Child Neurology Residency Program

Child Neurology Residency Program welcome sign

Dear Candidate,

Ira Bergman, MD, PhD

Ira Bergman, MD, PhD
Chief, Division of
Child Neurology
Residency Program

Miya Asato, MD

Miya Asato, MD
Program Director,
Disabilities Residency
Associate Director,
Child Neurology
Residency Program

Thank you for your interest in the Child Neurology Residency at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the country by U.S.News & World Report. We are proud to offer our five-year joint program with the Department of Pediatrics. We hope that you have the opportunity to visit and get to know our program.

Let me take this opportunity to highlight key elements:

Tradition: The Division of Child Neurology was established at Children’s Hospital in 1972 and began training its first resident in 1974 under the leadership of Michael J. Painter, MD, and Patricia K. Crumrine, MD. I joined the division in 1979 and Rajiv Varma, MD, director of Clinical Services, started his child neurology residency in the division in 1980. Miya Asato, MD, started her child neurology residency in the division in 1999 and is now director of the NDD residency and associate program director of the Child Neurology Residency Program. We currently have 21 full-time physician faculty, 11 neurology or neurodevelopmental disability residents, 8 pediatric residents in the categorical CN or NDD program, one electrophysiology fellow, two research PhD faculty members with independent basic science lab programs, nine nurse practitioners/physician assistants, a genetic counselor, twelve nurses, a social worker, a psychologist, a research nurse, a division manager, a residency coordinator and numerous support staff.  The division has a long tradition of excellence maintained by exceptional continuity of leadership and staff. The traditional values of this program include total commitment to patient care, love of the intellectual community whether learning or teaching, scholarship, and respect for our patients, students, colleagues, and each other.

There is a strong family feel to the division, which is evident as we bump into each other in small groups around the hospital or when current and past members gather in large groups at neurology meetings.     

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Patients: The greatest strength of the program is the large and diverse patient population that it treats. Children’s is the only children’s hospital in the region, serving 3.5 million people and providing envelope-stretching care in every medical and surgical specialty. The intensive care units — Neonatal, Pediatric, and Cardiac — are large and busy. The University of Pittsburgh is known internationally for its care in transplant, oncology, and neurosurgery. As a child neurology resident, you will care for every type of primary neurological disease and every neurological complication of systemic disease. I guarantee that when you graduate from this program, you will be comfortable addressing any patient who comes to your office and consulting on any patient, no matter how sick, in the hospital. You won’t always know the answer but you will know how to approach and think about the problem.

Faculty support: The program will support you. Unquestionably the greatest contributor to your education is yourself — your curiosity, interests, reading, researching, discussing, “googling” and thinking — but the faculty will always be present to help, guide and nurture. We will stand with you and take responsibility for the patients. We appreciate your skills, ambitions, hard work and care and hope to share our love of children, families, medicine and neurology with you. We are always available to discuss immediate problems, long-term goals and the wonders of child neurology.

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Ira Bergman, Chief, Division of Child Neurolgy residency quote

Teaching program: The teaching and clinical program is structured and comprehensive. Neurology residency will begin with 3 weeks of didactic sessions to prepare you for your role as a specialist, and then 9 months doing various rotations in adult neurology. Two of these months will be clinical electives.  The nervous system is more clearly defined in the mature organism, and this year of experience will teach you to recognize the modular elements of the nervous system as they function and malfunction in adult humans.  Two months of the first year will be devoted to research.  You will have the opportunity to choose 4 or 8 week blocks in either clinical or lab research or one of each.  The next two years will consist of approximately 10 months leading the inpatient child neurology team, inpatient consult service and outpatient and emergency room service, and approximately 14 months of elective time. You will see the nervous system as it matures from fetal to adult life. Metamorphosis will unfold in front of your trained eyes.

Electives are available in most neurological subspecialties and are exceptionally strong: neuroradiology, EEG, EMG, epilepsy, muscle and peripheral nerve, movement disorders, stroke, neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, neuro-ophthalmology, neuro-otology, neuropathology, neuro-oncology, sleep medicine, genetics and developmental medicine. The Child Neurology Division has specialized programs in epilepsy, headache, pseudotumor cerebri, ketogenic diet, metabolic and mitochondrial disease, tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, Fragile X syndrome, neuro-genetics, Tourette’s syndrome and movement disorders, autoimmune CNS disease, stroke, neonatal neurology, muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular disease. We are one of seven national centers with a program in neurodevelopmental disabilities and have a specialized center for autism. There are scheduled educational sessions each day of the week and one day featuring the clinical conference in child neurology. This conference presents a current patient with a difficult problem to the entire faculty for analysis and is a superb teaching opportunity. The program is large, with many faculty members eager to teach and many residents with whom to share experiences and call. We believe in shared governance among the faculty and the residents. All educational and resident decisions are made by the education committee which consists of several faculty members and a resident elected by the resident group. The resident has an equal voice and participates in all decisions which are generally made by consensus. The growth and well-being of our residents is one of our core missions.

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Ira Bergman, Chief, Division of Child Neurolgy residency quote

Research: UPMC is one of the great academic institutions in the United States. Almost every clinical program is outstanding and on the cutting edge of medical diagnosis and therapy. The library is supported by millions of dollars in federal grants each year and puts every journal, book, protocol and database on your computer for immediate access at no cost. The university houses an enormous amount and variety of top-tier basic and clinical research in every imaginable field and is generous in supporting young investigators. If you want to pursue research, you will find a scientifically exciting niche here and the university will support you. The university and our program will provide you with every opportunity to grow intellectually, scientifically and clinically. You will choose the direction but we will help with the means. You will begin research rotations in your first year and then can choose to continue research projects during elective time in the second and third years.

Location: Finally, let’s discuss the city. Pittsburgh has small-town virtues with some big-city advantages. If you have a family, this is a wonderful place to raise children. There are beautiful neighborhoods, lovely parks, excellent day care, good schools, and special programs in music, art, and sports for children. More subtly, family is the major value here and you will quickly find a community of young parents who want to share the experience with you. If you are single, the medical center, business, and legal communities are vibrant and filled with bright, intellectual, and ambitious young people like yourself. The faculty, residents and students at the medical center are an incredibly rich mixture of people from all over the world and every social background. The city has major league sports teams and world-class theater, art, and music. The city is filled with people of every age jogging, biking, paddling, and playing basketball, racquetball, squash, tennis, golf, and every other sport. In 2017, Pittsburgh ranked #8 on CBRE's list of tech talent momentum market. Millennials accounted for 25.3 percent of Pittsburgh's urban population, the second-largest concentration of the markets in the report. The report stated: "Pittsburgh, the city of three rivers, now has a trifecta of top tech talent, a growing base of millennials, and a strong and vibrant commercial real estate market, which is now home to a number of powerhouse tech companies as well as smaller start-ups gaining national recognition."

One of our major missions and passions is education. We are thrilled to meet the next generation of child neurologists and hope to share experiences with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any of us by e-mail or by phone.


ira signature

Ira Bergman, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology and Immunology
Ronald L. and Patricia M. Violi Endowed Chair in Child Development
University of Pittsburgh
Chief, Division of Child Neurology
Interim Chief, Division of Child Development
Program Director, Child Neurology Residency
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

One Children's Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA 15224
Tel:      412-692-6207      Fax: 412-692-6787