What attracted you to neurology?
Neurology deals with a lot of complex problems that are truly multidisciplinary. Neurologists frequently have to play detective and think outside the box to solve clinical problems that don't just affect the nervous system. Neurology is also one of the few specialties that rely on the clinical exam for localization and diagnosis.
I was particularly attracted to the emergency and critical care aspect of neurology; those with catastrophic insults to the nervous system can have devastating long-term consequences unless diagnosed and treated immediately. For me, this offered a career where I could really help patients and their families, while also staying engaged and interested for a lifetime of practice.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
Every learner, from medical student to fellow, is an active and respected part of the patient care team. I experienced this as a fourth-year subintern and was sold immediately. The patient-centered, learner-focused attitude and practice is something you really won't find anywhere else.
Mayo has state-of-the-art facilities and world-renowned faculty in every subspecialty, so you practice in a great environment and learn from the best in their respective fields. Also, completing residency near the beach isn't bad (you can see the beach from the hospital).
What makes the Mayo Clinic Adult Neurology Residency unique?
The residents and faculty really make this program special. Our attendings are really focused on the residents as learners and go to great lengths to ensure we leave the program more than prepared for clinical practice. If you need to develop a special skill or need exposure to a certain population of patients for your future practice, they will make sure you get that experience.
Faculty members have an open-door policy, so you can always stop by to discuss interesting cases or just chat.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
The diversity of patients we see is truly astounding. We serve a large area spanning from southern Georgia extending down the coast of Florida, so we see a lot of underserved patients from rural areas who do not have local access to health care.
We frequently see international patients, which is always a learning opportunity to discover medical issues that are not prevalent in the U.S. Our transplant service also offers a patient population with its own set of unique neurologic issues.
Additionally, the resources here are endless. The degree of research support was unimaginable to me until I got here; you can get project assistance along every step of the way, from study design to statistics to publication. We also get great support to present research at national meetings, which is a great way to network for future collaborations and career opportunities.
What is living in Jacksonville, Florida, like for you?
I'm a beach bum. I live three blocks from the beach and can hear the sound of the ocean when I leave for work, which isn't a bad way to start the day. I enjoy cruising on my beach bike after work, and when the water warms up I enjoy surfing (or attempting to, I should say).
The music scene is pretty active here — I can walk to see live music in my beach town every weekend. We also get bigger acts at the larger venues downtown and in St. Augustine. I am very happy with the quality of life here, particularly being able to live at the beach.
What does your future look like right now?
I am currently interviewing for neurohospitalist positions in the area, where I can be involved in practicing stroke and emergency neurology.