Why did you choose Duke?
Adam Back: Duke was my top choice for many reasons, but at the end of the day it came down to the people of the program that ultimately sold me to choose Duke. The faculty at Duke are tremendous with every specialty covered. We see every type of surgical case and this allows us to be proficient with these procedures by the time we are done training. The faculty are all very approachable and allow the residents to gain appropriate indepence with time. I love my co-residents and they are what help you through the good times and the bad. At the end of the day I chose Duke because I saw myself loving to go to work with my co-residents and I would not change that for anything. I am so lucky to have a great group to work with every day.
Steve Cook: Applicants should choose Duke not only for the surgical training but also for the training you get from the other medical and research departments here at Duke. This combination can get you started on any career path that you want to follow. Outside of work, Durham offers a great place to live, have fun, or raise a family. After rotating here as a student, I got to see how friendly the residents were but also how I would fit in. In choosing Duke, the hardest part for me was not choosing to come here but rather knowing I may have to leave one day.
Kimberly Hoang: I chose Duke when I was a medical student because of the clinical volume, the breadth of cases, the operative variety, the research opportunities, the excellent faculty, and the strong history of the training program. Looking back, what I didn’t know about was the phenomenal chemistry and camaraderie between the residents. I learn from my co‐residents every day.
Jordan Komisarow: Surgery at Duke has a proud tradition and I feel incredibly lucky to be training here. We have a tremendous volume of complex cases throughout all the neurosurgical subspecialities. It is exciting to know we can offer patients the cutting edge of clinical care that is backed by innovative research being performed in the laboratory. As a medical student I got to watch several years of Chief Residents graduate with an enviable skill set. This comes from being exposed to so much so often. As important to this, there is a fantastic family feel amongst the entire neurosurgery team. It is a lot of fun to be a part of.
Max Krucoff: I chose Duke because, ultimately, I am striving to create something new - new therapies and interventions for quadriplegics, new ways for locked-in patients to communicate with their environments, and new ways to understand the connection between the mind and the brain. At Duke, creativity and individuality are encouraged and supported. The department here does not care so much about what you do, but rather they care about how and why you do it. The residents and faculty are genuine and want you to succeed. They will take the time to train you, and you will get a huge breadth of experience here that is among the most well-rounded in the world. Furthermore, you have access to great medical students who have an entire year dedicated to research who can help you pursue ambition research goals.
Duke is a place that seeks out individuals who are encouraged to think for themselves and bring their own perspectives to the table, but who also function well in a team setting. The Duke neurosurgeons know that medicine is not a zero sum game - in other words, we do not do well at the expense of our peers and colleagues, but rather, we are at our best when we all succeed. We look out for each other. When we go to work, we go to serve our patients and the practice of medicine, not individual egos. If you are research oriented, want to train hard, and want to be around people who are like-minded but not carbon copies of one another, Duke is the place.
Vadim Tsvankin: I wanted to maximize my potential as a young neurosurgeon; the group at Duke was the obvious choice. I can tailor the program to accommodate my academic interests (in a word: tumors), operate like a fiend, surround myself with a group of residents I not only like but admire, and receive mentorship from a distinguished set of attendings. I loved the ultra-supportive whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts mentality of the people here. The senior residents thrive on the success of the juniors, and I dig the idea of passing it forward. Also, my wife told me I'd look good in blue. Why should you choose Duke? Because
You want to be part of an elite group. You're serious about what you do but don't take yourself too seriously. You want to have chief abilities by your fifth year. You played a team sport your whole life and miss it. You want to buzz the tower even when the pattern is full.
Alexa Bramall: I wanted a supportive environment to develop my clinical and research interests over the course of residency. Duke has a strong neurooncology program and an innovative mindset towards resident education; the program is continually exploring ways to improve the resident experience. I was impressed by the variety opportunities offered at Duke encompassing areas such as global health, technology development, and basic science research.
Jacquelyn Corley: I chose to train at Duke because for me, it was the only program that would allow me to pursue my global health interests and learn to operate and get involved with collaborative research projects.