Neurology Residency

Neurology Residency Header

The neurology residency program at Spectrum Health, in partnership with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 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 mentors?

If you answered yes, then you should consider the our program!

We are a young program: We just graduated our third class of residents in 2020. We work to improve the learning experience of our residents and make changes based on recommendations of the residents and with 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 most 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 neurologists and neurohospitalists, but 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 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 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.

Cynthia Hingtgen, MD, PhD, FAAN
Program Director
Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Neurology Residency Program 
Section Chief, Neurology Integrated Care Campus Beltline (ICCB)
Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Spectrum Health Medical Group

Shan E. Abbas, MD, FAES
Associate Program Director and Program Director-Elect 
Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Neurology Residency Program 
Program Director, SH/MSU Epilepsy Fellowship Program
Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Spectrum Health Medical Group

Our neurology residency is a four-year program with a balanced mix of outpatient and inpatient neurological experiences. All blocks are four weeks in length, totaling 13 per academic year. A special block dedicated to learning neuroanatomy, neurological examination techniques and the concepts of neurological localization will occur in the PGY1 year. Residents will participate in a longitudinal, continuity clinic one half day per week in the PGY2 – PGY4 years. Residents currently take in-house overnight call at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. On average, call is no more than once every six days. In 2021, we will initiate a night float system for overnight coverage of the main hospital.
  • Six blocks: internal medicine (including one block of MICU and one block of cardiology)
  • One block: pediatrics
  • Two blocks: emergency medicine
  • One block: neurological localization
  • 2 weeks: psychiatry
  • 5 weeks: introduction to outpatient neurology
  • 5 weeks: introduction to inpatient neurology
  • Six blocks: inpatient neurology (four blocks at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, two Blocks at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital)
  • One block: outpatient neurology
  • One block: EEG/epilepsy
  • Two blocks: pediatric neurology (one block inpatient and one block outpatient)
  • Two blocks: neuro-intensive care unit
  • One block: elective
  • One block: psychiatry 
  • One block: outpatient pediatric neurology
  • One block: neuroradiology
  • One block: inpatient neurology 
  • Three blocks: EMG and neuromuscular
  • Two blocks: EEG and epilepsy
  • Four blocks: electives
  • Five blocks: inpatient neurology (three blocks at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, and two blocks at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital)
  • One block: pediatric neurology
  • Four blocks: outpatient neurology
  • Three blocks: electives
Common electives include but are not limited to:
  • Movement disorders
  • Additional EMG/Neuromuscular rotations
  • Headache management (including injection therapies)
  • Multiple sclerosis care
  • Research
  • Subspecialties in epilepsy
  • Additional neuro-intensive care unit rotations
  • Interventional vascular neurology
We provide various educational opportunities during your training.
  • Morning report/Transition of care - Daily - Discuss new admissions and change over patients
  • Neuroscience grand rounds - Every other week 
  • Neurophysiology - Weekly - Learn basic science and clinic topics involved in conducting EEGs, EMGs, evoked potentials and in the care of patients with epilepsy ad neuromuscular disease.
  • Didactic lecture topics – Weekly - Covering concepts in the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of common neurological diseases
  • Morbidity, mortality quality assurance - Monthly
  • Journal club (resident run) – Monthly
  • Interesting case conferences (resident run) - monthly
  • Neuropathology lecture modules
  • Evidenced-based medicine modules
  • Ethics modules
All residents, beginning in their PGY-2 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 you. 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. Applications and the following documents are accepted only through the Electronic Residency Application Service. We require:
  • Excellent communication skills
  • MD applicants should have scores of 205 or higher on both Step 1 and Step 2 of the USMLE
  • DO applicants should have scores of 550 of higher on both COMLEX 1 and 2
  • Must pass the CS exam on the first attempt
  • Recent clinical experience within the United States
  • Three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a neurology experience)
  • Applicants must have graduated medical school within the last three years
  • 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 more information on visiting medical student opportunities, please 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.

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