In 2006, Carilion took a bold step in its academic mission of training the physician specialists of the future by launching a Neurosurgery Residency Training Program. The training program has rapidly expanded and flourished. It is intimately involved with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the Virginia Tech School of Neurosciences, and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. According to proud Program Director Dr. Gary Simonds, "At Carilion we have the facilities, the patient base, the neuroscience focus, the support, the research opportunities, and the faculty to offer a first rate training experience. Frankly it would be a crime not to employ these tremendous assets to the training of the next generation of neurosurgeons."
Originally, Carilion Clinic Neurosurgery trained graduates of Osteopathic Medical Schools. In 2016 the program acquired ACGME accreditation to train graduates of Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) Medical Schools. Positions in the training program are extremely competitive. Only one applicant is accepted per year. Top medical students from across the country vie for the position.
The residency extends over seven years beyond medical school. The majority of the training experience takes place in one large medical facility, Level 1 Trauma and tertiary care center, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, on the Virginia Tech Carilion medical campus in Roanoke Virginia. Residents do spend 4 months with the exceptional neuroscience teams at the University of Virginia Medical System in Charlottesville Virginia. Opportunities for specialty specific "out rotations" are readily available. Training is intensive with heavy emphasis on surgical decision making, critical medical thinking, neuroscience research, wellness and resilience building, teaching, and hands-on surgical experience. Rigorous conference and lecture schedules are backed by extensive textbook and medical journal reading assignments. Furthermore high-level research opportunities are abundant through Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and the Virginia Tech School of Neurosciences. Intimately interwoven into the training experience are unique teaching experiences at two medical schools, an allied health college, graduate programs, and at the Virginia Tech School of Neurosciences. In fact, all CC-VTC neurosurgery residents are afforded academic titles at the school (Instructor to Assistant Professor). Of equal import, residents participate in a leading and renown wellness and burnout prevention program throughout their training. "By the end of training, we anticipate that our Residents to be able to fit into any practice or academic program in the country," states Dr. Simonds.