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A message from Deborah Young Bradshaw, MD, FAAN, Associate Chair of Education

Deborah Bradshaw, MDServing as Residency Program Director for the past 15+ years was the privilege of my professional life. I worked during a period of exuberant departmental growth.  Through the efforts of two extraordinary Chairs, Dr. Jeremy Shefner and Dr. Luis Mejico, the Neurology Department established a top-notch stroke service, a full-service Neuro-ICU run by neurologists, and underwent a several-fold expansion of the faculty and subspecialty clinics.

Over the past decade and a half, we increased our resident complement to 9/year. In addition, we made numerous changes to the structure of our residency. We introduced a night-float system long before many other neurology programs.  After the advent of TPA treatment for acute stroke, we created the Neurology Admitting Resident rotation, which assigns a senior neurology resident to the Emergency Department at University Hospital.  When thrombectomy of large vessel occlusions up to 24 hours after onset became the gold standard for stroke care, we doubled the number of residents assigned to the ED.  Among other things, this ED team accounts for Upstate’s stellar door-to-needle times. 

In 2015 we renovated the residency curriculum creating 5-week blocks, organized anatomically “top-down.”  We begin with blocks concerning common disorders of the brain, stroke and epilepsy.  The Stroke Block features Stroke Code Simulations held in the new Simulation Center.  From there we move down the nervous system ending with neuromuscular disorders in the spring. Each block includes anatomy, physiology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, neuropharmacology, pediatrics, ethics and, of course the common and rare disorders and their treatment.  Each block is led by a course director, who organizes the block, invites guest speakers and keeps the material up to date. Each block ends with a Jeopardy to cement learning.

2019 brought radical change to the resident continuity clinic: the clinic block.  Prompted by increased ACGME requirements for resident participation in their continuity clinic and by national trends, we restructured the clinic so that each resident spends a full week in clinic every 6 weeks.  This week is a mix of 5 half days in continuity clinic and 3 half days in a subspecialty “track” of their choice” as well as “Dentist (half) Day” when they can attend to personal needs.  This change was a major boost to resident wellness.

Every step of the way, we worked together optimizing the resident experience and workflow and maximizing opportunities for residents to learn from our rich and diverse patient population. The main reason for our success? —resident engagement in program development. Residents are the “boots on the ground” of inpatient neurology. They know where the problems are and can quickly see potential solutions. I found that process of rapid problem-solving exhilarating and remarkably successful. The experience laid the foundation of my interest in physician leadership and sowed the seeds of the Leadership Academy. 

While program development traced the arc of the past 15 years, close one-on-one work with individual residents created its depth and richness for me. We strive to help each resident identify and build strengths, while understanding and working on growth areas. Watching young physicians grow from excited but anxious interns into mature, efficient, and confident neurologists and leaders in just a few years never gets old; each young neurologist offers their unique spin on a story told again and again.

In the richest education environments, learning occurs in all directions. Not only do faculty teach residents and students, residents and students teach faculty and peers teach one another. I learn from our residents every day, and I look forward to many more years of learning neurology with them. I am also eager to continue helping our faculty grow as educators, learners and leaders

I am excited and very optimistic about the direction our program will take under new leadership with Dr. Jenny Meyer. An upstate NY native, she graduated from our medical school, trained in NYC at Albert Einstein School of Medicine and returned to her roots to join our faculty.  Full of ideas, energy, skill, self-discipline and compassion, she will take our program to the next level. She is supported by an outstanding Associate Program Director, Dr. Corey McGraw and a crack administrative team, Mary Phelan, BS, C TAGME and John Reidy, BA.

Dr. Deborah Bradshaw, Dr Jenny Meyer, Education Administrator Mary Phelan, Dr Corey McGrawDr. Deborah Bradshaw, Dr Jenny Meyer, Education Administrator Mary Phelan, Dr Corey McGraw