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Sample Residency Personal Statement in Neurology

I have been fascinated by how the brain learns since childhood. I especially love learning new languages and finding patterns in the cadence and rhyme. I sometimes mixed up the variety of languages that I was learning over the years, Bulgarian with Russian, Polish with Chech, and Italian with Spanish, but I did understand the meaning of the words most of the time. I have always fully embraced computer-assisted assisted advancements that help the brain learn. I finished in top 10% in medical school and went on to complete my Masters and PHD in Neurophysiology, working alongside and learning a great deal from  world-renowned neuroscientist Dr. XXXX at XXXX in Toronto. I hope to be selected for a residency position in your distinguished program on the basis of my zeal and experience in all things related to Neurology.

Since I began medical school, I have always thought in terms of combining research and practice in Medicine. I investigated at length, for example, some of the complexities of Parkinson’s disease under the supervision of Dr. XXXX and then started helping medical students to learn – by teaching Neuroanatomy and CBL at the UBC Faculty of Medicine in Prince George, where my partner was doing research. My teaching career challenged me to continue to improve as an educator, educating, guiding and mentoring a large number of nursing, biology and medical students. For the last five years at the UXX Faculty of Medicine, we have gone through a very creative period full of unique learning and collaboration opportunities and curriculum renewal. This position has been an excellent training platform for me to continue to learn all that I can about Medicine in general and Neurology in particular. I am especially thankful that my extensive teaching experience has given me the opportunity to develop a special interest in the provision of health care services to underserved areas, through outreach, enhanced inter-professional communication, and the development of new technological avenues of advancement, particularly telemedicine.

I look forward to staying active in research for the duration of my career in medicine.  My special interests in the field of Neurology gravitate towards degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or dementia as well as stroke treatment. I hope to pursue fellowship training in this area following the completion of a residency program. I have become a master at the balance of family and career and I am ready for your rigorous residency program in Neurology.   I hope to continue learning and being challenged as a neurology resident. I could not be more fascinated by the complexity and mystery of Neurology. Over the course of my 12-week pre-clinical block in Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology and completing subsequent clinical electives in Neurology and Pediatric Neurology, I have found myself increasingly attracted by the scientific rigor of the field and the joy that I find both treating patients and supporting research in this area. Nothing excites me more than elegant and logical physical examination and the localization of pathology, forming and testing hypothesis based on clinical findings. I most enjoy the doctor-patient relationships and strong therapeutic solidarity through teamwork, facilitating patient education and the promotion of self-advocacy. My research background allowed me to challenge the view that Neurology is a predominantly diagnostic specialty with little opportunity to treat pathology and change patient outcomes. I now want very much to be part of the improvements continually being made in stroke diagnosis and treatment with new methods of thrombolysis and thrombectomy and using the cortex own plasticity to help with recovery.

My leadership skills have been developed as a supervisor and mentor of  medical students and my contributions to a variety of educational research projects (Health Traveling roadshow; Histology and Anatomy pilot projects). Mentorship has been instrumental in the enhancement of my professional skills. Dr. XXXX at the GAT unit in Prince George has provided me with an important role model as both a physician and a patient advocate. She has taught me a great deal about dementia and Parkinson’s and the cutting-edge of therapeutic processes and patient relations. Another especially important mentors in Neurology include Dr. XXXX at the Northern Health Clinic in Vanderhoof has also shared with me many special and effective strategies for dealing with patients with dementia and Parkinson’s.

I feel strongly that I am a good fit with your Neurology Program at the University of XXXX. I live nearby and I know most of the hospitals in the area quite well, having spent almost ten years of Masters and PhD studies going between London, Hamilton and Toronto hospitals and research facilities. I am familiar with the loud heavy traffic on the highways and the quaint neighborhoods of High Park or Schomberg. As my partner’s career has developed, he is now able to come back to Toronto and our little family with a baby of a year-and-a-half will be reunited. I have the full support of both of them to give my all to your residency program. My mother also now lives in Toronto, along with an extended support system of cousins and aunts. Thus, I will be in a position to give myself 24/7 to Neurology.

Thank you for your consideration of my application to the University of Toronto.


The Humanitarian Side of Neurology

As a neurologist, you´ll have the opportunity to get involved in a number of humanitarian missions, whether for a short amount of time, or for an extended period at the beginning or during the later stages of your career. You could even choose to practice in a developing country if you wanted to, and you have no family members that really need you to stay in your home country. There are, however, better ways than others to get involved. In this article, we´ll cover a few ways, a few reasons why you´d want to do humanitarian work and some inspiring individuals to show you the sort of experience that can be achieved.

Inspiring Neurologists

You are probably not going to do humanitarian work for an award, but there are certainly some inspiring people who have won awards for their efforts.

In 2015, Dr. Babar Kockhar, MD, MBA, received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association at their Annual Black and Blue Ball. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to patients with neuromuscular disorders, and improved patients´ and families´ quality of life.

Dr. Khokhar, the assistant professor of neurology, created a dedicated clinic at Yale for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He also set up a support group for ALS patients at Gaylord Hospital. He makes home visits to patients that are no longer ambulatory and volunteers at an MDA camp for children.

Dr. Khokhar joined the Department of Neurology after completing a neurology residency and fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and West Haven VA Medical Center.

He is the Medical Director of Ambulatory Services for Yale Medical Group (YMG) and leads their clinical optimization división, too. He´s also the Director of the Neurology Outpatient Clinics, Chief of the General Neurology Division, and the Director of the Yale MDA-ALS Clinic. His clinical interests include motor neuron disorders and general neurologic diseases.

Dr. Richard Tallman was recognized as Physician Recipient of the 2015 Frist Humanitarian Award at the end of the year. This Austin Diagnostic Clinic neurologist joined the Clinic in 1984. His specialty focus is neuro-oncology, multiple schlerosis and neuromuscular disease.

Dr. Tallman´s work with the Travis County Medical Society’s Project Access Program, a coordinated system of volunteer physician care, hospital care, diagnostic services and medications assistance for the low-income and/or uninsured of Travis County impressed many.  

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Statements of Excellence for Residency & Fellowship Positions on Behalf of Applicants in Neurology

Life as a neurology resident

Formal Opportunities for Neurology Residents to Study Global and Humanitarian Health

How can you get involved in humanitarian work? Nowadays, there´s even a track to get you trained up for the work during your residency.

Aaron Berkowitz, MD, PhD, Tracey Milligan, MD and Tracey Cho, MD, announced that there is a new track for neurology residents in the The American Academy of Neurology in 2015.

They argue that many residents that participate in rotations abroad are oftentimes inadequately prepared and poorly supported. A new track in global and humanitarian health has been developed to provide a structured curriculum designed for resource-limited setting, which includes components such as:

  • Mentored, longitudinal experience in a resource-limited setting abroad that can be beneficial to both the host institution and the resident.
  • Mentored, longitudinal experience in a similar but domestic setting.
  • A mentored education, research or quality improvement project in collaboration with a foreign or national institution where the experience has been sought.
  • Participation in academic global health conferences, lectures and other educational activities outside of those related to neurology.

The authors report that residents will be paired with a mentor at the beginning of their second year of their neurology residency, in order to develop a 2-year plan to achieve the above goals.

Funding support comes from within the residency program, or from mentor support if residents are working on a particular project that already has funding. Here´s more detail about the track.

Iraqi Refugees at High Risk of Neurologic Disorders

Approximately 1 in 6 Iraqi refugees that seek medical assistance is diagnosed with a neurologic disorder, according to a study presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. The refugees with a neurologic diagnosis self-reported a history of torture 60 times more often that those without a neurologic diagnosis.

“The objective of this study was to look specifically among those people receiving health and humanitarian assistance and to determine their burden of neurologic disorders and what specifically those disorders are,” said Dr. Mateen, a neurologist and student in International Health at John Hopkins University in Baltimore.

There were 36,953 registered Iraqi refugees and asylum-seekers in Jordan in 2010; neurologic diagnoses were uncovered in 1,295 refugees, which accounts for 4% of all registered Iraqi refugees. “The total data set had a mean age of 37 years, and 49% were male,” Dr. Mateen stated. “Among the people studied that had neurologic disorders, the mean age was slightly higher at 43 years old, and 46% were female.”

Some of the most common neurologic diagnoses were back pain (30.5%), headache (13.4%), epilepsy (12.9%), nerve root and plexus disorders (10.0%), cervical disc disorders (7.2%), and other cerebrovascular disease (4.3%). A total of 7,642 received health assistance, 17% of whom sought medical assistance for neurologic disorders.

“Approximately one in 20 Iraqi refugees with a neurologic diagnosis self-reported a history of torture, which was higher than Iraqi refugees without a history of torture,” Dr. Mateen reported. Just 3.1% of refugees without a history of torture also had a neurologic diagnosis. Those with a history of torture were 1.6 times more likely to have a neurologic diagnosis.

“Neurologic disorders have rarely been described in displaced persons but likely pose a significant and growing burden of disease on a global scale,” noted Dr. Mateen.

This study, she emphasized, is the first of its kind and involved a large amount of data. The organization they were working with, RAIS, is also expected to expand throughout the Middle East and throughout northern Africa, as conflict continues in the regions. For more information on this study, see the Neurology Reviews website.

There are many ways to get involved in humanitarian work, whether it´s through your residency program, an organization in a conflict zone, or at home, serving the underprivileged people in your own country. But first things first! Getting onto the right residency program is critical. Let us know if you´d like us to help you write your personal statement, and do real justice to your motivations, experiences and education.

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Fellowship Personal Statement, Autoimmune Neurology, Chinese Medicine, Chinese Applicant

Mature, experienced, dedicated and focused, I am a Chinese woman and a doctor with a degree not only in medicine (MD-2000) but I also have advanced training in Neurology (Masters-2003) and Cerebrovascular Diseases (PHD-2009). It is my hope that this makes me a strong candidate for a Fellowship Position in Autoimmune Neurology. I could not take my work more seriously and I look forward to joining your distinguished team. I am looking forward to long hours and I am convinced that if given an opportunity to prove myself that I will soon be recognized as an important asset to your program. I like very much both clinical practice and research. A thoughtful and responsible person with a great passion for the areas of medicine with which I engage, when confronted with a problem, I solve it. Tenacious, I work until I accomplish the task at which I am engaged, especially as a doctor.

I became aware of the medical world when I was not quite six years old and was hospitalized with ‘pneumonia’ that later turned out to be tuberculosis. The most vivid memories that I have of this period are the smell of the Chinese medicine that I had to swallow twice a day and the worried look on my mother’s face when she saw me lying in bed exhausted. From that time forward, I wanted to become a doctor, in my childlike mind, to be in a position to relieve my mother’s anxiety.

I found myself already especially intrigued with Neurology by my third year of medical school and most keen to explore and learn about the human brain. The special patient population to which I have found myself most strongly pulled early on were those individuals disabled by a stroke. The intensity of my engagement in this area of medicine was reinforced by disabling strokes striking close to home, an uncle and a very close neighbor who was bedridden for a long time.

Approximately one year prior to coming to the USA, I switched my subspecialty interest from Cerebrovascular Diseases to Autoimmune Neurology (it is called Neuroimmunological and Infectious Diseases Department in our hospital in China). Most of my experience at the time had had been with stroke patients. While you might feel somehow frustrated at treating stroke patients with the fact that we hardly have something that can really help them other than thrombolysis, which still most patients couldn’t get due to the limited time window and many other reasons. I found myself searching for something more interesting and challenging, and began to focus on Autoimmune Neurology, in particular, the way in which the immune system attacks both central and peripheral nervous system. I like that fact that we can do something to help these patients get better, and sometimes completely recover from the diseases. One of the most exciting patients that I ever had was an Anti-NMDAR encephalitis case, who was a young female with subacute onset mental and behavioral disorder, delirium, hallucinations, no preceding cause and no fever. She was sent to the Psychiatry department but failed to respond to medication. It took a while for them to realize that she needed the help of a neurologist. Antibody was detected, and later a tiny teratoma was found in one of her ovaries. After tumor was removed, and together with immune therapy, she recovered completely after 3 months. It was so encouraging. I also had encountered two LGI1 encephalitis during the year, both of whom were interesting cases, and other autoimmune diseases. I especially like this area of study also because of the fact that in recent years, with more antibodies being discovered, more target antigen being identified, more diseases and their symptoms are better understood.

Since September of 2015 I have been working at my ideal job. I could not feel more privileged to work at the Mayo Clinic in XXXX, USA. Just to walk through the doors is a great thrill. Thanks to my mentor, Dr. XXXX, who guided me in this broad field, I have been learning as much as I can as quickly as possible about cancer autoimmunity and immunochemistry technologies, in particular. It would be an enormous honor to be awarded a Fellowship that would enable me to continue to give my all to the Autoimmune Neurology Department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

As an Autoimmune Neurology Specialist, I look forward to dividing my time between clinical practice and research. I want to engage with the patients, get to know them and treat them holistically, find that hidden tumor and get to it as quickly as possible in the most effective and efficient ways we can. I will be alert to the possibility of recognizing new clinical subtypes as a result of clinical practice, questions that might lead to further research in our field. I embrace as my full responsibility staying abreast of all new developments and technological innovations that occur in Neurology, Immunology, and related areas of investigation. I would particularly look forward to an opportunity to work on the mechanisms of initiation of cancer autoimmunity in the central nervous system, as part of research on possible treatment targets.

I thank you for considering my application for a Fellowship Position in Autoimmune Neurology

The Future of Neurology Residency and Fellowship Training

Neurology Residency