Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a “Categorical” and an “Advanced” PG-2 year?

The Iowa Neurology Residency Program has a Guaranteed PG-1 Preliminary Neurology residency position for all candidates who match in the PG-2 year if they elect to complete their internship at our institution (Categorical). However, they can also do their internship elsewhere and join our program for their PG-2 year (Advanced).

Do you have a formal mentoring program?

At the onset of residency, all residents are paired with a faculty mentor who conducts the bi-annual performance review, guides the resident in developing their individual learning plan, and serves as a sounding board throughout residency. Mentorship also occurs continuously through contact with faculty, fellows and other residents through rotations, COC clinic, and research and quality improvement programs. You will find our people to be highly accessible.

What kind of clinical cases will I see?

We hold a unique position in the region. Our patient population is an ideal mixture of “bread and butter” general neurology and complex (tertiary) referral patients from across the state and neighboring regions. All care is delivered through one of our two neighboring teaching hospitals (UIHC and the VAMC), and all of our faculty have practices accessible to the residents. The UIHC is the only academic medical center in the State of Iowa, with a full range of advanced medical treatments, and where the population of the state (3 million people) seeks the majority of their tertiary medical care. Therefore, there is a large range of interesting and complicated cases referred by other doctors, including neurologists. Iowa City, like any university town, has a large international community and cultural diversity, and the patient mix reflects this.

What is the call schedule?

PGY-2 overnight call begins with traditional 24 hour call to provide each resident an introduction to our system of healthcare delivery. Call is taken 1 night in 6. This is followed by night shift call (night float) the rest of the year. Night shift call is arranged in three shifts (2 weeks each) for each PGY-2 resident. We think this blend, designed by the residents, exposes the junior residents to a wider number of the senior residents early in the year and promotes adequate rest, education and patient safety. Senior residents (PGY-3 and 4) take in-house supervisory call on average less than 3 nights per month, and both supervise the junior residents and develop their skills of independent practice. Faculty are continuously available, and there are clear rules in place for when to call the attending.

What off-site elective opportunities do you offer?

Off-site elective rotations that provide a unique educational opportunity are allowed in the U.S. or at any institution in the world contingent upon approval by UI Hospitals and Clinics and the participating institution. International rotations are coordinated through the hospital’s Office of International Health Rotations and permitted in the PG-3 and PG-4 years. In recent years, we have had residents who did rotations in countries such as New Zealand and Ecuador.

What are your requirements for international medical graduates?

We seek the most qualified candidates from around the world, and encourage applications from international medical graduates. Requirements include:

  • ECFMG certification
  • The J-1 visa is supported. H-1b will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. clinical experience and letters of recommendation from U.S. neurologists are strongly encouraged. High USMLE scores, recency of graduation, research experience and a record of commitment to neurology strengthen the application.

I like to teach. How do you promote that?

We actively engage our residents as teachers, through mentored activities as varied as Journal Club, student clerkship lectures, and team rounds. Resident lectures are observed and critiqued by a group of “master teacher” faculty, and residents-as-teachers sessions are held annually. Additional teaching certificate courses are offered by the hospital.

How does your program promote resident leadership?

Leadership has been described as the forgotten seventh core competency, and we regard it as important as any of the others. Ample opportunity is available through the team structure of many of our rotations. In addition to 2 PGY-4 chief residents, each PGY-3 resident is assigned a leadership liaison role (e.g., clerkship liaison, schedule liaison), to provide all residents with a mentored leadership experience.

Do you have a research project requirement for graduation?

The residency research project is optional but strongly encouraged. All residents are free to explore areas of interest with faculty of their choosing. We have very active programs in basic, translational and clinical research, and residents are welcome to participate in them. The program provides a travel allowance for presentation at major meetings, and peer-reviewed publications often results from the residents’ work. Elective time can be used for research.

Do graduates meet all of the requirements for Board Certification?

Yes, the residency (including the CNS-TP) meets all requirements for board eligibility by the American Board of and Psychiatry and Neurology. For specifics on board certification requirements visit the ABPN website.

Do your graduates pass the Neurology Boards?

Yes, our graduates do exceptionally well on the board examination administered by the ABPN. This is due in part to our strong Didactic Curriculum and our exceptional teachers. We also require all residents to take the annual Residency In-Service Training Examination (RITE).

What do your residents do after graduation?

Most of our graduates seek fellowship training, obtaining top opportunities all over the country. A few go directly into practice. Our graduates currently practice in over 30 states and 4 foreign countries. Our graduates are likely to find success in private and academic practice, See our current Recent Graduates page for details.

What fellowship opportunities are available?

We currently have three ACGME-accredited fellowship programs: Clinical Neurophysiology, Sleep Medicine, and Vascular Neurology. We also have six non-accredited fellowship programs: Movement Disorders, Clinical Neuropsychology; Clinical Electrophysiology; Epilepsy; Neuromuscular (ACGME accreditation is pending), and Interventional Vascular Neurology. See Fellowship page.

In what ways is the department growing?

Eleven faculty members have been recruited in the last two years, and eight additional recruitments are underway. More people means more space, and we are presently undertaking phase 1 of a departmental expansion that will bring new clinic and office space. Designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the creation of new multidisciplinary clinics are just two of our ongoing projects. We are slated for obtaining 5,000 sq ft of new laboratory space in the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Center in 2/2014. The department is obtaining new core equipment such as a confocal microscope for use by the scientists including residents as well as research dedicated EEG machine.

Why is Iowa City considered such a nice place to live?

Iowa City is the quintessential college town with the vibrance and cultural opportunities that exist with a young, educated population, and also with typical values and ambiance seen in midwestern towns. It's clean, safe, and everything is easily accessible. There are many fewer hassles of daily living than are seen in big cities. It is very easy to commute by foot or bike, with paths everywhere. It has a great city bus system (with bike racks!), wonderful parks, sports and schools. Iowa City often is listed in national rankings related to quality of life:

  • No. 13 "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, April 2011)
  • "Healthiest Town in the United States" (Men's Health, February 2010)
  • "Top Towns for Jobs" (MSN CareerBuilder, January 2010)
  • One of America's Top 100 Adventure Cities (National Geographic Adventure, October 2009)
  • No. 5 "Best Places to Begin a Career," Metros Under 500,000 (Forbes Magazine, July 2009)
  • No. 13 "Top College Towns for Jobs" (Forbes Magazine, May 2009)
  • No. 5 best-educated city under 250,000 (USA Today, August 2009)
What types of extracurricular activity exist in Iowa City?

There are 15 different festivals and art fairs, plus concerts and race events. There are many music venues, sports events, neighborhood street fairs, and garden walks. There is a very large mall and several smaller ones, 41 parks, 9 golf courses, 6 public tennis facilities, 6 public pools, some lakes and a reservoir with trails, camping, and boating. There are bike trails, some famous bookstores, the world-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop, many galleries, and excellent museums. There are half a dozen or more performing arts venues. Find more information at the GME website or from the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Why is Iowa City frequently described as a “great place to raise kids"?

There is a diverse social life centered around raising children and kid’s activities. There is ice skating, bowling, organized sports, 50 public parks, miniature golf, a great public library, fun centers, swimming pools and three beaches, 9 museums including a children's museum, dance companies and public recreation centers that feature many activities for kids and families at little or no cost. We also have 20 movie screens and 50-licensed daycare providers, including the UIHC Child Care Center. The Iowa City public schools are perennially ranked among the top schools in the nation.

What job opportunities exist in the region for my spouse/significant other?

In March 2011, Iowa City had an average of 3% unemployment, mirroring the State’s excellent economy. There are many types of jobs in the region, especially in high tech, health care and research. The two largest employers are the UIHC and Rockwell Collins Corp (an aviation electronics company). The University of Iowa operates a Dual Career Network that helps find jobs for spouses of university employees.