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Neurosurgery is the specialty of surgery dedicated to the diagnosis, surgical and nonsurgical management of congenital abnormalities, trauma and diseases affecting the nervous system, its blood supply, and supporting structures.

The Division of Neurosurgery at McMaster University clinical program encompasses a comprehensive regional program and includes a neurosurgery residency program leading to certification by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, on completion. The program serves as the major tertiary and quaternary referral center for most of Southern Ontario, a drainage population of almost 2.5 million residents. Its major clinical services take place at the Hamilton General Hospital with the pediatric neurosurgery located at the McMaster Children’s Hospital, the second largest Children’s Hospital in Ontario. There is also an operating day at the St. Joseph’s Hospital that is utilized for minimally invasive spinal procedures. A multidisciplinary neuro-oncology clinic takes place at the Juravinski Hospital, one of the best equipped cancer centers in North America.

The training program of the Division of neurosurgery provides ample clinical and training experience for neurosurgery residents and residents from other streams, for instance; neurology, otolaryngology and orthopedics who require exposure to neurosurgery. We are an integral part of the neuroscience academic program which includes weekly neuroscience grand rounds, weekly neuroradiology rounds at McMaster University Medical Center, weekly neurovascular rounds, an annual neuroscience research day, an annual neuro-oncology day, an annual neurovascular symposium and the annual neuroscience symposium. A biweekly epilepsy conference has recently been added to the program. The CanMEDs physician competency framework has become the basis for labeling and evaluating learning activities as well as skills and knowledge for our trainees. Summarily, the goal of the training program is to produce neurosurgeons who are competent in all the CanMEDs roles.

The neurosurgery residency program is designed in accordance with the specialty training requirements of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and the curriculum is based on objectives of training in neurosurgery of the Royal College.

The first 2 years of neurosurgery residency is spent in the Surgical Foundations curriculum and the resident is expected to write and pass the Surgical Foundations examinations of the Royal College by the end of the second year. A maximum of 13 blocks of neurosurgery are usually undertaken and a further 13 blocks of foundational surgical training with a minimum of 1 block of critical care and 1 block in a program that provides initial trauma management. [1 block is a 4 week rotation]

The next 4 years are spent mostly in neurosurgery with the resident completing a minimum of 42 months of neurosurgery rotations in the program. 6 months of the neurosurgery rotations are undertaken in neurosurgery at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. Additional rotations include 3 months of neurology, 3 months of neuropathology and a twelve month period of flexible training which might be spent doing research or any additional relevant training approved by the program. There is a graduated level of responsibility and the final year is usually spent as Chief Resident.

The program subscribes to the surgeon scientist program of McMaster University and many residents have streamed out of clinical duties for a while to undertake studies and research leading to a Masters or Doctorate degree before returning to complete the clinical aspect of the training. The surgeon scientist program is led by a member of staff of the division of neurosurgery, Dr. Sheila Singh.

During the program, the residents attend local and international conferences and courses during which opportunities are available to present research findings of studies they have been involved with.

The neurosurgery academic half day is a protected time completely dedicated to academics. It is held every Friday at the David Braley Research Center at the Hamilton General Hospital. From 7am till 12 noon, with an agenda that consists of case presentations, combined neuroscience grand rounds, didactic teaching of the program’s curriculum and neuropathology sessions. Visiting professors from Canada and abroad are regularly invited to participate in the academic program.

Our home community in Hamilton, Ontario is busy, culturally diverse, progressive, and ambitious, located midway between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Our Program operates in the Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals and also at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. More information about our community, McMaster University, and the hospitals in Hamilton is readily available at the following:

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