Message to Residency Applicants

Neurosurgery Residency at the University of North Carolina

Congratulations on your decision to enter into the Neurosurgery Match. Neurosurgery is a truly rewarding career, and residency training is an exciting first step in your career.  The UNC Neurosurgery program’s goals include: 1) training residents to be highly skilled and well-rounded neurosurgeons; 2) preparing them to accept positions that are the most desirable for their intended career paths, and 3) achieving this in an atmosphere in which education and teamwork are highly valued.

Here are some significant features of our program that we would like every candidate to know in addition to the basics (7 year program, 2 residents match per year).

  1. We recently began a new senior level resident rotation at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.  There are 23 neurosurgeons there with an operative volume of about 5,500 cases per year in all major neurosurgical subspecialty areas.  Once this rotation is fully implemented, each resident will spend 6 months there. Currently, our residents are the only neurosurgery residents on site.
  2. We have two five-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Units.   One is in the Children’s Hospital and the other on the Neurology/Neurosurgery adult floor.  We earned Level 4 designation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, the highest possible designation.  The units support our expanding multidisciplinary epilepsy surgery program.
  3. We have a new state-of-the-art Simulation and Skull Base Surgery Lab. This joint undertaking, with the Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology, provides us with the opportunity to develop and teach technical skills in a beautiful new facility that has capabilities for both simulation and cadaver dissection.   The lab was started with a $1M donation from the North Carolina Eye Bank.
  4. Our Neurosciences ICU is a 16-bed unit that typically runs at full capacity and is staffed by our Neurocritical care team. This team is made up of neurointensivists and nurse practitioners who provide 24/7 coverage of all NeuroICU patients.  All of our residents rotate through this service during the PGY-1 and PGY-3 years.
  5. UNC Health Care has a new Spine Center two miles from the main hospital. It houses a multidisciplinary spine practice with members from Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), Anesthesiology Pain Management, and Physical Therapy (PT). The first floor of the building houses MRI, CT, plain X-ray, and procedure rooms. This facility is a great addition to our spine program.
  6. In the last year, UNC has joined three national neuro-oncology consortia. These include the newly formed Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, the CERN Foundation (Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network), and the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC). These efforts will bring us more clinical trials and an opportunity to participate more actively in national clinical research in neuro-oncology.
  7. The campus research engine continues in high gear.  UNC ranks in the top ten institutions nationwide for NIH funding ($379M).  $257M of that goes directly to UNC School of Medicine.  Institutional strengths that offer opportunity for neurosurgery include global health, oncology, head injury, neuro-imaging, gene therapy and nanotechnology
  8. The Department of Neurosurgery continues to grow along with our entire UNC Health Care System.  We currently have 11 neurosurgeons, one medical endocrinologist and one neuro-oncologist, providing services on the UNC Medical Center Hospitals as well as at hospitals in Pinehurst and High Point, NC. 
  9. Our pediatric program is expanding rapidly.  We have a busy fetal surgery program, and new outreach clinics around the state.
  10. Chapel Hill and the Triangle are widely regarded as one of the nicest places in America to live. The Triangle metropolitan area, including Durham, Raleigh and several surrounding communities, has a population of about 1.25 million. The University provides a number of activities ranging from athletic events to arts and music.  Both the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean beaches are easily reached by car on the weekend (but probably not both in the same weekend!)
  11. Follow us on Twitter #UNCneurosurgery.

We hope that you will strongly consider our program. We believe the residents that we train are having outstanding success in their careers and have received a solid foundation of neurosurgical training in an environment that valued their participation. We look forward to meeting with you, and we wish you good luck in the Match.

Best wishes,