Program Objectives

The Warren Alpert Medical School / Rhode Island Hospital residency program in neurosurgery trains residents in the operative and nonoperative evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with disorders of the nervous system. In addition, it cultivates their research potential and teaching skills.

Our program prepares residents to:

  • apply knowledge of the basic and clinical sciences to the management of neurosurgical disorders
  • demonstrate competence in the surgical techniques required of board-certified neurosurgeons
  • make sound clinical, ethical and legal decisions
  • collaborate effectively with other health care professionals
  • teach patients and families of all age groups according to their needs
  • value education as a lifelong process
  • conduct independent research and evaluate others’ research
  • provide cost-effective care to neurosurgical patients and their families
  • practice medicine in a way that respects the religious and cultural beliefs of patients and their loved ones

Educational Components

On average, residents spend seven hours a week in regularly scheduled lectures and conferences. We expect them to attend core lectures and conferences.

Core Lectures and Conferences

During neurosurgery grand rounds, a case conference with neuropathologic and neuroradiologic correlates, participants review interesting, complex or problem neurosurgery cases. Most Rhode Island neurosurgeons attend, along with medical students, nurses, neurologists, neuropathologists, radiotherapists, neurooncologists, a neuroradiologist, and residents in radiology, endocrinology and general surgery.

Spine conference involves residents and staff in both neurosurgery and orthopedics. Several didactic sessions cover most of the major topics in spine surgery, with the remaining sessions devoted to in-depth case discussions.

The Neuroscience Lecture Series provides a firm grounding in the neurosciences as they relate to clinical neurosurgery and updates clinicians on the latest advances in this dynamic field. The course facilitates interactions between basic scientists and clinicians in training.

At meetings of the Adult Tumor Board, participants discuss patients who were recently diagnosed with primary or metastatic brain tumors, focusing on treatment options, research protocols and tumor pathophysiology. Those present include a faculty neurooncologist, attending neurosurgeons, neurosurgery residents, neuropathologists, neuroradiologists and radiation oncologists.

At neuropathology teaching conference, residents discuss pathologic diagnoses of current neurosurgical patients and review autopsy findings. To help residents prepare for the neurosurgery board examination, neuropathologists provide didactic instruction on a wide range of neuropathologic topics.

The Neurosurgery Didactic Lecture Series and board review are also scheduled weekly. The board review is designed to prepare residents for their annual written boards. Topics covered include neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropathology, neurology, neuroradiology and neurosurgery.

Monthly Meetings

Once a month, residents and faculty review cases during morbidity and mortality conference. In Neurosurgery Journal Club, another monthly meeting, residents and faculty discuss two articles from the neurosurgery literature over dinner, which is provided.

Other Conferences

We urge all residents to attend neurology grand rounds each week. Other weekly meetings include general surgery grand rounds, orthopedics grand rounds, Gamma Knife conference, adult trauma conference, and neuroendocrinology (pituitary) conference. Pediatric trauma conference and multidisciplinary pediatric brain tumor conference meet twice each month.


An attending neurosurgeon is available at all times, if needed, to provide appropriate patient care and supervision. At Rhode Island Hospital, 7:00 a.m. rounds is supervised by the faculty attending on call. Furthermore, residents may ask any attending to consult with them.

Evaluating Residents

Residents are formally evaluated by all faculty on a semi-annual basis. Evaluations are reviewed with the resident at a one-on-one meeting with the program director. Residents are also evaluated for all rotations, including their research rotation on a formal basis.

Workload and Call Schedule

We adhere to the ACGME’s duty-hour standards. Consistent with the council’s guidelines, residents spend at least one day in seven free of clinical responsibilities. All residents, except the chief resident, are on call in the hospital on average every fourth day. The chief resident, who is in charge of the clinical service, takes calls daily from home.

Call Facilities

Residents have a dedicated call room, with sleeping quarters, on the neurosurgical floor. The room contains computers for accessing patient and surgical records. There is a small kitchen on the same floor. The Rhode Island Hospital cafeteria remains open nearly 20 hours a day; Au Bon Pain, a bakery café adjacent to the hospital, stays open until 11:00 p.m.