Adult Neurology Residency

Our adult Neurology residency program is an advanced (i.e. non-categorical) training program that begins at the PGY-2 level. A preliminary year in Internal Medicine (i.e. PGY-1 or “internship”) is required prior to beginning residency. Excellent options for the preliminary year in Internal Medicine are offered at Stanford and various Bay Area programs (e.g. CPMC, SCVMC, etc). Recently expanded to eight (8) adult slots per year, our Program is at an optimal size for our residents to leverage the tremendous number of clinical, research, and educational opportunities that Stanford has to offer. The Program remains small enough, however, to allow for close attending oversight, one-on-one instruction, and meaningful effective interactions between trainees and faculty. There is a strong emphasis on mentorship and career development. Stanford Neurology remains a very close-knit family!

Clinical training for our residents is conducted through comprehensive hands-on experiences in our four affiliated hospitals: Stanford Health Care (SHC), Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH), Palo Alto VA Medical Center, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). The hospitals, each with their own characteristic patient populations, provide a rich and diverse source of clinical materials and experiences. Our program has always strived for a balance between inpatient (both primary and consultative) and outpatient experiences, one that best reflects the day-to-day activities of most academically-minded neurologists in the U.S. today.

Each of our four affiliated hospitals draws referrals from a different patient population, from the tertiary referrals at SHC and LPCH, to the bustling general neurology of California’s second busiest county hospital (SCVMC). Each hospital is staffed by Stanford faculty and is an integral part of the teaching program. We place emphasis on a well-rounded exposure to all aspects of neurology in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. The clinical experiences range from top-notch programs in neurocritical care, stroke, and epilepsy monitoring to a wide range of neurology subspecialty and general neurology clinics. The clinical services are supported by excellent ancillary services at all four hospitals; this enables trainees to concentrate on the neurological aspects of each case with a minimal amount of “scut” work.

  Clinical Activities Call
  • primary inpatient
  • floor/ER/ICU consults
  • outpatient clinics
“In-house” call
(“night float” system)
  • floor/ER/ICU consults
  • outpatient clinics
Home call
  • floor/ER/ICU consults
  • outpatient clinics
Home call
  • primary inpatient (EMU)
  • NICU/PICU/floor/ER consults
  • outpatient clinics
Home call

All adult neurology residents spend at least three (3) months rotating through subspecialty clinics at SHC, including time at the new Hoover facility. These clinics include dementia/behavioral neurology, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, neuromuscular/MDA/ALS, neuro-oncology, headache, stroke, and others. All residents maintain a general neurology continuity clinic throughout their three years of training. Residents are paired with one or two selected faculty mentors in continuity clinic through the entire duration of their training. This allows for a continuity of instruction, as well as a continuity of care. Continuity clinic is one afternoon per week with residents assigned to either SHC, SCVMC, or the Palo Alto VA.

Our Program provides as much flexibility as possible for our residents. Residents each have approximately ten (10) blocks of elective time over the course of their three years, the majority being in the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years. This provides the time for intensive exposure to neurology subspecialties and facilitates individualized career development during residency training. Electives are often taken in such areas as neuroradiology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropathology, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, sleep disorders, neuro-oncology, behavioral neurology, etc. Electives need not be restricted to the Department of Neurology. Further, off-site electives, including international ones, are easily possible with special arrangement. Residents have three weeks of vacation per year.

Residents interested in a research career may apply for the Neuroscience Scholar Track during their PGY-2 year. This track provides opportunity to engage in dedicated research, either for 24 weeks during residency (typically the PGY-3 year), or as a post-graduate research fellow on an NIH R25 grant for 1-2 years after completion of residency training.

Adult neurology residents also spend three months in Child Neurology during their PGY-3 year; typically two months are spent at LPCH and one month at SCVMC. Both rotations offer a combination of inpatient and outpatient care of children with a wide array of neurologic disorders. Our residents benefit from the largest and best Child Neurology faculty on the West Coast. It is also an ACGME requirement that all Neurology residents spend one month rotating through Psychiatry. This is a wonderful experience for our residents as the Psychiatry program at Stanford is renowned and welcoming.

Our residency program strives to maintain a rich environment for education. There is a Morning Report four days/week, an “Educational Half-Day” every Wednesday afternoon, and Neurology Grand Rounds each Friday morning. There are also optional subspecialty conferences in epilepsy, stroke, neuromuscular diseases, clinical neurophysiology, tumor board, child neurology, etc. Basic science conferences at Stanford are given by the world’s best, literally the “who’s who” in modern neuroscience. (See Weekly Teaching Calendar and our Conference Schedule)

International Medical Students

We accept applications from international medical school graduates, although the application process is extremely competitive. Ours is a small program that draws hundreds of applications, including many from the top medical schools in the U.S. Having had hands-on recent clinical experience in the U.S. is mandatory. Only those with exceptional credentials are invited for interview. An international medical school graduate must have a valid ECFMG certificate, completed USMLE Part III, and one year of an ACGME-approved Internal Medicine year prior to commencement of neurology training.  

Neil Schwartz, MD, PhD

Program Director,
Adult Neurology Residency Program
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences