The Neuro-Spinal academic/research track for neurosurgery residents at the Emory University School of Medicine provides a comprehensive path to maximize clinical or basic science research effort, as well as provides the necessary tools to develop into a neurosurgeon-scientist with an interest in spinal surgery.  The Neuro-Spinal track includes coursework, grants/fellowships, scientific meetings, symposiums, lectures/seminars/webinars, awards and mentors the residents are expected to use as a reference throughout their training and dedicated research time. The multidisciplinary track is a 24-month course and involves different departments at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Residents have the opportunity to obtain a Master’s of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) through the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) if selected. Other options offered through the Emory Rollins School of Public Health include a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) and Master’s of Science of Public Health (MSPH). Residents interested in pursuing a PhD may obtain extra time during their residency if approved by the Residency Program Director.

During the 24-month course, residents are expected to complete three months of didactic coursework and attend different symposia and seminars/lectures/webinars. The three months are not required to be contiguous, and since the calendar of coursework, symposia, etc. occur at different points in the year, the resident will need to accumulate this body of material over a period of one or two years during the PGY3 and PGY4 years.

A separate three-month period will be allotted for rotation in a laboratory led by an established researcher or working closely with an experienced clinical researcher. This rotation will provide instruction to the neurosurgery residents in basic research, but also set up the resident to pursue their own project during the remaining 18 months of research time. Residents are expected to actively participate in lab meetings, journal club and present any data they acquire. They are also expected to attend local seminars/lectures/webinars and plan on applying for grants/fellowships, as well as attend scientific meetings.

The remaining 18 months will be used by the resident to complete their own project with the help of a selected mentor. Residents at this point should have applied, or be in the process of applying, for grants/fellowships and awards, while continuing to attend seminars/lectures/webinars. The resident will be expected to present data at scientific meetings during this time period. Projects shall be selected that can be completed during this time period, and residents are expected to work closely with mentors to finish their project prior to re-initiation of full-time clinical duties.

Residents in the Neuro-Spinal track are expected to report their completion of coursework, attendance of symposia and seminars/lectures/webinars to the Residency Program Director. In addition, presentations at scientific meetings, obtainment of awards and grants/fellowships will be tracked by the Residency Program Director. A minimum of two publications will be required by the resident in the Neuro-Spinal developmental track.