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Current Residents

Several of our residents (names in red) have volunteered to answer your questions about residency at UVA and they are available to be contacted by email.

 

Class of 2024

 

Brianna Bagalkotkar, M.D.
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi! I was born and raised a couple hours from Charlottesville in the Hampton Roads area. I came to UVA for college in 2012 and haven’t left since! It was clear to me that the residents at UVA were a tight-knit group of friends that loved what they did and fiercely supported each other, which is why I ultimately chose to stay for residency- and I’m so glad I did. It’s hard to say no to living in such a beautiful town surrounded by innumerable wineries, breweries, good restaurants, and hiking trails. Outside of medicine, you might see me cooking, tubing down the Rivanna, playing in my rec volleyball league, planning my next trip to a national park, getting way too invested in board games, or doing weekly bar trivia with my co-residents. I will officially be sticking around at UVA for another 2 years to complete my fellowship training in Neurophysiology and Epilepsy (#quadruplehoo). UVA is the kind of place that feels like home and makes you never want to leave (even if you haven’t lived here forever!) because of the incredible people, culture, and education. You’ll leave here not only with an excellent clinical foundation, but a lifelong support system as well.

 

Kristina Key Cain, M.D.
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hello! My name is Kristina and I’m originally from Panama City, Panama. Growing up, I moved a ton and finally settled at UVA for college and have stayed ever since (currently working on that triple hoo status). I’m primarily interested in pursuing a fellowship in Behavioral/Cognitive neurology and am interested in both clinical and basic research. I grew up speaking Spanish (and some German) and am passionate about improving communication and providing quality care to non-English speaking patients. Outside of the hospital, I enjoy hanging out with my favorite person in the world, my daughter Ava, who has now reached toddlerhood. In my spare time, you can also see me running or hiking in my neon five finger shoes, jamming to reggaeton, keeping up with the latest in astronomy, and reading sci fi. I chose to stay at UVA for residency because Charlottesville has truly become my new home. I love that I can easily escape the hustle and bustle of hospital life and go hiking or skygazing in the mountains in just a matter of minutes.

 

Valerie Casuccio, M.D.
West Virginia University School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hey! I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (Let’s go Bucs/Pens!). I went to the University of Pittsburgh for undergrad, where I got my first taste of Neurology as a neuroscience major. Country roads took me to West Virginia University for medical school. I was one of those weird people who came into medical school knowing exactly what I wanted to do, and I never really looked back. I think there’s a huge stigma against Neurology because people assume that you can’t do anything for your patients, but this isn’t the case anymore! It’s such an exciting time to be a part of this specialty, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. At this point, I’m not sure what kind of Neurologist I’ll be. If I’m not in the hospital, you can find me laying by my pool reading, recreating recipes that I’ve seen on the Food Network, or on my Nintendo Switch. When Covid-19 calms down, I look forward to checking out the live music scene in Charlottesville and seeking out the spin class with the best playlist. I picked UVA for residency because I felt that I would be pushed to be the best physician that I can be while being supported by those around me. It has been such a welcoming environment that has made the transition from medical school to intern year so much easier.

 

Donna Petko, M.D.
Creighton University School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hello! I was born in Ukraine and then raised in northern New Jersey and then New Mexico. I went to University of Denver for undergrad, during which time I also studied abroad at the University of Glasgow (which looks exactly like Hogwarts). I attended medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. My favorite part about UVA Neurology is the collegiate atmosphere- everyone here is so kind and wants you to succeed. My co-residents are amazing and I enjoy spending time with them both in and out of the hospital. I enjoy traveling and exploring new places, hiking, drawing/painting, watching movies, and reading. If I’m not in the hospital, you’ll either find me in a bookshop buying more books than I need, walking around Riverview Park, or enjoying the sunshine at a winery.

 

Matthew Rumschlag, M.D.
Western Michigan University School of Medicine
Pronouns: He/Him

Hello! I lived in Michigan my whole life (until residency). I grew up in Rochester Hills, and I went to the University of Michigan for undergrad and Western Michigan University for medical school. I studied Neuroscience and German in college and I was especially fascinated by my neurobiology courses. This led me to do neuroscience research about the genetics of drug abuse. During medical school I found Neurology to be an exciting field, with many medical advances on the horizon. I felt the faulty and residents at UVA were fun and supportive, and I thought Charlottesville was beautiful. There are so many places to hike, numerous vineyards and great food. As far as my current career interests, I am still undecided about inpatient/outpatient Neurology and I have not decided what sub-specialty to pursue yet. I am interested in research and teaching, and there are so many different paths one can take in Neurology. There are many interesting sub-specialties, and possibly new ones on the horizon. Outside of medicine I enjoy soccer, hiking, brewing beer, cooking, board games, video games and traveling.

 

Darayus Toorkey, M.D.
Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Pronouns: He/Him

Hi there! While born in Milwaukee, I called South Jersey my home growing up. After a decade in Los Angeles first for undergrad at USC and then subsequently work in marketing research, I couldn’t hold back the desire to go to med school. This brought me right back east to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. During this time neurology went from, “one thing I’m sure I don’t want to do” to “the thing I absolutely most wanted to do.”  The mystique of the brain, the unique pathology, and the importance of the clinician-patient relationship made for a field I just couldn’t pass up! I chose UVA simply because it was where I was most comfortable. The staff immediately have made me feel so welcome and are constantly working to make sure residents have the opportunity to grow, while never feeling unsupported. I was (and continue to be) amazed at how proficient the residents were at running the team. I found it easy to fall in love with Charlottesville, even though I’d consider myself a big city person. I love having easy access to the mountains for hiking on off days and swinging by the myriad of wineries and breweries on my way back. It feels like there’s something for everybody here which makes it feel like your own hidden gem!

 

Class of 2025

Suzahn Ebert, M.D.
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

My name is Suzahn, and I am from Lewisville, North Carolina which is right outside of Winston-Salem. I went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergrad (Go Heels!) and then returned to Winston-Salem to attend medical school at Wake Forest. While in medical school, I discovered my interest in neurology by doing research in neuro-muscular medicine. I am specifically interested in genetics and neuro-muscular ultrasound (right now, at least!) I chose UVA because of the excellent reputation, diverse clinical opportunities, and wonderful faculty and co-residents, not to mention the great location in Charlottesville. Additionally, the early exposure to outpatient and inpatient Neurology during intern year helps us meet all of the upper level residents and many of the attendings before we become fully integrated into the program. In my free time, I spend time with my dog, Boss, kayaking on the Rivanna, walking on the many nearby trails, hiking, and exploring local restaurants and wineries with friends.

 

Daniela Fishbein, M.D.
Thomas Jefferson University
Pronouns: She/Her

My name is Daniela Fishbein and I’m from Washington D.C.! I went to undergrad at Georgetown University and left the DMV area for medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. I was so excited to move to Charlottesville which is truly my dream city in the mountains with so many restaurants, breweries, and fun people. Most of all, I love that I’m able to enjoy the natural beauty of Virginia on my days off and I always have a buddy with similar interests and hiking-speed. My 2 cats also love living here. I’m not sure what direction residency will take me in the diverse field of neurology, but I can’t wait to learn from the thoughtful faculty and residents here at UVA Neurology these next few years!

 

 

Emily Fisher, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Texas at Houston
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi everyone! I grew up in Austin, Texas (Go Horns), then went north to Indiana for college at the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish). Afterward, I returned to Houston, Texas for medical school at the University of Texas-Houston/McGovern Medical School. I am planning to pursue a fellowship in stroke/vascular neurology. My ultimate career plans are to work in academic medicine – I hope to obtain a position as a neurohospitalist and conduct public health-focused research. I couples-matched at UVA with my husband (psychiatry), and we have both felt welcomed and supported by our departments. Outside of medicine, I pursue my main hobby of going out to eat, walking on the trails in town and off Skyline Drive, and spending time with my dog.

 

Benjamin Meyers, M.D.
Thomas Jefferson University
Pronouns: He/Him

I’m Ben! I grew up in Connecticut and went to the University of Michigan for undergrad. I studied neuroscience but after class spent my time broadcasting college sports and cooking. After two years in science news in NYC and DC, I went to Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia for medical school (shoutout Darayus and Daniela!) I’m interested in medical journalism, general neuro, headache, or sports neuro. UVA’s program is already a great fit because everyone is so ready to help each other and emphasizes patient communication. Not to mention the faculty and best program coordinator! Charlottesville’s outdoors, views, and pace of life are what restore me after a long day. When I’m home, I’m thinking about dogs, puns, college sports, and Bodo’s bagels. (East-coaster approved). There are so many pets in our residency, it’s the best!

 

Kalina Misiolek, M.D.
Indiana University
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi there! My name is Kalina. I’m from South Bend, Indiana, studied mathematics at Columbia University for undergrad, and then returned to Indiana for medical school. I’m very interested in language and aphasias, and my goal is to incorporate my math background into language modeling research that complements my clinical career. All that to say, I’m not sure what I’ll specialize in yet, but I do love cognitive neurology and stroke. Outside of the hospital, I love to read, explore the beautiful hiking trails in Charlottesville, and play soccer!

 

 

Naseem Zomorodi, M.D.
Pennsylvania State University
Pronouns: She/Her

Hello there! My name is Naseem. I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and went to Penn State for both undergrad and med school. My partner Elliott (internal medicine) and I couples matched at UVA together. I picked neurology because who doesn’t love a good game of localize the lesion?! (Elliott and I actually have a board game called ~The Lesion~) In terms of subspecialities, I think neuroimmunology and neurohospitalism are interesting, but I’m still not positive what I’d ultimately like to pursue – I’m looking forward to all of the exposure we get to the neuro service intern year so I can begin to figure it out! My hobbies include hiking/star gazing/most other outdoor activities, tending to my houseplants, painting, food, and exploring Cville with my lovely coresidents.

 

Class of 2026

Andrew Chapman, M.D.
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
Pronouns: He/Him

Hi! I was born and raised in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. These mountains provided ample opportunity for discovery and, as a kid, I spent most of my time exploring the forests, caves, and rivers around my childhood home. I began my collegiate career at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where I studied biology and physics under some truly incredible professors. While an undergrad, I had the opportunity to contribute to research on the atmospheric dynamics of variable stars, a fascinating field of study that further fueled my lifelong love of astronomy. Later, while continuing my studies here at UVA, a course in biochemistry piqued my interest in clinical medicine. Upon recognizing the plethora of biochemical processes occurring within our bodies, I became fascinated by the complexity and beauty of life. Inspired by this reality, I decided to pursue a career in medicine. I was subsequently accepted into the MD class at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, IL. While studying in Chicago, I was fortunate to make great friends, enjoy awesome cuisine, and learn from some very dedicated and knowledgeable physicians. During my second year of medical school, a course in neurology introduced me to the incredible nature of the human nervous system. I was immediately amazed by how synchronized electrochemical processes within our cells give rise to movement, sensation, and (most incredibly) cognition. After completing my third-year clerkship in the field, I was hooked, I wanted to be a Neurologist. On Match Day, I was thrilled to learn that I would be returning to UVA for residency! The people that comprise our program are some of the kindest, most intelligent, and patient-centered folks you will ever meet. I feel incredibly fortunate to train at UVA and to be given the opportunity to help care for our wonderful patients. Aside from our world-class health system, we are just south of Shenandoah National Park and all the hiking trails, swimming spots, and remarkable wildlife contained within its ancient mountains. I honestly enjoy being in the hospital above most things, but when I am away, I like combating entropy by working on old cars, cleaning up my yard, and maintaining/upgrading my telescope. I also enjoy reading about philosophy and theology. Furthermore, I am proud to serve our nation as a captain in the US Army Reserve Medical Corps. To all who read this, I wish you good health and much fulfillment in life.

 

Jon Davidow, M.D.
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

Raised in Richmond, about an hour east of Charlottesville, UVA was a goalpost. While at The College of William and Mary getting my undergrad in Religious Studies, we used to joke that while UVA may have a more widely known reputation, Thomas Jefferson borrowed funds from us to build his University and never paid them back. After my time at the College, I made Richmond my home and the Charlottesville area became my playground while I worked as a health technology consultant for almost 7 years. Going back to medical school took me all over the world, ending with the best possible outcome of completing Jefferson’s trail and getting a residency spot at UVA. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the UVA Neurology team, and I couldn’t be any happier than living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. It’s a real dream come true. I’ve been so lucky to have lived and studied in places like Nepal, India, Israel, Germany, Sint Maarten, and the UK, and I truly believe that there’s something special about these hills. When I’m off you’ll find me reading on my porch with my husband or hiking in the woods with my two cats. And the cherry on top is that everything I had heard was right: UVA offers the most collegial, supportive, and educational residency experience I could imagine.

Arlinda Deng, M.D., M.H.S.
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hello! I grew up in St. Catharines in Ontario, Canada and went to McMaster University for undergrad. I decided to go down to Baltimore to pursue an education in epidemiology, and then attended medical school at University of Maryland. I’m excited to explore the different subspecialties of neurology, though currently most interested in outpatient neurology. I am interested in teaching and epidemiological research, and look forward to pursuing medical education and academia in the future.

I chose UVA because of supportive faculty and co-residents, and the variety of opportunities to expand my clinical and professional interests. I’m so excited to explore everything that Charlottesville has to offer! Outside of the hospital, I enjoy running, virtual pilates and yoga with friends, and feeding my food and coffee cravings by trying out various local restaurants and cafes.

 

Katharine Henry, M.D.
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – Arizona
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi there! I’m originally from Atlanta, GA but have moved around quite a bit and went to high school in Minnesota. I attended Emory University for undergraduate and spent two years at the NIH conducting brain imaging research after graduating. I moved to Arizona for medical school in 2018. I had an inkling that neurology was for me prior to medical school. My third year clerkship confirmed to me that neurology is a hidden gem of a specialty (but I don’t need to convince you of that if you are looking at UVA Neurology). I’m currently most interested in movement disorders and neuroimmunology but am open to all that neurology has to offer.  I have additional interests in medical education and plan to pursue academia.

When looking for a residency program, I wanted to find a supportive program with leadership and current residents that cared about creating a genuine community. It was important to me to find a program with exposure to a wide variety of neurologic diseases and the resources to provide a firm foundation to pursue academia. On the interview trail, I found that perfect combination in UVA Neurology.

When I’m not at the hospital, you will likely find me outside, reading science fiction or spending time with my significant other. I love to play tennis, hike and trail run. For that reason, UVA’s location is perfect. Charlottesville is a friendly town with access to amazing trails (Shenandoah national park). My picture is from Crabtree Falls, not far from UVA. The town is just the right size where it is easy to get around while still having access to fun weekend activities and great food.

 

Rachel Mascari, M.D., M.S.
University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Columbia
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi all! I’m originally from Edgewater, MD – a town right next to Annapolis. I moved down South for undergrad at the University of South Carolina, and after a 2-year jaunt of living in DC I went back to Gamecock country for med school. Going into med school, I had a hunch that I would choose neurology but wanted to keep my mind open. Then I started doing stroke research and what can I say, I was hooked! I’m interested in stroke but I look forward to exploring more fields until I actually decide.

When I was a fourth year med student, I did an away rotation at UVA and I immediately knew this was where I belong. This program is full of people who truly love the field and show it in their enthusiasm for teaching, attendings and residents alike. Needless to say, I was absolutely ecstatic to match here! Outside of work, I love exploring Charlottesville from the Downtown Mall to the many hiking trails nearby and checking out the wide selection of wineries/breweries around town.

 

Harika Rayala, M.D.
University of Michigan Medical School
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi all, I was born in India and moved to Ohio after making pit stops in Barbados and the East Coast. I studied anthropology and journalism at Northwestern University and attended University of Michigan for medical school. Neurology was my first clinical rotation and I immediately fell in love with the physical exam and the localization-based approach. UVA stood out to me for the warmth and camaraderie that was apparent even on Zoom when I was interviewing. Now that I am here, I find that to be doubly true. My co-residents are genuinely kind, fun and supportive and the program leadership invested in your individual career goals. Outside of clinical care, I am most interested in neuroethics, journalism and researching models of healthcare delivery. In my free time, I am usually spending as much time outdoors as possible (Charlottesville has stunning scenery), catching up on the news, reading and cheering on Liverpool.

 

Rachel Shaffer, M.D.
Drexel University College of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hey! My name is Rachel, and I am from southwestern Pennsylvania (from a VERY small town called Hyndman), about two hours southeast of Pittsburgh. I went to Shippensburg University for undergrad, then continued my move across the state to Philadelphia for medical school at Drexel. I discovered my passion for neurology starting with neuroscience research on psychoactive drugs during undergrad and med school, then came to find I loved it just as much in the clinical setting! As of now, I am interested in more hospital-based neurology (possibly as a neurohospitalist) but am excited to learn more about the other subspecialties of neurology during residency. No matter the subspecialty I choose down the road, I hope to incorporate plenty of teaching, and maybe even some research. I chose UVA because of the supportive environment, clear friendship between the residents (which was apparent even over Zoom), the diversity of professional experiences offered, and the “small town city” nature of Charlottesville. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know all my new co-residents and faculty, and have instantly felt at home in this program, the hospital, and Charlottesville as a whole. Outside of the hospital, I love cycling (indoors or outdoors), hiking, grabbing dinner with friends, watching hockey (Go Pens!), spending too much money at the Saturday farmers market, and cooking/baking while enjoying music or a podcast.

Class of 2027

Garima Agarwal, M.D.
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University

Hello! I was born in Mumbai, India, and moved to West Virginia at the age of 11. I did my undergrad at West Virginia University and medical school at Marshall University. I don’t think there’s a better specialty than Neurology to tickle your curiosity while also giving you a chance to really make an impact in your patients’ lives. From my interview day, it was clear how much the residents were supported throughout their residency and had adequate time to do things outside of residency. I am a city girl at heart who fell in love with the Appalachian Mountains. One of the big reasons I chose to come to UVA was because Charlottesville is the cutest small city nestled among the mountains. I have enjoyed my time in Charlottesville so far getting to know my co-residents, trying out different hikes and restaurants, and going to the best Thursday sunset series at a nearby winery/apple orchard. In my free time, you can find me trying out either a yoga, barre, or spin group class, traveling, sipping coffee at different cafes, playing board games, or hiking. My professional interests include global health, medical education, and community care. I am currently interested in neuromuscular disorders but also keeping my mind open to all that neurology has to offer.

 

Andrew Azdell, M.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Hello! My name is Andrew Azdell. I was born in Indiana, but I have lived in Virginia the majority of my life, most recently in the Richmond area. I went to UVA for undergrad where I studied biology and played the trumpet in the Cavalier Marching Band. I returned to Richmond for medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, but I am overjoyed to be back in Charlottesville for my residency training. At this moment, I have interests in stroke, neuroimmunology and neuromuscular disorders, and I am excited to work with and learn from the amazing faculty in the department. Outside of medicine, I am a huge sports fan, especially baseball and all UVA sports, with a true obsession for the Chicago Cubs. I love outdoor concerts, especially classical and jazz, and I am always up for trivia nights at the local restaurants and breweries here in Charlottesville.

 

Weldon Furr, M.D.
Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport

Hi! My name is Weldon Furr and I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I made my first move to Virginia to go to undergrad at Washington and Lee university where my interest in Neurology started with a major in Neuroscience. I then took two years working in a basic science Neurology lab at UTHealth in Houston before heading back to Louisiana for medical school at LSU in Shreveport where I met my wife who is also a resident at UVA (Pediatrics). Charlottesville was always an appealing place return to Virginia but my experience on an away rotation sold me on UVA Neurology. The supporting family atmosphere drew me in, and the faculty convinced me of the high quality of training. When not at the hospital you can usually find me, my wife, and our dogs (Huey and Hoda) exploring the many wineries, shows, speakeasies and trails (Biscuit Run specifically). I’m always excited to share my love of Charlottesville with others!

 

Christina Salgado, M.D.
Indiana University School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi there! My name is Christina, and I grew up in Evansville, IN. I stayed in the Midwest for undergrad at WashU in St. Louis after which I moved to Indianapolis to work in a malaria lab at Indiana University. After a couple years of research, I enrolled at IU for medical school where I quickly was drawn to the fascinating field of neurology. Neurology checked all the boxes for me. The detective-like approach to localization, unique pathology, and depth of the physician-patient relationship — how could I resist? Exploring residency programs, I was particularly drawn to UVA and was delighted to find such welcoming, thoughtful, and engaging faculty and residents throughout my interview, which only made my choice that much easier!

Starting out, I am interested in neuroimmunology and neuro-infectious disease as well as immigrant health and global health. That said, I’m not sure which path I’ll take, but I know the great support system at UVA will help me find my way. When I’m not in the hospital, I love to travel, hike, watercolor, and play/watch soccer and tennis. The more people I meet, the more I realize how much Charlottesville has to offer! I’m looking forward to exploring its many trails, wineries/breweries, and delicious restaurants in the years to come.

Rhea Sharma M.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her

Hi! I grew up in Northern Virginia and went to William & Mary for undergrad, where I studied neuroscience (after trying to resist it for a couple of years and dabbling in chemistry and psych classes). I went to VCU in Richmond for medical school where I was involved with our wellness committee, our geriatrics interest group, and our humanities in medicine chapter. Neurology as a field spoke to me because I am fascinated by using the physical exam to form differential diagnoses and localize lesions. I really enjoy working with older adults, so I am currently thinking about a fellowship in Movement Disorders or Cognitive/Behavioral neurology, but I am excited about exploring many different subspecialties during residency. I chose UVA for its warm and welcoming atmosphere that I felt on interview day, and that positive feeling has been reinforced by my in-person experiences! Outside of work, I enjoy exploring wineries, breweries, and coffee shops in Charlottesville. I also love running, hiking, and arts-and-craft projects such as cross-stitching and painting. I am thrilled to be staying in Virginia (just moving one hour down 64-west every 4 years) and to experience a new part of the state.

Olivia Van Osch, M.D.
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Pronouns: She/Her

I was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, and attended Smith College where I double majored in sociology and government.

After college, I spent five years working in social services in New York City and became interested in social determinants of health and the importance of comprehensive care in improving individuals’ lives. This led me to complete a post-baccalaureate program and attend medical school. I chose the field of neurology because of the intricate pathologies and deep connections I made with patients, but also because it is a field with endless learning opportunities and neurologists are great teachers! I’m open to all fields of neurology and am excited to continue exploring the possibilities during my time at UVA.Beyond medicine, I love to hike, bike, and run but my favorite thing is quality time with my friends and family.