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Mission Statement:

The mission of the UC Davis Neurological Surgery Residency Program is to train neurosurgeons who can provide state-of-the-art care to their patients while also possessing the tools necessary to help advance the field of neurosurgery through clinical care, research, and teaching.

Residency News:

October 12, 2022: Congratulations to the UC Davis Neurological Surgery Residents, who won second place in the Resident SANS Challenge at the 2022 Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Our team of Dylan Goodrich (PGY6) and Matthew Kercher (PGY4), with the support of Orin Bloch (Faculty), showed off their expansive knowledge to finish first in their preliminary group and reached the final, placing second overall above many other very highly regarded residency programs across the country. We have our eyes on first place next year!

Program Aims:

Graduates of our program will:

  1. Have the clinical skills necessary to provide comprehensive, cutting-edge general neurosurgical care to patients in a variety of clinical environments.
  2. Have the skills needed to pursue advanced fellowship or research training consistent with their individual career goals.
  3. Develop the ability to deliver clinical and scholarly presentations on neurosurgical topics.
  4. Develop emotionally intelligent leadership skills and personal management skills to support well-being.
  5. Pursue lifelong learning and possess the skills needed to continue professional development.
  6. Treat all patients and colleagues with respect, dignity, and compassion at all times.

UC Davis Medical Center

The University of California, Davis Medical Center is a nationally recognized academic medical center that serves a 65,000-square-mile area in Northern and Central California. As the academic referral center for a catchment area that includes 33 counties and over 6 million people, UC Davis admits more than 40,000 patients per year and handles nearly 1 million patient visits. Serving as the only inland Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center in Northern California, the emergency room sees over 76,000 patients per year and has a world class neurotrauma program. Ranked by the US News and World Report as one of the nation’s best hospitals in 11 adult medical specialties and 5 pediatric medical specialties, UCDMC is home to one of 47 comprehensive cancer centers in the country and provides advanced specialty care in 150 medical fields.

The Department of Neurological Surgery

The UC Davis Department of Neurological Surgery includes 13 clinical faculty with subspecialty interests in neuro-oncology, functional/epilepsy surgery, open and endovascular neurosurgery, pediatric neurosurgery, skull base surgery, minimally invasive cranial neurosurgery, peripheral nerve, complex and minimally invasive spine surgery, and neurocritical care. Residents also rotate at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center, which includes over 15 neurosurgeons covering the entire spectrum of acute and elective neurosurgical care.

We participate in the National Resident Matching Program, with two new interns matched to the program each year. The training curriculum is designed to provide our residents with a comprehensive experience in all aspects of neurosurgery, including rotations in neurocritical care, neuroradiology, and neurology. Below is the current template for the 7-year training program:


Quarter 1

Quarter 2

Quarter 3

Quarter 4


6 months NSG, 4 months NCC, 1 month Neurology/Stroke, 1 month Neuroradiology/Neuropathology












Kaiser Elective

Kaiser Elective

Subspecialty Electives



                              Enfolded Fellowship/Research







UCD Chief

Kaiser Chief

UCD Chief

Kaiser Chief


o Neurosurgery = inpatient neurosurgery service at UC Davis Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, and outpatient clinics

o Neurocritical Care = inpatient neurosurgery and neurology ICU patients; responsibilities include daily ICU care, procedures, and OR intubations with anesthesiology

o Neurology = inpatient neurology service; responsibilities include inpatient neurology consults and stroke service

o Neuroradiology/Neuropathology = combined rotation that includes diagnostic and therapeutic neuroradiology, diagnostic neuropathology, and post-mortem/autopsy 

o Kaiser Elective = inpatient neurosurgery service at Kaiser Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, and floor care

o Subspecialty Elective: Pediatrics = inpatient/outpatient pediatric neurosurgery at UC Davis Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, and subspecialty clinics; participation in pediatrics neurosurgery conferences

o Subspecialty Elective: Neuro-oncology = inpatient/outpatient adult neuro-oncology at UC Davis Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, stereotactic radiosurgery, and subspecialty clinics in medical neuroponcology, neurosurgical oncology, and radiation oncology; participation in brain tumor board and skull base tumor board

o Subspecialty Elective: Neurospine = inpatient/outpatient adult spine at UC Davis Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, and subspecialty clinics; participation in spine conferences

o Subspecialty Elective: Functional Neurosurgery = inpatient/outpatient adult epilepsy, movement disorders surgery, and peripheral nerve surgery at UC Davis Medical Center; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, and subspecialty clinics in movement disorders neurology and functional neurosurgery; participation in DBS case conference and epilepsy case conference

o Subspecialty Elective: Neurovascular = inpatient/outpatient adult and pediatric neurovascular surgery; responsibilities include OR, ICU, floor, and subspecialty clinics including neurology stroke clinic and neurosurgery/neurointerventional multidisciplinary vascular clinic; responsibilities also include endovascular and extracranial carotid cases at Kaiser Medical Center; participation in neurovascular conference

o Research = clinical/laboratory research or enfolded clinical fellowship

The core neurosurgery clinical rotations are completed at the UC Davis Medical Center main campus in Sacramento. Subspecialty elective rotations occur at UC Davis Medical Center and its nearby clinics, as well as Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center which is located 9 miles from the health system campus.


Program Information


Related Resources

The first year of training is divided between inpatient neurosurgery at UC Davis Medical Center (6 months), rotations in neurocritical care/anesthesia (4 months), an elective rotation in neurology/stroke (1 month), and an elective rotation in neuroradiology/neuropathology (1 month). The first year is focused on developing a basic foundation in the clinical neurosciences (neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology), competency in the fundamentals of neurocritical care, and to gain comfort with floor management of neurosurgical patients. There is significant exposure to inpatient neurosurgical consultation, neurosurgical ICU care, and outpatient care.

The second year of training is focused on inpatient neurosurgery at UC Davis Medical Center, with increasing patient care responsibility and regular inpatient call. During this year, residents develop expertise in acute neurosurgical management, providing care for patients in the emergency department, intensive care units, and hospital wards while on call. This is a year focused on developing basic neurosurgical skills – patient evaluation and workup, differential diagnosis, and formulating treatment plans. There is also increasing operative experience in this year, with graduated responsibility and independence. This year also includes exposure to outpatient care.

The third and fourth years of training provide increasing exposure to the operating room, with involvement in more advanced cases. Residents share their time between the inpatient neurosurgical service at UC Davis Medical Center, the inpatient neurosurgical service at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center, and subspecialty elective neurosurgical rotations in: (1) pediatric neurosurgery, (2) neurooncology, (3) vascular neurosurgery, (4) functional neurosurgery, and (5) neurospine. These elective rotations include multidisciplinary outpatient experiences and well as focused inpatient operative experiences. Residents actively participate in subspecialty clinics, attend and participate in clinical care conferences, and are more actively involved in weekly academic meetings.

The fifth year of training is intended to focus residents on their subspecialty area(s) of interest, conducting clinical and/or basic science research. During this time, residents are able to focus their time on academic pursuits in their area of subspecialty interest(s). There are numerous opportunities for residents to work on research projects directed by clinical and/or basic science faculty at UC Davis, and to pursue intra- and extramural funding for their research. An enfolded clinical fellowship is an option for this year, if it meets a resident’s particular career goals.  

The sixth year of is split between elective time and clinical training that is focused on more advanced and complex neurosurgery. The elective time can be invested in research, advanced training, or focused clinical experiences. The clinical training is focused on the inpatient neurosurgical service at UC Davis Medical Center, partnering with the Chief Resident to help manage the clinical. There is an emphasis on leadership development and mentorship during the PGY 6 and 7 years, both in the hospital and in outpatient clinics. During this year, the PGY 6 residents alternates chief weekend call with the PGY 7 residents.

The seventh year is split between the inpatient neurosurgical service at UC Davis Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente. The Chief Residents lead morning rounds and coordinate directly with faculty to direct inpatient care. The Chief Residents also have multiple administrative responsibilities, including working with the Program Director to develop the resident call schedule, coordinating time away/vacation requests, and assigning residents for presentations at weekly academic department conferences (morbidity & mortality, preop conference, etc). There is an emphasis on transition to post-residency fellowship and/or practice during this year, and the Chief continues to refine her/his leadership skills in the seventh year.