of trauma surgery
  • One block of vascular surgery
  • One block of plastic surgery
  • Three blocks of Neuro ICU

During the PGY1 year, the neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Junior Resident call while rotating on neurosurgery, neurosciences, anesthesiology, and neuro-ICU services
  • Attend the “SNS Intern Boot Camp Course.”
  • ABNS Part 1 Examination for self-assessment.
  • USMLE Step III exam and must pass before November of PGY2 year.

Junior Resident: PGY2

The PGY2 year includes the following rotations:

  • Nine blocks of neurosurgery
  • Four blocks of Neuro ICU

During the PGY2 year, the neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Junior Resident call
  • Attend the “SNS Junior Boot Camp Course”
  • ABNS Part 1 Examination for self-assessment
  • ABNS Neuroanatomy Exam

Junior Resident:  PGY3

The PGY3 year includes the following rotations:

  • Seven blocks of Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Three blocks of Adult Neurosurgery
  • Three blocks of Endovascular Neurosurgery

During the PGY3 year, the neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Junior Resident call
  • Attend the “Research Update in Neurosciences for Neurosurgery (RUNN) Course
  • Prepare Neurosurgery CQI and Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board
  • ABNS Part 1 Examination for self-assessment

Junior/Senior Resident:  PGY4

The PGY4 year includes the following rotations:

  • Neurosurgery

During the PGY4 year, the neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Mix of Junior and Senior Resident call
  • ABNS Part 1 Examination for credit

Senior Resident:  PGY5

The PGY 5 year includes the following rotations:

  • Research
  • Research options include:
    • Neurosurgery Basic Science Lab under mentor, Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal, PhD
    • Enfolded Endovascular or NCC Fellowship
    • Off-site experience based on career goals

During the PGY 5 year, the neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Coordinate and run monthly research conference

Senior Resident:  PGY6

The PGY 6 year includes the following rotations:

  • Senior Resident at WMC
  • Hackensack University Medical Center

During the PGY 6 year, the Neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Senior Resident Call

Senior Resident:  PGY7

The PGY 7 year includes the following rotations:

  • Chief Resident at WMC
  • Chief Resident at Hackensack University Medical Center

During the PGY 7 year the Neurosurgery resident is responsible for the following:

  • Senior Resident call
  • Administrative oversight of neurosurgery service, both clinical and academic

Educational Curriculum

Our didactics are comprised of the following conferences:

  • Weekly: NICU Rounds, Chief of Service Rounds, SANS Board Review, Resident Clinic
  • Biweekly: Adult Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board
  • Monthly: Resident Case Conference, Neurosurgery Grand Rounds, Indications Conference, Joint Cerebrovascular Conference, Research Meeting, Morbidity and Mortality, Critical Care Grand Rounds, Resident Focused Topic Review, Multidisciplinary Trauma Conference
  • Quarterly: Journal Club

Our curriculum was created in an effort to feature the breadth of knowledge which should be attained by an individual completing residency training in Neurosurgery. The specific structure of resident education in Neurosurgery is defined by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). Our curriculum is designed as a three year cycle meant to aid our faculty, residents and allied health practitioners in their continued medical education and covers many neurosurgical topics, including trauma, spine, vascular, epilepsy/functional, pediatrics, tumors, neuropathology, neuroradiology and more.

Research and Clinical Trials

The Department of Neurosurgery is involved in basic science and clinical research as well as a growing array of clinical trials. To take full advantage of these opportunities, residents are encouraged in the early years of training to identify areas of interest and collaborating research mentors. Through a systematic curriculum focused on biostatistics and research design, our trainees learn the critical skills required to pursue increasingly sophisticated research projects. Additionally, with the on-going formation of research cores dedicated to epidemiology, biostatistics, tech transfer, and molecular science at New York Medical College, the spectrum of research opportunities is rapidly expanding.

The WMC Neurosurgery clinical faculty perform diverse research within their respective specialties. Currently, leading edge research includes the study of surgical outcomes and risk factor stratification in the areas of cerebrovascular disease, spinal cord injury, pediatric neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury, peripheral nerve disease, neurosurgical oncology, and neuro-critical care. This rapidly growing research effort is supported by a full-time research and trials coordinator and also provides critical research opportunities for nearly 30 medical students annually. The addition of a mandatory monthly research meeting, coupled with an intense focus by both the faculty and trainees towards advancing the science of neurosurgery has resulted in a dramatic increase in departmental academic output over the past three years.

During the PGY-5 year, our residents can also choose to pursue a year of dedicated research in our Neurosurgery Basic Science Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal, who has been an integral aspect of education for our trainees over many years. Under Dr. Jhanwar’s guidance, residents are educated in translational and regenerative medicine, with unique hands-on training in laboratory research. Areas of research include the molecular genetics of glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and metastatic brain tumors as well as spinal cord injury. Previous residents in the lab have received prestigious awards, such as the Van Wagenen Fellowship and numerous New York State and New York City research awards. Additionally, work in the lab has also resulted in many high impact publications, oral presentations at both national and international meetings, and prestigious post-residency fellowships for participating residents.


Current and Past Residents

Current Residents

Michael Kim, MD 
NS7   


Michael was born and raised in San Jose, California and attended Brown University for both his undergraduate and medical degrees in the Program of Liberal Medical Education. He concentrated in Biology and then assisted with medical curriculum development through the use of technology in medical education. He otherwise spent much of his free time dancing on the Brown Ballroom Dance Team. His interests in neurosurgery are broad.

Education
Medical School: 
Brown University School of Medicine 
           
Specialties 
Special Clinical Interest:
 Broad

 

John Wainwright, MD 
NS7  
 

John grew up in Bethesda, MD, and attended The George Washington University where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Art History and was a student leader of the Emergency Medical Response Group. He then went on to receive an M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. He received his M.D. from New York Medical College where he was elected to AOA, The Gold Humanism Honor Society, and was a recipient of the Neurosurgery Department Award. In his spare time he enjoys skiing, sailing, and photography. His interests in Neurosurgery include Spine, specifically Complex Spinal Reconstruction and Deformity as well as Spinal Trauma.

Education
Medical School
: New York Medical College

Specialties
Special Clinical Interest:
Spine, Neurocritical Care, and Pediatric Neurosurgery

 

Tolga Sursal, MD
NS6


Tolga was born in the Netherlands and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. After graduating high school at Norfolk Academy, he went on to the University of Virginia where he completed a bachelor's degree in physics and music. After college, he completed a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program and master's degree in biotechnology at Harvard University Extension School. He received his medical education at Eastern Virginia Medical School. His hobbies include hiking, piano, guitar, and chess. His main interests in neurosurgery include trauma and head injury, neuro-oncology, and neurovascular surgery.

Education
Medical School:
Eastern Virginia Medical School

Specialties
Special Clinical Interest:
Trauma and head injury, neuro-oncology, and neurovascular surgery

 

Jared Cooper, MD
NS5   


Jared was born and raised in Long Island, New York, and attended Case Western Reserve University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Psychology, with minors in Biology and Chemistry. He went on to pursue an M.S. in Biology at Hofstra University, graduating with distinction. He was granted an M.D. from New York Medical College, where he received the Department of Neurosurgery award. In his spare time, Jared enjoys spending time with his family and dog, as well as playing the drums, piano and guitar, golfing and skiing. His interests in neurosurgery include neuro-oncology, spine and neurotrauma.

Education
Medical School:
New York Medical College
 
Specialties
Special Clinical Interest:
Neuro-oncology, spine and neurotrauma

 

Jose Dominguez, MD
NS4  

Jose was born in Los Angeles, California. He has lived in Mexico, Florida, Wyoming and Texas. He attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and earned a B.S. in Biochemistry with honors. He then achieved a M.S. in Physiology at Loyola University Chicago. He was granted his M.D. when he graduated from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. In his spare time, Jose enjoys running and driving. His interests in neurosurgery are broad.

Education 
Medical School:
 Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Specialties
Special Clinical Interest:
Broad

 

Alan Stein, MD
NS3

Alan was born in Philadelphia and raised in Boca Raton, FL, and attended Florida Atlantic University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, earning a B.S. in Biology. While at FAU Alan was an active member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He was granted an M.D. from Florida Atlantic University and was inducted as a member into Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He went on to complete his intern year in General Surgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family and dogs, weight lifting, and fishing. His interests in Neurosurgery include neuro-oncology and complex spine.

 

Nitesh Damodara, MD
NS2

Nitesh received his medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School where his interest in neurosurgery started early with an emphasis on vascular research focusing on aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and computational fluid dynamics. Born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, he went to Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania for a degree in neuroscience with a minor in mathematics. At the time he was also on the editorial board for the university newspaper and then worked as a freelance editor for medical journals. In his free time, Nitesh enjoys playing guitar and recording music. He also enjoys motorsport and taking his car on to the track.

 

Monica Mureb, DO
NS1  

Monica was born and raised in Westchester County, NY. She attended the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University where she majored in Neural Science and graduated with University Honors. She then received her degree in osteopathic medicine at New York Institute of Technology COM, during which she completed a research fellowship in the Department of Neurosurgery at NYU Langone Health under the mentorships of Drs. Douglas Kondziolka and Howard Riina. Her interests within neurosurgery include open and endovascular neurosurgery and stereotactic radiosurgery

 

Sabrina Zeller, MD
NS1

Sabrina was born and raised in New Jersey. She attended Duke University, where she graduated with distinction in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and a minor in Psychology. She then returned to New Jersey for medical school at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she was elected to AOA. Sabrina’s hobbies include hiking, playing the piano, and playing with her pet cat. Her interests in neurosurgery are broad but include skull base surgery and neuro-oncology.


Alumni

Anubhav Amin, MD (2020)
Fellowship: 
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Neuro-Oncology

Arthur Wang, MD (2018)
Fellowship: Columbia University, Endovascular Surgery

Jennifer Ronecker, MD (2018)
Fellowship: Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's, Pediatric Neurosurgery 

John Gillick, MD (2016)
Fellowship: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Complex Spine Surgery

Craig Shannon, MD (2016)
Current Position: New York Medical College, Assistant Professor

Michael LaBagnara, MD (2015)
Fellowship: The University of Virginia, Complex Spine Surgery

Dhruve Jeevan, MD (2014)
Fellowship: The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jayson Neil, MD (2014)
Fellowship: University of Utah, Skull-based Surgery

Ryan Ormond, MD (2012)
Fellowship (2012): Emory University, neuro-oncology
Fellowship (2013): William Van Wagenen Fellowship, University of Bonn

Ladislau Albert, MD (2011)
Current Position: Private practice in San Antonio, Texas.

Amrith Jamoona, MD (2009)
Fellowship: University of Indiana, endovascular neurosurgery

Ibrahim Omeis, MD (2008)
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins, complex spine surgery and spine oncology
Current Position: Baylor University, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery


Avinash L. Mohan, MD (2007)
Fellowship: Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL, pediatric neurosurgery
Current Position: New York Medical College, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics

Mark Hornyak, MD (2006)
Fellowship: University of Utah, skull base surgery
Current Position: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Virany Huynh Hillard, MD (2005)
Fellowship: University of Utah, spine surgery
Current Position: New York Medical College, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery.

Joseph DeMattia, MD (2004)
Fellowship: Memorial Sloan-Kettering, neuro-oncology
Current Position: New York Medical College, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Chiedozie Nwagwu, MD (2003)
Fellowship: Methodist Hospital and Indiana Neurosurgery Group, endovascular neurosurgery
Current Position: University of California, Irvine, Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery

Joshua Rosenow, MD (2002)
Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic, pain and functional neurosurgery
Current Position: Northwestern University School of Medicine, Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery

Kaushik Das, MD (1999)
Fellowship: Barrow Neurological Institute, spine surgery
Current Position: New York Medical College, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery


Faculty

Full-Time CORE Faculty

Chirag D. Gandhi, MD, Chair and Professor
Cerebrovascular and Neuroendovascular surgery

Fawaz Al-Mufti, MD, Assistant Professor
Neuroendovascular Surgery and Neurocritical Care

Kaushik Das, MD, Associate Professor
Spine Surgery

P. Charles Garell, MD, Associate Professor
Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery

Simon Hanft, MD, Section Chief, Neurosurgical Oncology 
Skull Base Surgery

         

Virany H. Hillard, MD, Associate Professor
Spine Surgery

Stephan A. Mayer, MD
Neurocritical Care

Avinash L. Mohan, MD, Assistant Professor
Pediatric Neurosurgery

Carrie R. Muh, MD, Section Chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery
Pediatric Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Surgery

Jared M. Pisapia, MD, Assistant Professor
Pediatric Neurosurgery and Peripheral Nerve Surgery

         

Justin G. Santarelli, MD, Assistant Professor
Cerebrovascular and Neuroendovascular Surgery

Michael E. Tobias, MD, Assistant Professor
Pediatric Neurosurgery

Rachana Tyagi, MD
Spine Surgery

   
     

Research Faculty

Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal, PhD
Research Associate Professor

Hackensack CORE Faculty

  • Harshpal Singh, MD, Site Director
  • Patrick Roth, MD
  • Hooman Azmi, MD
  • Robert Goodman, MD

Emeritus Faculty

Raj Murali, MD
Professor Emeritus


How to Apply

Our residency program participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Applications will ONLY be accepted through ERAS.

Application Requirements:

Through ERAS, please submit the following:

  • Three Letters of Recommendation (maximum of four)
  • USMLE Step 1 and Step 2
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal Statement
  • Medical School Transcript
  • If applicable, your standard certificate from the ECFMG. This is required prior to the start of residency.

The interviews for the 2020-2021 cycle will be held entirely virtual.


Contact Us

Chirag D. Gandhi, MD
Program Director

Christine Loscri
Residency Coordinator
Phone: 914.493.8795
Email: 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