On March 19, Yale Neurosurgery was pleased to announce the addition of Miguel Chavez, MD, and Sarah Hodges, MD as the newest residents to join the Yale Neurosurgery Residency Program. The department extends our sincerest congratulations, and we look forward to continuing our commitment to education as we welcome these new residents.
The Neurosurgery Residency Program, led by Program Director Michael DiLuna, MD, and Associate Program Director Joseph King, Jr., MD, MSCE, is a 7-year program that provides training to the best and brightest physicians to achieve confidence and success in all neurosurgical domains. Residents in our program benefit from early OR experience, two years of protected academic time, and nearly all recent graduates have gone on to take highly competitive fellowships or academic positions.
Miguel Millares Chavez moved from Mexico to California with his family at age three, enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school and shortly after was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy where he was a member of the Air Force Parachute Team and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2012. After graduation Miguel served as an Air Force Civil Engineering Officer for five years and was stationed in Guam, Korea, and England, before beginning medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where he will receive his medical diploma in May 2021. During medical school Miguel’s research interests included pediatric cerebrovascular malformation and peripheral nerve repairs outcomes, and meningeal seeding after resection of metastatic brain tumors.
Sarah Hodges returns to Yale after completing medical school at Duke University School of Medicine. Sarah graduated with distinction from Yale College in 2012, and conducted research at the Yale School of Medicine, through which she developed an interest in neuroimaging and brain electrophysiology. During medical school, her research included 3D visualization and mapping, neuro-innovation within spine and functional neurosurgery, and using healthcare data to improve clinical outcomes in neurosurgery. For Sarah’s work on the impact of inter-hospital transfer on spinal cord injury management and outcomes, she was awarded the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma & Critical Care Conference-wide Spinal Trauma Award.
Sarah chose Yale because of the program’s “commitment to training exceptional proceduralists and neurosurgeon-scientist leaders” as well as “Yale Neurosurgery’s legacy of uniform excellence and exceptionalism paired with a collegial, supportive culture.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges for medical students seeking a neurosurgery residency position and for neurosurgery training programs selecting their trainees this year. Travel restrictions allowed students to visit only one away neurosurgical training program, which made it difficult for most applicants and program to assess each other face-to-face. Interviews and information sessions were virtual. But Yale’s residency program rose to the challenge.
“We had to adapt our previous recruitment and interview process to the realities of COVID-19,” says Dr. King. “Our faculty, residents, and staff all pitched in to develop and deploy a three-day series of online lectures and discussions with invited applicants in November 2020.”
Current residents also helped organize Zoom-based interview days that included one-on-one interviews between applicants and resident and faculty interviewers, supplemented with group discussions and presentations in a virtual waiting room, and follow-up phone calls, texts, video conferences, and emails.
“By the end of the interview season we were confident that we and our applicants knew one another, and we are thrilled with the outcome of the Match that will have Miguel and Sarah start their training with us in New Haven in June,” says Dr. King.