Neurosurgery Resident Research and Journal Club

Unlike many other programs, Henry Ford Neurosurgery residents begin research in the first year.

Our residents have won multiple national awards for their research, including the resident awards for best overall abstract for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons for 2019 and 2020.
The Department of Neurosurgery has incredible research opportunities for residents:

  • Medical Editor Sue MacPhee is a resource for residents getting papers to publication. Before coming to the Department of Neurosurgery in 1999, she was Managing Editor for Cephalalgia and the J Stroke Cerebrovascular Disorders.
  • The Department of Neurosurgery at Henry Ford Hospital houses the coordinating center for the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (mssic.org), a Clinical Quality Initiative that is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Value Partnership’s Program. MSSIC aims to improve orthopedic and neurosurgical spinal care in the state with a registry that adds over a 1000 degenerative spine cases with patient-reported outcomes and a staff of 15, including 3 biostatisticians. Dr. Abdulhak serves as Director with Drs. Chang, Nerenz and Schwalb as co-Directors. Many Henry Ford residents have led award winning research projects with MSSIC data.
  • Henry Ford’s Brain Tumor Bank is the 2nd largest in the US, having contributed critical information for the NIH’s Cancer Genome Atlas
  • The Department has strong ties with the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research for Henry Ford Health where Dr. Schwalb has an appointment as a Research Scientist
  • As of September 30, the Department of Neurosurgery has received $1,754,405 in funding for 2020 (federal, pharma and non-profit), with multiple labs with NIH and Department of Defense funding



For more information on Neurosurgery research, click here.

Our Neurosurgery resident research and journal club program helps bring a fresh perspective to research and create contributing members of the neurosurgical future.

The program was founded by Dr. Beverly Walters, a neurosurgeon and clinical epidemiologist who is retired from full-time clinical neurosurgery practice. Her experience in clinical research involves the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials, case-control studies, meta-analyses, and outcome measure evaluation. She has written extensively on study design and assessment of the quality of medical literature. Dr. Walters has handed over the reins to Dr. Florence Dallo, PhD, MPH.

Dr. Dallo is Professor and Director of Wellness & Health Promotion at Oakland University. As an epidemiologist with expertise in healthcare disparities, she brings a wealth of knowledge applicable to resident development as clinician scientists. Each year a resident is recognized with the Beverly C. Walters, MD, MSc, FRCSC Research Award for outstanding achievement.

Neurosurgery resident research Q&A with program founder Dr. Walters

What are your primary roles in Henry Ford Neurosurgery?
Education and mentorship. Generally, educating the residents in critical evaluation of the medical literature. Which we do through our journal club, which is highly structured.

How does Journal Club work?
The residents run the discussion, but I’ll ask probing questions or make statements to get them to think. They start to learn how to critically evaluate previous efforts, and I help them develop an intellectual sieve to review and assess the existing literature. I teach them that it’s about how you ask the question. What maneuvers you make to get the answer. And how to be convincing when you write it up.

When you’re mentoring new Neurosurgery residents, what is your advice?
I try to be a problem solver for them. For any resident, juggling clinical responsibilities with publication is a challenge. But it gets them ready for real life, because it doesn’t get any easier when you graduate.

What other skills do you teach?
Organization and time management. How to be organized about their thinking, about their papers, how to recognize what jobs they can do in 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes, an hour.

What about collaboration?
It’s a key ingredient to our success. Residents work together in teams, but also collaborate with attending physicians in Neurosurgery and other departments. And we collaborate with other institutions.

What assets do residents bring to a research program?
A fresh perspective and energy. They can run with ideas that have been bandied about amongst the residents and attendings. Once a resident is interested in a topic, they provide boots on the ground for the attendings. And the attendings provide clinical mentoring on the subject.

What about fellowships?
I mentor residents in their development of research portfolios and explain how the process works. A fellowship director wants somebody who can operate flawlessly, because the fellow is responsible for the cases, but also somebody who’s going to write papers.

How does Henry Ford’s approach to Neurosurgery resident research differ?
Some programs wait until the research year, typically PGY 4 or 5, when the residents don’t have many clinical responsibilities. The problem is, that’s never going to happen again. It doesn’t help what we’re trying to do, which is to create contributing members of the neurosurgical future.

How have your own experiences informed your mentoring?
I used to write opera and was a successful librettist. Then I got married and had children, and I became a volunteer childbirth educator when I realized there was a need. Ultimately, I was encouraged to go to medical school. I had concerns about raising my young kids as a medical student, but I did it, and I continued to write. My last opera was written my final year of medical school. I wanted it badly enough, and so I found a way to get all of it done. This is what I try to teach my residents.


Synapse Residents' Corner columns

We also feature our Neurosurgery residents and their accomplishments in the department’s Synapse publication. Each Residents' Corner column is available for download:

Information for Applicants
Interested in applying to one of our programs, call (734) 246-8004.
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