Child Neurology

Frequently Asked Questions by MS1s and MS2s

Child Neurology is a specific residency training program dealing with complex differentials utilizing a variety of diagnostic modalities and current therapeutics in the care of the pediatric patient.  A strong performance on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, as well as strong performances on Pediatrics, Internal medicine and Neurology clerkships will set you up for success. Programs are most interested in students who have demonstrated a strong interest and commitment to the field through clinical exposure and research. Review the websites of professional Neurology organizations. Work with and develop a relationship with local Pediatric Neurologists the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Specialty specific research is looked at very highly.  According to the 2018 NRMP Charting the Outcomes in the Match data, the mean number of research experiences was 3.3 and the mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications for matched applicants in Child Neurology was 6.3.

Talk to your mentors and Dr. McEchron as he can help guide you to find a good “fit” depending on your interests. Work with your peers, Residents and Fellows as well as Pediatric and Neurology faculty and express your interest in getting involved. 

According to the 2018 NRMP Charting the Outcomes in the Match data, the mean number of volunteer experiences for those who matched in Child Neurology was 6.9.  A strong academic foundation and strong performance on Step 1 is your most important priority.  If you can successfully add volunteer work or other extracurricular activities and maintain a healthy balance with your academics then it is highly recommended.  Volunteering will make you more well-rounded and better informed to make a career decision while gaining valuable experience and serving the local community.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) tracks statistical trends for matched students in each specialty.  According to the 2018 Charting the Outcomes in the Match the mean USMLE Step 1 score was 233 and the mean USMLE Step 2 score was 246.

Frequently Asked Questions by MS3s and MS4s

Most students start thinking about letters toward the end of 3rd year and beginning of 4th year.  A strong letter of recommendation from your 3rd year Neurology clerkship would be beneficial.  We recommend doing a Pediatric Sub-I and 2-3 Child Neurology away rotations early in Blocks 1-5 of your 4th year to facilitate developing professional relationships and obtaining letters of recommendation along the way.  Your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor can provide you a more specific recommendation of the number and type of letters based upon your individual circumstances and competitiveness.

You should have your CV updated and your personal statement available for reference.  If you are asking for a LOR during your Sub-I or away rotation, consider asking for it about three weeks into the rotation from a faculty member who you have worked very well with.  Even better if you have developed that relationship with the Department Chair or Program Director.  When asking for a LOR it is ideal to do it in person.  Please thank your letter writers for their effort.

You are allowed to submit up to four letters in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).  We recommend including letters from faculty that know you well from your 3rd year Neurology, 4th year Pediatric Sub-I and Child Neurology away rotations and from faculty that support other aspects of your application. This could include your SP mentor, MPH or Certificate of Distinction programs you are a part of and from a research mentor you have worked closely with.

All LOR do not have to be from the field you are applying to residency in.  It is recommended that most of your letters come from Neurology and Pediatric attendings with whom you worked with during your rotations. A good combination of letters might be: Department Chair, two attendings, and one research mentor (if you worked closely together and have a good working relationship).

Please check the individual program websites for specific expectations regarding Department Chair Letters of Recommendation requirements.

In addition to your 4th year Pediatric Sub-I rotation, away rotations in Child Neurology are strongly recommended.  Some of the benefits of doing an away rotation include networking, increasing the number of interview invitations you’re likely to receive, and figuring out what you’re looking for in a residency program.  Away rotations also provide an opportunity to receive an endorsement from faculty that can make a very positive impact on your application.  We recommend working closely with your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor to help with this decision.

Program Information Specific to Child Neurology

Pediatric Neurologists are specially trained physicians who have completed a five year post medical school graduate training program consisting of two years of Pediatrics, one year training in general Neurology and two years of training in Pediatric Neurology.  There are, at present, over 70 university-based training programs in Child Neurology in the United States and Canada, and over 2000 child neurologists in the Child Neurology Society.

Additional Resources