Perspectives from Past Residents

In their own words, some of our residents explain their training experiences and why they chose Michigan for their residency.

Khoi Than, M.D. (2008-2014) 

Dr. Khoi Than

In addition to an awesome first-year curriculum, the social atmosphere at Michigan is great as well.

Not only does Michigan provide excellent neurosurgical training, but it does so in a very positive setting.

The neurosurgery department here is the friendliest that I encountered on the interview trail -- from every attending, to administrator, to nurse, to resident. The department throws some great social events throughout the year (golf outings, receptions, bonfires, etc.), and residents and our families frequently hang out with each other. We also make close friendships with residents in other departments. Our surgery intern class is particularly close, and we hit the town together at least every week. Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to live—affordable, clean, diverse, lively, and fun! And since we strictly adhere to hour regulations, time spent outside of the hospital is also very happy.


Anthony Wang, M.D. (2008-2014) 

Dr. Anthony Wang

Our neurosurgery internship year is designed to expose our residents to the fields most relevant to our chosen specialty, while providing experience in the care of a broad variety of surgical patients. Much of the year is spent rotating through general and subspecialty surgery services including trauma/burn, ENT, vascular, GI, pediatrics, and ortho spine. In addition, we spend time rotating through anesthesiology, SICU, neurology, and of course, neurosurgery. Intern responsibilities at Michigan typically include the care of floor, stepdown, and ICU patients -- often simultaneously. In no less than four of these months, you will spend the bulk of your time in the ICU, which is made possible through the invaluable work put in by staff PAs, NPs, social workers, and our ancillary services. Throughout your internship here,

you can expect respect from your seniors and faculty with regard to your abilities, schedule, work hours, and family.

The truth is, I arrived expecting to duck my head and trudge through my internship, learning nothing but bitterness along the way, but my experience here has been nothing short of fantastic. 


Emily Levin, M.D. (2007-2013) 

Dr. Emily Levin

Junior (PGY-2) residents in Neurosurgery spend the full year on both of the adult neurosurgery services, Peet and Kahn. Typically, the junior is in the OR two to three days per week, in clinic one to two days per week, and is on call one night per week. Floor work is primarily managed by interns and nurse practitioners, with the junior resident actively participating in morning and afternoon rounds and assisting with consults. On the Peet service,

the junior resident gets a wide exposure to functional cases, including DBS, depth electrodes, vagal nerve, motor cortex and spinal cord stimulators and intrathecal drug infusion pumps. There is a variety of simple spine cases, including some minimally invasive.

The junior resident begins to participate in diagnostic angiography with the neurovascular neurosurgeon and the neuroradiology team. There is also exposure to simple craniotomies for biopsy, with Stealth experience. In clinic, the junior gets exposure to the Neuroendocrine pituitary clinic, with a large referral network. This clinic is attended by both neurosurgery and endocrine faculty and residents, and is a great educational experience. Clinics also include a wide variety of new patients and the standard post-operative follow-ups for all faculty. The junior resident takes call five nights per month. We are strictly adherent to the 80-hour work week, and days off are respected.


W. Chris Fox, M.D. (2004-2010) 

Dr. Chris Fox

I wanted to be a part of Michigan Neurosurgery because of

the combination of clinical excellence in all aspects of neurosurgery, along with a collegial work environment where everyone enjoys what they do

and working with the other members of the department. I have not been disappointed. A direct example of the support residents receive within the department is my fellowship. With the department's support, I have been able to spend a year as an endovascular fellow at the University of Florida.


J.C. Leveque, M.D. (2002-2008) 

Dr. J.C. Levenque

While a chief resident on the adult neurosurgery service, I was responsible for coordinating the day-to-day care and management of our patients. The caseload was quite diverse, encompassing aneurysms, complex spinal fusions, surgical procedures for epilepsy, intraspinal tumors, and most other high-level cases. At times, it was tough trying to coordinate the junior and senior residents, nurse practitioners, and consult teams while spending many days in the OR, but we had a truly dedicated team who all pitch in to get the work done. It's only as chief that you really realize how essential all of the other support staff truly is - without them my job would have been much harder and much less enjoyable.

I also found that the chief resident year is when I began asking "Why?" instead of "How?" in reference to the clinical problems we encountered.

My surgical training was top-notch, and by the end of my chief year I was confident that I had been well-prepared to handle the vast majority of cases that might enter my office.

I think most chief residents would tell you, however, that at this time, you suddenly start trying to figure out the algorithms that you're going to use to select patients for surgery vs. those that can be managed non-operatively. I really feel that our program shines in this respect, because we have had a clinic-based experience throughout the entire residency, rather than clumping it all into one year. Taking calls throughout multiple years has also been useful, as I've been able to become much more independent managing and triaging patients than I was as a second-year resident.

Overall I'm very satisfied with my training here at Michigan. I've been surrounded by an amazing faculty and really feel that they include me in the care of their patients, from the clinic to the OR to the bedside.