Residency Training Program – Duties by Year


Our Neurosurgery residency program is dedicated toward providing excellent clinical training and research opportunities. We have transitioned to a 6+1 model in which residents complete their chief resident year during their penultimate PGY-6 year. This allows greater freedom during the PGY-7 year to pursue clinical or basic research or enfolded CAST accredited fellowship experiences.


PGY- 1 Rotations:
Neurosurgery (6 months, including 4 months as the operative intern), Neuro Intensive Care Unit (3 months), Neurointerventional/Neuroradiology (1 month), Surgical and Trauma Intensive Care Unit (1 month), Anesthesia/Airway/Neuropathology (1 month).

Among our core principles is early operative experience. In the first year of training, residents do not simply cover the ward. Instead, 4 of your 6 months on the neurosurgery service are spent as the resident on the general neurosurgery service with Dr. Dennis Vollmer. You are the primary caregiver of the patients on his inpatient service, attend his clinic and operative cases. Additionally, 1 month is dedicated to working with our dual-trained vascular neurosurgeons, Dr. Min Park and Dr. Ryan Kellogg, along with neurointerventionalist Dr. Avery Evans. You participate in all cases in the INR suite, learning to do diagnostic angiograms and more. You have full access to our endovascular simulator, stroke conferences, and all resources in our Comprehensive Stroke Center. By the end of this year, our PGY-1 residents have generally completed most of their critical care procedure minimums, have performed over 100 operative procedures, and have significant endovascular exposure and skills. This early operative experience provides a jump start to the PGY-2 year.

PGY-2 & 3

During these years, residents take in-house call and rotate on the major subspecialties of neurosurgery within our apprenticeship model. Thus, each resident is paired with attending(s) for each rotation and manages their inpatient service, attends their clinic, and works closely with them in the operating room. In-house call is 1/week for 8 months of the PGY-2 year and 2/week for 4 months. In-house call is 1/week for the entire PGY-3 year. Residents attend outpatient clinics inVascular, Neuro-oncology, and Spine. The majority of time is devoted to gaining surgical skills.
PGY 2 Rotations: Spine, Pediatrics, Functional
PGY 3 Rotations: Neurosurgical-oncology/Skull Base, Complex Spine, Vascular


This postgraduate year is devoted to focused research or clinical subspecialty education. Research is encouraged during this time but residents who have a particular interest in further subspecialty training may use this time in these pursuits. Excellent clinical and basic science research opportunities are available to our residents, further highlighted on our Research page. Enfolded fellowships may be pursued in neurocritical careand endovascular neurosurgery. Some residents also wish to pursue advanced degrees during elective years.


This year is spent in either Christchurch or Auckland, New Zealand and provides a significant increase in the volume of intracranial cases performed in preparation for the chief year at UVA. From our analysis, the intracranial case volumes are superior to most chief resident experiences in the United States. The attending physicians (Consultants) are highly skilled and extremely good teachers. In addition to the excellent operative experience, the residents benefit from seeing a universal healthcare system at work. The quality of life is very good and residents find that this is one of the major highlights of our training program. The Department provides travel reimbursement for residents and their families.


This is the chief residency year. The chief residents do not take in-house call, but they oversee the entire clinical service. Chief residents operate daily and benefit from our diverse clinical volume. Case minimums are completed by this year and residents finish being prepared to independently practice core neurosurgery.


Similar to the PGY-4 year, this final year of residency serves as elective time for enfolded fellowships of any sub-specialty, continued research, and/or continuation of advanced degree work. This year can be tailored to each resident’s post-graduate goals, facilitating the final transition to independent practice in neurosurgery. Enfolded clinical fellowship opportunities include in neurocritical care, neuroendovascular, complex spine, neuro-oncology, and functional neurosurgery. During these enfolded fellowships, residents are encouraged to continue their research interests.