Neurology Residency

Brain Scan

The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Neurology Residency program offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient experiences, providing a robust and diverse training environment for resident neurologists, preparing them well to go on to fellowship opportunities or general neurology practice. The overall goal of our program is to prepare individuals to be competent and compassionate clinical neurologists. This is accomplished through an educational plan designed to provide increasing responsibility in patient care over the four years of training so that residents reach a level of competence in the independent care of patients with neurological disease by the end of their training. All training is accomplished in an environment that maximizes resident education, patient safety and the well-being of the resident physicians.

From the Program Director

Do you love neurology? Do you want to make a difference in your own education? Are you looking for a variety of clinical experiences? Do you want to work with a great group of colleagues and enthusiastic clinical teachers?

If you answered yes, then you should consider applying to our program!

We are a young program: We just graduated our fourth class of residents in 2021. We work hard to improve the educational experience of our residents and make changes based on recommendations of the residents, and with the input of our residents. When we are asked, “What kind of resident are you looking for?” we say that we are looking for someone who wants to be an active part of their education and work with the faculty to enhance the learning experience. Our faculty is young and enthusiastic – this is the first job for many of our neurologists.  They have a drive to grow their programs and teach their favorite aspects of neurology. There are still some of us with grey hair, but the enthusiasm remains.

We are a broad program: We have a good base of general outpatient neurologists and neurohospitalists, but we also have faculty that cover the range of neurological specialties from vascular care (including interventional) and neurocritical care to dementia, epilepsy, headache, movement disorders, neuroimmunology and neuromuscular care.  Our residents spend time in each of these inpatient and outpatient specialties and get one on one time with our accomplished faculty.

We are a deep program: We draw patients from across Michigan. We see patients with typical migraine and peripheral neuropathy, as well as patients with rare forms of movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases. We have very active surgical treatment programs for epilepsy and movement disorders and our residents participate in the care of these patients. We have multidisciplinary care clinics for patients with advanced neuromuscular disease, ALS, Huntington disease, dementia and Parkinson disease. Our residents participate in multiple research and patient safety projects and present their works regularly at local and international meetings. Most of our graduates have at least one publication in a peer reviewed journal from research conducted during their residency.

We are a supportive program: We think of ourselves as a big diverse family. There is an amazing cohesiveness to our residents. This is a program where everyone helps each other reach their full potential. We watch out for each other’s safety and health.  We share the workload. We teach others what we have learned and share pearls of wisdom. As a healthcare community, we value wellness and resilience and help our residents learn lifelong skills to prevent depersonalization and burnout. Our faculty care about the futures of our residents and help them to find their special area of passion in neurology. We’ll help you make your bright future – whether it’s a fellowship or first job – a reality.

We welcome you to consider this unique opportunity to be part of a vibrant neurology training program. We are truly building the future here!

Shan E. Abbas, MD, FAES
Program Director, Spectrum Health/MSU Neurology Residency Program
Program Director, Spectrum Health/MSU Epilepsy Fellowship Program
Clinical Associate Professor, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Spectrum Health West Michigan


Our neurology residency is a four-year (categorical) program with a balanced mix of outpatient and inpatient neurological experiences. 

Our academic year comprises of 13 blocks, each four weeks long. Most rotations are framed in two-to-four-week assignments in the context of these academic blocks. A special block dedicated to learning neuroanatomy, neurological examination techniques, concepts of neurological localization and basics of neurology will occur the PGY1 year. 

Residents participate in a longitudinal, continuity clinic one half day per week in the PGY2 – PGY4 years. These clinics provide an opportunity for the residents to see general outpatient neurological cases, as well as an opportunity to follow patients who they have interacted with in the hospital.

Call is taken for Butterworth Hospital and is in-house. A night-float resident covers five night a week, the remaining two nights are assigned to other residents in a manner that assures patient safety and minimizes resident fatigue. Night-float assignments are never longer than two weeks at a time.

PGY1
  • Six blocks: internal medicine (including one block of MICU and one block of cardiology)
  • One block: pediatrics
  • Two blocks: emergency medicine
  • One block: neurology bootcamp
  • Two weeks: psychiatry
  • Six weeks: introduction to inpatient neurology
  • Four weeks: introduction to outpatient neurology
  
PGY2
  • Ten weeks:  Butterworth Hospital neurohospitalist junior 
  • Six weeks: Butterworth Hospital stroke consults
  • Four weeks: Butterworth Hospital stroke primary service
  • Five weeks: Butterworth Hospital night-float
  • Eight weeks: Butterworth Hospital neuro-intensive care unit
  • Seven weeks: outpatient neurology
  • Four weeks: core EEG rotation
  • Four weeks: inpatient pediatric neurology
  • Four weeks: elective
 
PGY3
  • Twelve weeks: Blodgett Hospital
  • Four weeks: Butterworth Hospital night-float
  • Two weeks: Butterworth Hospital stroke consults or neuro-intensive care unit
  • Eight weeks: outpatient neurology
  • Four weeks: EEG rotation with an individualized curriculum
  • Eight consecutive weeks: EMG / neuromuscular medicine
  • Four weeks: outpatient pediatric neurology
  • Ten weeks: electives
 
PGY4
  • Twelve weeks: Butterworth Hospital neurohospitalist senior
  • Two additional weeks: Butterworth Hospital neurohospitalist service or Blodgett Hospital
  • Four weeks: Butterworth Hospital night-float
  • Ten weeks: outpatient neurology
  • Four weeks: inpatient pediatric neurology
  • Two weeks: outpatient pediatric neurology
  • Four weeks: psychiatry
  • Fourteen weeks: electives
 
Electives are generally taken in 4-week (1 block) or 2-week (half block) assignments. Common electives include, but are not limited to:
  • research
  • neuroradiology
  • movement disorders
  • sleep medicine
  • interventional vascular neurology
  • advanced stroke care (includes experience in tele-stroke)
  • advanced headache management (including injection therapies)
  • multiple sclerosis care
  • subspecialties in epilepsy
  • additional neuro-intensive care unit rotations
  • additional EMG/Neuromuscular rotations
 
We provide robust educational opportunities during training. 

Residents have protected time from 1 – 5 p.m. on Thursdays for high-quality structured didactics. A majority of these didactics are run by our faculty members. These offerings covers all areas of neurology, including aspects of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuropathology. Included in these hours are a monthly journal club, monthly contemporary issues and ethics discussion, monthly interesting case conference, twice monthly board review sessions, and a variety of sessions that cover healthcare disparities, wellness, as well as practice-related issues such as documentation requirements and billing/coding

Residents also participate in case-based educational sessions in neuroradiology, EEG and EMG in a Friday noon conference.

Morning report/Transition of care meeting occurs daily, at Butterworth Hospital and is an avenue to discuss interesting cases, localization and formulation, as well as findings.  

Neuroscience Grand Rounds are offered three times a month. Residents are invited to present their research activities, and senior residents compete for an annual research award. Residents also participate in Grounds Rounds by presenting interesting cases. A twice yearly clinical-radiological-pathological case conference is an additional avenue for resident participation. 

Residents also participate in a resident led, faculty supervised, Morbidity, Mortality & Quality Assurance conference monthly; both inpatient and outpatient cases are discussed. 
All residents, beginning in their PGY2 year, will participate in a three-year integrative scholarly research program to become familiar with the methods, regulations and ethics involved in the conduct of responsible research. Toward that end, this research program will 1) provide the resident with training and experience in planning and conducting research, and 2) educate residents on how to be better consumers of clinical research through didactic and experiential learning. This project includes understanding the concepts of evidence-based medicine and putting those practices to use, demonstrating knowledge of the ethical considerations involved in clinical research, hypothesis generation and data analysis, mastering skills for scientific writing and making oral presentations.
 
For research support, the scholarly activity support team can assist. The scholarly activity support team also offers biostatistics consultation, and poster preparation. Residents will be expected to submit their work for presentation at an institutional Research Day.

The majority of the resident research projects results in presentation at national/international meetings and/or publication in peer-reviewed journals.
We participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Applications and the following documents are accepted only through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
 
  • Applicants must have excellent communication skills, must have graduated medical school within the last three years, and must possess recent clinical experience within the United States.
  • We do not have a minimum score requirement for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK or COMLEX 1 and 2, but strongly favor applicants who have passed these examinations on their first attempt.
  • International Medical Graduates must meet clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification. 
  • Three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a neurology experience) must be included with your application.
  • All candidates must possess U.S. work authorization or be eligible for J-1 status.
 
For more information on our program, contact Susan Grice, program coordinator. 
 
For information on visiting medical student opportunities, visit our Visiting Learner page. 
Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our residents, staff and their families. In addition, our program provides educational monies to support your ongoing education. Download our salary and benefits document to learn more.

  • Grand Rapids

    West Michigan - A Great Place to Call Home

    As the second largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids is an amazing place to work, live, play and explore. This vibrant city is known for some of the best festivals in the world, like ArtPrize, and is only a short 45 minute drive to Lake Michigan. The city has been recognized by numerous sources, including The New York Times, where Grand Rapids was ranked as one of the 52 Places to Go. Additionally, Thrillist consider Grand Rapids the best food city in the state of Michigan, and in 2018, Trulia chose Grand Rapids as the Hottest Real Estate Market to Watch in the country. Grand Rapids is a city with endless experiences for people of every age. Learn more.