Jonathan H. Smith, M.D.
What attracted you to medicine and neurology?
Neurologic disease impacts patients unlike anything else in medicine, unexpectedly robbing the fundamental characteristics of their humanity. The patient may be left with any given spectrum of disability, from a complete change in demeanor and personality, to disabling breathlessness and inability to swallow food and water. I was attracted to Neurology by this very challenge, where diagnosis frequently rests in the clinical skill of the practitioner, and not on any routine diagnostic test. Likewise, the management is often challenging and dependent on knowledge of basic science, clinical and ethical judgment, and a strong bond between the clinician and patient. I love these daily challenges which Neurology presents, and find caring for patients with neurologic disease to be incredibly rewarding.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
Mayo Clinic is respected world-wide for putting patient care first, and strong clinical training is likewise, the cornerstone of the residency program. While I have other academic interests, my priority was to be the best clinical Neurologist that I could be. As a fourth year medical student, I elected to do a one-month visiting student rotation in the Mayo Department of Neurology. I was convinced without a doubt that Mayo was the perfect place to help me achieve my goals.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Adult Neurology Residency unique?
Mayo Neurology manages to offer intense, world-class training, while remaining laid-back and always accessible. The size of the department allows education to be a priority, and I can truly say that I leave work every single day feeling that I have furthered my learning. The faculty are highly dedicated to teaching, and go out of their way to better our experience. The department is incredibly supportive of its residents, and will guide you, whether your end-goal is academic or private practice, research, or education.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I had not expected that my typical working day at Mayo would be so enjoyable. There is an incredible working relationship between the residents and faculty, between the residents and ancillary staff, and among the residents in cooperating programs (such as Physical Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurosurgery) in what is really an interdisciplinary medical practice.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
I had lived only in larger urban areas (Washington, D.C., Rochester, NY, and Chicago) prior to coming here, so I was not sure what to expect. Happily, it has been a welcomed change of pace, and I have found Rochester to be a very relaxing city in which to live. My outside-of-work experience is heightened by my relationships within the very welcoming resident community, shared hobbies, and great restaurants. Rochester offers a low cost-of-living, easy commutes, and parking. Many residents especially enjoy making weekend trips to the "Cities" (Minneapolis and St. Paul) for concerts, sporting events, and a large variety of wonderful restaurants.
What does your future look like right now?
I am interested in pursuing a Headache Neurology fellowship, and have a strong interest in academics.