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 an Autonomics laboratory, Comprehensive 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 start managing neurology patients while also building relationships with faculty and co-residents. 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, Advanced Practice Providers, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians.

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. Naveen Addagatla, Susiani Intan, Jack Leschke, Serena Thompson, and Aditya Vuppala will be completing fellowships or starting their careers. Respectively, they have chosen clinical neurophysiology (EMG focus) at Washington University - St. Louis, Neuro-ophthalmology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, practicing as a general neurologist, clinical neurophysiology (EEG focus) at the Cleveland Clinic, and clinical neurophysiology (EEG focus) 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 email us.

Sincerely,

Amrita Lakraj (alakraj@mcw.edu)
Chris Southwood (csouthwood@mcw.edu)

Chris Southwood, MDChris Southwood

I was born in West Lafayette, Indiana, but I grew up in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.  I moved back to Indiana to complete my undergraduate dual-degree at Indiana University in Neuroscience and Biology.  For medical school, I attended Indiana University School of Medicine.  My first two years were spent at the IUSM-Lafayette campus with a total of 16 classmates, but I finished my clinical years in Indianapolis with over 300 classmates before moving to Milwaukee to start my residency.  I was familiar with Milwaukee prior to starting residency because I would visit my wife who was already a resident at MCW.  Since starting residency, I have continued to explore the city and surrounding region.  I have been impressed by the variety of experiences that are available here.   Over the years, we have enjoyed activities including touring the city on a riverboat cruise, live theatrical and music performances at a number of venues, brewery and distillery tours, camping at many of Wisconsin’s state parks, and exploring the tourist attractions at the Wisconsin Dells and Door County.  The lakefront offers beach volleyball, running/biking trails, and the site for the numerous summer festivals.

Amrita Lakraj, MDAmrita Lakraj

Through originally from Canada, I did most of my growing up in the sunshine state (Florida), including completion of my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science and Public Health at the University of South Florida. I attended medical school at the University of Medicine and Health Science in St. Kitts followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at Yale in Connecticut. Moving to Milwaukee was an exciting and life altering change, and I am not just talking about the weather! The main reason I chose to pursue my residency at MCW was due not only to the exceptional educational environment and teaching attendings, but even more so, the friendly and homely nature of everyone in the department. As I always say, residency is hard no matter where you go, but being around those who care about you and are supportive makes all the difference! In Milwaukee, I enjoy dining in many of our superb restaurants (there is not enough which can be said about the amazing cheese curds), taking walks by the lakefront, and watching shows at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater as well as the touring Broadway shows. My husband and I also enjoy going to Chicago which is a short drive away and there are endless fun things to do! Outside of medicine, I am passionate about dance and music. Based on then wonderful mentorship and experiences I have had in the Neuro ICU here at MCW, I will be pursing a fellowship in Neurocritical care upon graduation from Neurology Residency.

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Page Updated 08/19/2016
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