A Letter from the Chief Residents

Each year, hundreds of prospective candidates participate in the Neurology match.  While few have predefined career goals, the vast majority rely on their experience during residency to guide decisions regarding what fellowship track or practice environment to pursue. A program that provides broad exposure forms a strong keystone for any resident’s career. In that regard, MCW has an exceptionally strong representation of many neurological subspecialties with several faculty members who are esteemed in their respective fields.  The subspecialties represented in our program include:

  • Interventional Neurology (Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology)
  • Neurointensive Care
  • Comprehensive Epilepsy Program
  • Comprehensive Stroke Program
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Sleep
  • Headache
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
  • Neuromuscular Disorders and a dedicated comprehensive ALS clinic
  • Comprehensive Parkinson's and Movement Disorders program, including DBS Surgery
  • Spine Care
  • Autonomic Disorders

Among our assets are a busy Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, a closed Neurological Intensive Care Unit staffed by neurocritical care boarded neurointensivists, state of the art Neuroangiography suites, a Neurophysiology lab with Autonomics laboratory, Stroke Center certification and Pediatric Neurology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin which serves as the tertiary referral for most of Wisconsin and northern Illinois and boasts nationally renowned Pediatric Neurologists and Epileptologists.

Another advantage of our categorical program is being assigned a weekly Neurology Resident Continuity Clinic as a PGY 1. This allows exposure to outpatient neurology during internship and fosters relationships with the Neurology faculty, staff, and residents; this facilitates a more seamless transition from the preliminary year to neurology. Each resident truly is the primary neurologist for his or her continuity clinic patients, and the completion of the Continuity Clinic in the PGY 3 year is often a bittersweet transition of care to the incoming residency class. This, however, allows PGY 4 Residents a VA continuity clinic with increased autonomy and an opportunity to serve our veterans.

Our team is led by residency program director Dr. Chad Carlson and associate program director Dr. Fallon Schloemer. Jackie Davies is our invaluable, patient, warm, and ever-present program coordinator who helps us along every step of our training. We also work very closely with the pediatric neurology department to care for both children and adults. There is almost always a pediatric neurology fellow rotating with the adult services and an adult neurology resident rotating with the pediatric neurologists. Geneticists will often come from Children’s hospital to help in the evaluation of late-onset or late-diagnosed metabolic diseases. Neuromuscular subspecialists from adult neurology will perform EMGs at Children’s hospital.

We work closely with all members of the health care team. In the outpatient setting, each resident is assigned a clinic nurse who helps us manage issues that arise with our clinic patients. For the inpatient setting, we pre-round every morning with the inpatient floor and NICU social workers, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and dieticians.

We also have protected didactic sessions and multiple weekly conferences. In response to ward duties potentially interfering with daily noon conferences, Dr. Carlson has implemented an Academic Half Day model beginning July 2015.  The Academic Half Day will be on Fridays from noon - 3 p.m. A three year curriculum plan is outlined around this series to cover the full breadth of Neurology and provide a framework for more in-depth study during the course of training.  We have a plethora of subspecialty conferences including weekly meetings for epilepsy (multidisciplinary treatment planning attended by neurology and neurosurgery), neuro-oncology (multidisciplinary treatment planning attended by neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, and neuro-pathology), neuro-intervention (pre- and post- intervention cases presented, attended by neurology and neurosurgery), neuromuscular/pathology (attended by neurology, pediatric neurology, and pathology), neuro-ICU morbidity and mortality, and movement disorders. We have weekly Neurology Grand Rounds Friday mornings at 8 a.m.

We cannot forget to mention the wonderful group of residents that graduated in June 2015 who were from different parts of the globe and yet worked together seamlessly as a cohesive unit. Pedro Olivera, Ryan Brennan, Saritha Kundoor, Derrick Shumate, and Janki Lavignia will be completing fellowships in, respectively, clinical neurophysiology at LSU, movement disorders at the University of Nebraska, stroke at the University of Minnesota, headache at MCW, and clinical neurophysiology at MCW.

Time and again, current and former residents have mentioned resident camaraderie as one of the main reasons for choosing our program. In recent years, our alumni have done everything from going into private practice, continuing in academic neurology, as well as pursuing any number of Neurology fellowships either at MCW or at other prestigious programs.

Last but not least, Milwaukee is a wonderful city, known for its ethnic communities, amazing waterfront, innumerable summer activities, and sports. You are never too far from a Bucks (basketball), Brewers (baseball), or Packers (football) fan or from tailgating at Miller Park! We have many wonderful festivals along Lake Michigan’s waterfront, among the most famous being, Summerfest, the largest outdoor music festival in the world. Summerfest has seen the likes of Outkast, The Wailers, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, Kenney Chesney, Metallica, The Roots, Jay-Z, Kanye, LL Cool J and Sting. Milwaukee has the resources of a big city and yet the warmth of a small town. You can easily live in a vibrant downtown neighborhood, a cozy suburban community or the countryside and still be within a short commute to work.
We hope you will consider us as you embark on the next stage of your careers and we look forward to meeting you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Jack Leschke, MD (jleschke@mcw.edu)
Serena Thompson, MD (sthompson@mcw.edu)
Naveen Addagatla, MD (naddagatla@mcw.edu)

Jack Leschke, MDJack Leschke, MD

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Later I attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts and lived in Madrid, Spain prior to attending medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I have always sought a balance in my life that has included my career, family, art and other ways of keeping my mind busy. I am an avid classical and jazz piano player and majored in music as an undergraduate student. My four brothers and I played in a band during those early summers and I continue to play piano for weddings and parties as the years go on. The Milwaukee symphony is excellent and I love exploring the city’s restaurants and breweries. I am actively involved in research and currently work in the lab investigating the iron targeting for treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. Beyond that I enjoy running and biking, having done 2 half-iron man triathlons. There are always intramural basketball teams to join up with as well. For me, our program and the city of Milwaukee offer an excellent blend of professional stimulation, individual development and broader fulfillment if you seek it! Not to mention, you’ll likely find the community of Packer, Brewer, Badger and Buck fans quite contagious. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your career and life ambitions.

Serena Thompson, MDSerena Thompson, MD

After spending my first two years in snowy Minnesota, my family moved to Hawaii where I did most of my “growing up.” I then spent a few years in North Dakota prior to college at the University of Southern California where I majored in biomedical engineering. From there I went back to Minnesota to complete a combined MD/PhD at the University of Minnesota. My thesis pertained to fMRI in human early visual cortex. Specifically, I investigated the effect that BOLD (blood oxygen-level dependent) signal amplitude has on timing, and I found that the bigger the peak amplitude, the earlier in time the signal starts. In addition to learning about neuroscience and medicine, I learned to dance salsa, which has turned into a passion! I have continued to dance in Milwaukee, and I perform Latin choreography with a team called WERK MKE and Polynesian dances with a company called Mana Pacifika. I have also continued to learn about neuroimaging. As I now plan to subspecialize in epilepsy, I have become involved with a language and MEG related research project underway by Dr. Manoj Raghavan and colleagues. I chose residency at MCW because I wanted to train at a program with a leading, neurology-run neurointerventional program and a neurology-run neuro-ICU. When I first moved to Milwaukee, I was concerned that its diminutive size would be a compromise which must be made in order to train at MCW. However, Milwaukee’s affordability, easily accessible outdoor activities, and short drive to Chicago have made me realize that I haven’t actually given anything up. Furthermore, I have found my experience at MCW and the affiliated hospitals to be filled with unparalleled, smart, kind, and compassionate multidisciplinary teammates.

Navdeen Addagatla, MDNaveen Addagatla, MD

Born and raised in Southern India, I went on to pursue my interest in medicine, completed medical school training and internal medicine residency at Guntur Medical College and followed by residency in neurology at Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad, India. After practicing as a general neurologist for some time, I moved to the USA for a fellowship and was entered residency at MCW in Wisconsin.  After my neurology residency (June 2016), I will be moving to St Louis, Washington University for neuromuscular fellowship.
Milwaukee is well known for its natural beauty, history, varied culture, especially food and beer. Though I come from a tropical climate, I still enjoy the four seasons of Milwaukee, the lake with its summer fests, and the indoor water resorts. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, play caroms, watch movies, and enjoy food.
When I moved to the USA, my concern of learning and adjusting to a different environment was addressed by the programs inflow of patients with a wide variety of neurological problems, structured and stable working environment, the highly qualified and experienced faculty, and the always ready-to-help support staff.  My colleagues were always there to extend a hand in times of need, whether it was an issue involving patient care, any academic endeavor, or personal issues. I feel proud to being a part of the neurology residency program.

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Page Updated 05/23/2016