Welcome from the Program Director

Welcome to the Department of Neurosurgery residency training program at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. As our mission statement indicates, our goal is to train highly motivated, confident, and technically skilled neurological surgeons who will become future leaders in neurological surgery. Our program has a rich tradition in helping to shape such individuals: The surgeons who graduate from our residency program are not only skilled in the technical aspects of this demanding specialty, but also appreciate the humanistic side of the practice of medicine and surgery and enjoy the collegiality of their peers. Over 90% of our resident alumni have gone on to become faculty members of neurosurgery departments at leading academic medical institutions across the United States. This is no accident, and is due to a number of factors, including:

  • The high quality of our residents, all of who are intellectually outstanding and highly motivated.
  • The careful mentoring that our trainees receive from experienced and nationally prominent role models.
  • The extensive research training our residents undergo at neuroscience laboratories at NYU Langone Medical Center and other prominent institutions.
  • The availability of mini-fellowships within each residency that provide our graduates with the specialized, state-of-the art clinical skills desired by academic departments.

NYU Langone’s Neurosurgery Department faculty is unsurpassed in its depth of clinical experience in every sub-specialty area: Our full-time neurosurgical faculty consists of 18 neurosurgeons, 16 of whom are board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons (the other two are ABNS board eligible), as well as three dedicated research faculty members-a total of 21 faculty members dedicated to the training of our residents. The department is organized into sub-specialty teams that span all of our participating institutions, with each individual faculty member focused in a specific area of clinical and research expertise. These areas include: vascular/endovascular neurosurgery, tumor and skull base neurosurgery, complex reconstructive and minimally invasive spinal surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, neuromodulation, peripheral nerve surgery, adult and pediatric epilepsy surgery, stereotatic radiosurgery, and neurotrauma. Affiliated faculty members from other departments of clinical and research expertise at NYULMC also participate in resident teaching in endovascular neurosurgery (interventional neuroradiology), skull base surgery (neurootology), and neurooncology.

Just as importantly, our high volume of patients, extensive surgical facilities, and diverse clinical settings afford our residents a unique opportunity to gain hands-on surgical experience in all of these sub-specialty areas, beginning at the very start of their residency. Our department trains two residents per year, and performs more than 4,000 major neurosurgical procedures yearly across our three participating institutions. Over the course of their seven-year residency, trainees are given increasing levels of responsibility in patient evaluation, management and surgery as they rotate through the various services in NYU Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital Center, and the VA New York Harbor Health Care System. (For a year-by-year description of our program’s structure, click here.)

When our residents are assisting in surgical procedures, they also have access some of the world’s most sophisticated facilities and equipment:

  • On NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus, there are five state-of-the-art, fully-equipped neurosurgical operating suites available daily, with the capability of obtaining extra rooms as necessary. There is also a new, state-of-the-art, dedicated combined OR/angiography suite, in addition to the existing two-room digital neuroangiography suite that continues to be available to neurosurgery.
  • In addition, the Medical Center is set to break ground on the new Kimmel Pavilion, which will include a dedicated neurosurgical operating facility containing eight state-of-the-art ORs-including two with intraoperative MRI capabilities, and two dedicated combined OR/angiography suites-that will comprise the entire second floor of the structure. This cutting-edge facility will also include a new neurological intensive care unit, new neurological care step-down units, and new patient rooms, as well as a pediatric “hospital within a hospital” with dedicated pediatric neurosurgical space.

The NYULMC Department of Neurosurgery is committed to training future thought leaders in neurosurgery. Throughout the period of residency training, residents begin the process of life-long learning and recognize that the practice of neurosurgery, as with all fields of medicines, requires this level of personal and professional commitment. For this same reason, a significant participation in neurosurgical research-including an entire year dedicated to an elective research effort-is a key element of our program as well. Strong emphasis is also placed on supporting residents in their career goals, which vary from individual to individual. Many of our residents have gone on to pursue productive academic careers, while others have become important high-level practitioners in the community setting.

Whatever path our residents end up choosing, however, it is always stressed that our field primarily provides service to the public and that our efforts must have value to each individual patient. Above all, NYU Langone’s neurosurgery residents learn how to interact with patients and families in a compassionate and humanistic way. They also learn that patient care is a team effort, in which each member of the team is equally important in attaining the best patient outcomes. The team includes nurses, nurse practitioners, operating room personnel, social workers, case managers, consultants physicians, house staff from other services, fellow neurosurgical residents, medical students, and the residents’ attending neurosurgeons. High-quality patient care can never be accomplished on our own. Our residents, like everyone in the Department of Neurosurgery at NYU Langone, understand that the patient always comes first-and that fulfilling this responsibility requires all of us to pull together.

- Howard A. Riina, M.D.