Past and present residents share why residency at IU was the perfect choice for them.
Ashley Moeller, MD, PGY 5
What about your training at IU School of Medicine has best prepared you for a career as a child neurologist?
My training from IU School of Medicine has truly prepared me to be the best child neurologist that I can be. I am fortunate to be part of a program that is strong in all three areas of training: pediatrics, adult neurology and child neurology. Typically, there is one weak link, but that is definitely not the case at IU. I was treated like any other pediatrics resident during my first 2 years and was given a lot of responsibility in patient care. During my adult neurology year, I had incredible teachers and was able to hone my skills as a neurologist. Now into my child neurology years, I have the opportunity to work with every faculty member in our department to learn each of their perspectives and gain some of their subspecialty knowledge in order to become a well-rounded general child neurologist.
What sets IU’s Department of Neurology apart from other programs in the country?
While probably cliché to say, I think the thing that most sets the IU Department of Neurology apart from other programs, besides the people, is the real focus on education. Faculty members enjoy teaching and choose to work at an academic center for that reason, first and foremost.
Our training is mostly through direct patient care, working one-on-one with attendings in clinics or managing patients in the hospital. There is also a good amount of protected lecture time. One unique educational experience at IU is our two-month neuroanatomy course. This is completed during our PGY4 year and is time set aside without clinic work to strictly learn and feel comfortable with neuroanatomy. It is an incredibly valuable two-month course and I appreciate the program making it a priority.
The real evidence of the commitment to education though can be seen through the freedom we are given in choosing electives. We are able to follow any and all individual paths to explore areas of interest or areas in which we feel weak, so that we can get the best training possible. I have used that time to work with our pediatric palliative care team, speech therapists, ophthalmologists, genetics specialists and more.
Amanda Croxton, DO, Class of 2017
Pediatric Neurology staff physician at Unity Point Health and adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Iowa
How did your residency training best prepare you for your career?
Both the pediatric and child neurology sides at Riley are busy services with complicated and unique patients and the learning environment is very supportive of resident autonomy and education. This combination of complex and resident run has really allowed me to be prepared to face the challenge of caring for patients in my own practice. Additionally, when I had ideas of what I needed to learn and see to help shape my practice in the future, I was fully supported by staff to focus my learning and educational time to reach these goals.
What set IU’s Department of Child Neurology apart from other programs in the country?
The people. The attendings and staff are incredible. Each attending is unique with so many different areas of knowledge, but they are all very passionate about child neurology and truly engaged in resident education. They encourage autonomy but provide tremendous support, and a collaborative learning and working environment. The residents and staff I worked with continue to shape the person and physician who I am even now. They are friends and colleagues, always a helpful support system for consults or just to listen. This is a group where you belong forever and that is pretty incredible.
What’s your favorite IUSM memory?
I have many favorites. From watching fireworks on the stairwell during the 4th of July overnight calls, to laughing through continuity clinic and all the challenges and rewards in between. Riley was my home for 5 years and remains a home away from home. If given the option again, I would choose Riley every time.
Karen Carvalho, MD, Class of 2003
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Drexel University College of Medicine
I was a neurology and child neurology resident at Indiana University from 1998 to 2003. I remained at IU as a physician and clinical educator for another 4 years before moving to the East Coast with my family.
I initially chose neurology at IU because of the program's reputation for providing a comprehensive clinical experience with outstanding academic support. I was not disappointed. Once I was at Riley Hospital, I became enamored with pediatric neurology. As a result, I decided to pursue a career in pediatric neurology, a decision that was fully supported by my program. I vividly remember approaching my chairman's office with some sense of trepidation to discuss my decision to essentially abandon my neurology residency and pursue a position in pediatric neurology. He looked me in the eye and said that as my mentor he "was there to guide and support me on whatever I chose to do or be." I often think of that statement when I now mentor my own residents. One of many invaluable lessons I learned through the program.
At Riley Hospital, I felt as if I had found my second home. Many programs talk about the family atmosphere surrounding their program, Riley truly provided one. I was amazed by the diversity and complexity of the patients as well as the dedication and expertise of the staff. Once I completed my training, there was little in terms of clinical presentations that I hadn’t seen, and even less that I was not comfortable with in terms of diagnosis and treatment. My residency training at IU provided me with the confidence and clinical skills I needed to be successful as a young clinician. The commitment to clinical practice, lifelong learning and community service all form the core of my professional life, and I learned that at IU.
I no longer work at Riley or live in Indiana, however, I will always carry with me the medical and life lessons I learned during my time at Riley. I look back at my time there as an experience that was invaluable in defining who I am today.