Meet Our Chiefs for 2021-2022
My name is Allison Block. I am a fourth-year neurology resident at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I was raised in a suburb of the Twin Cities called Mahtomedi, though my heart is more closely tied to a small family cabin on the Iron Range of Minnesota. My childhood summers were spent at our cabin outside running, reading, and sailing in the north-woods; these activities continue to be some of my favorite hobbies. I went to college at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. In college, I ran cross-country and became good friends with a teammate, whom I eventually married. A few years after college, we moved to Des Moines where I studied medicine at Des Moines University while he pursued podiatry. My interest in neurology grew during my clinical years due to the fulfillment I find in caring for patients over time with chronic neurologic disease.
The adult neurology residency program at the Medical College of Wisconsin piqued my interest due to the mentorship, collegiality, outcomes, and location. A large emphasis of the program is mentorship. During my intern year, I began working with Dr. Obeidat in neuro-immunology, through which my interest in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease(MOG) was fostered. Thanks to working with Dr. Obeidat, I was able to present an abstract at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting during my intern year. From there, I have worked with him on some original research and retrospective reviews of MOG. Our program director, Dr. Carlson, is also an incredibly supportive mentor and program director. In his quest to always work to improve our program, he regularly seeks feedback from the residents. His commitment to our program was formally recognized this year as he received the AAN’s “Residency-Fellowship Program Director Recognition Award.” In addition to working with Dr. Carlson and Dr. Obeidat, our program boasts a wide breadth of expertise with many different subspecialists. Our attendings love teaching and are very approachable, thus the culture fosters learning. In addition to strong mentorship, the collegiality within the department also drew me to the program. I have become close friends with many of my coresidents over the years. Our residents nurture a culture of collaboration and support, which is also evident amongst the attendings. Many of our attendings have returned to work at the Medical College of Wisconsin after fellowship, which serves as a testament to the culture. The emphasis on mentorship and collegiality prime residents for success after residency. My coresidentswho have graduated havesecured their top choices in fellowship training institutions and private practice positions. Next year, I am thrilled to have been accepted to a multiple sclerosis fellowshipatthe University of Chicago. Regarding location, I have enjoyed living in Milwaukee. As a lover of the woods, I regularly run on local single-track trails which parallel the Oak Leaf Trial on Lake Michigan, and love driving up to Door County to spend time at Newport State Park. Brewers games in Milwaukee and treks down to Chicago are great as well.
Thank you for our interest in our program.
Chief Resident 2021-2022
My name is Brian Johnson, and I am a fourth-year Neurology resident at Medical College of Wisconsin. I was born and raised near Provo Utah. I grew up loving to snowboard, mountain bike, golf, and explore the trails and canyons close to my home. I have many fond memories with friends running up and down Wasatch mountains all summer and waking up before the dawn to grab my board and search for fresh powder in the winter. I lived in Mexico for two years during a church service mission, then returned home to study Spanish language and literature at Utah Valley University. I married my amazing wife, Julie, in undergrad. I took a year to complete a technical degree in Surgical Assisting and worked as a surgical tech in Salt Lake City while finishing my degree. We knew we wanted to start a family right away - we had two daughters when I started medical school at Lincoln Memorial University, and our third daughter came during clerkship. We now live in Milwaukee where my wife is an elementary school teacher, and we adopted a cat named Oatmeal. I’ve loved every aspect of studying Neurology, and I have decided to pursue fellowship in Headache medicine, and will be moving to Portland, Oregon fellowship after residency.
The Neurology residency at MCW has allowed me to grow and learn in ways I never thought possible. I’ve never considered myself an extremely strong learner, at times requiring much repetition and experience in a subject before truly grasping a concept but learning and growing in medicine here with my colleagues has been an extremely supportive experience. I feel a connection to all the residents and faculty here who feel more like family. I was able to progress at my own pace to feel comfortable in diagnosing and treating neurologic pathology, and to strengthen my understanding of concepts by applying them in my own continuity clinic and being able to teach them to medical students on a regular basis. Neurology as a practice can feel complicated and daunting, but the phenomenal teaching has helped me to understand concepts in a compartmentalized way, which in turn helps me to more easily learn and apply new concepts to my practice. I feel comfortable approaching any of our faculty members (who always have an open-door policy) with questions or concerns and trust the guidance I receive will always be well thought-out and comprehensive. I cannot say enough about the comradery that exists here. I feel that I am close friends with all the residents, and we take every opportunity we can to get together for BBQs, restaurant crawls, Brewers/Bucks games, trivia nights, or just setting out chairs by the lake and talking about life. Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs have been an amazing cultural experience for my family and me. We love the restaurants (Milwaukee offers world-class food and breweries), the summer-time celebrations and cultural fests, the miles of biking and running trails, the beach on the lakefront, and the proximity to Chicago, which we visit with frequency. We are moving back to the west coast to be closer to family, but my heart is in Milwaukee. The education and school districts in the surrounding suburbs here are world-class, and it’s been a great place to raise a young family. I hope you consider this residency highly, as my four years here have been one of the most formative experiences of my life, and I’ve made lifelong friends in my mentors and co-residents along the way.
Chief Resident 2021-2022