Jennifer M. Martinez-Thompson, M.D.

What attracted you to neurology?

During medical school, I was drawn to diagnostically challenging patients encountered during my internal medicine and neurology rotations. Establishing a diagnosis in order to appropriately treat was like solving a puzzle, but the use of the neurological examination to localize a problem and guide further evaluation is what ultimately drew me to the specialty.

I also felt that management decisions often rested on knowledge of basic and translational science more so than in other specialties, and that there were ample opportunities to interface and be involved with that end of the research spectrum. I think it is a particularly exciting time to be in the field, and I look forward to the diagnostic and treatment advancements to come during my career.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?

I have a long-standing relationship with Mayo Clinic, having done basic research as an undergraduate and then staying for medical school. After seven years here, I am still amazed by the resources available for patient care and research!

Multidisciplinary care across all specialties is the norm as the institution strives to provide high-quality patient care. To achieve this, resident education has always been a top priority. I felt quite strongly about staying for residency knowing that I would be receiving superb clinical training.

Mayo Clinic also has various resources available for residents interested in academic medicine. There are opportunities to get intramural funding for research, attend grant-writing and publication workshops, and receive study design and statistical support through the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS). These were available to me as a medical student and will continue to be a welcome resource during my residency years.

What makes the Mayo Clinic Adult Neurology Residency unique?

The program focuses on providing structured didactic education throughout residency. This was unique as I interviewed at other residency programs, and I was impressed by how comprehensive and well-organized Mayo's residency was. We are exposed to this early in our residency, with courses spanning from neuroanatomy to the clinical management of common neurological conditions.

Our clinical responsibilities are planned such that we are able to consistently attend lectures or else watch them online from home. I appreciate having this didactic component to supplement my clinical experiences.

We also interact with world-class faculty in the department who are easily accessible and always eager to teach. I can pick up the phone and call if I have a question about a difficult patient and talk to an expert about the best approach to management.

There has also been a good balance between rare and bread-and-butter neurology in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. I feel comfortable knowing I will have had exposure to a broad range of pathology by the time I finish residency.

What is living in Rochester, Minn., like for you?

Part of my childhood was spent in a small town with snowy winters, so moving to Rochester was fortunately not much of an adjustment! The winters here can be easily avoided with the network of underground tunnels and skyways connecting most of the downtown area.

In the last five years, there has been a lot of growth in the community, with a much welcome addition of new restaurants and shops. It does continue to keep its small-town feel and is a great place to raise a family with a very affordable cost of living. Also worth noting is the virtually nonexistent traffic, which means that from anywhere in town you can drive to the clinic or hospital in about 10 minutes.

My husband and I love biking and will frequently access the biking trails that extend from the city into neighboring towns for day trips. For those from big cities, the Twin Cities are just an hour-and-15-minute drive away. My husband and I try to drive up once a month to see a concert or at least to get a fix of Puerto Rican cuisine.

What does your future look like right now?

There are several subspecialty areas I am considering for fellowship, but I am also keeping an open mind while early on in my neurology training. Ultimately, my goal is to practice at an academic medical institution. I am thrilled to be a part of this residency program and look forward to what the future has in store for me.

Feb. 10, 2014