Current Residents

Current Residents

Adult Neurology Residency Training Program Current Residents


Michelle E. Fullard, Co-Chief

Michelle Brown

I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I attended college at Vanderbilt University, where I majored in Neuroscience and spent a lot of time doing research on Parkinson's disease and heavy metal exposure.  I have played soccer my whole life, and was able to continue to play during college and medical school.  My interest in Neurology began in college, and continued to grow at Vanderbilt, where I stayed for medical school. When interviewing for residency, I was looking for a medium sized program that emphasized teaching and had approachable faculty, representation in most areas of neurology and a collegial environment. I was drawn to UVA not only because they have all of these things, but because the residents seemed to get along so well and work well together. It seemed like a great fit, and I have been very happy here. I am now in my last year of residency and will be pursuing a fellowship in movement disorders. I have enjoyed living in Charlottesville over the past 3 years. Although it is small, there is always plenty to do. There is great hiking and mountain biking if you like the outdoors and plenty of intramural sports teams to join. We get a lot of good bands coming through and there are more wineries here than you will be able to visit.


Stephen N. Donahue

Donahue croppedI am originally from Savannah, Georgia and spent most of my young life there.  I became interested in Neurology early in my life, as I always wanted to know how the brain worked and particularly how people were able to do all of the amazing things that we do on a day-to-day basis so effortlessly. Once in Medical School and having the opportunity to learn about the Nervous system and the complex anatomy and pathology associated, I was hooked. I attended The University of Georgia for undergraduate and Mercer University for medical school. During my time at Mercer, I was an active participant in the Student Government and various other extracurricular activities. I specifically enjoyed mentoring medical students in the classes below my own. I am interested in pursuing a fellowship in EMG/Neuromuscular and entering private practice near my hometown. I try to make it back to Athens for a UGA football game once a year and also try and catch the Braves when they are in D.C. My wife and I met while I was in medical school and we live in Charlottesville with our two dogs Sophie and Troup. We have loved being in Charlottesville. Some of my other hobbies are hiking, camping, cooking, and visiting the local vineyards and breweries in the Virginia countryside.


Zosfia V. Hole

Zsofia HoleMy birth place is Budapest, Hungary, but I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. I went to college at Virginia Tech and majored in Biology. During my spare time at Tech, I enjoyed playing tennis, attending Hokie football games and training my chocolate lab puppy who is now 7 years old. I loved my time at Tech for many reasons, especially because that is where I met my husband, Sean. I attended UVa for medical school and knew very early on that I would apply for neurology residency. I also knew that I would like to stay at UVa for residency as I had a very good connection with the program, faculty and residents during my medical school rotations. I also felt that Charlottesville was a great place to raise a family as there are so many activities to part-take in. I now have two beautiful daughters who are my pride and joy. After residency, I hope to complete a fellowship in Neuromuscular disorders and EMG’s.


J. Ryon Poston

Ryon PostonI grew up in Savannah, GA. My undergraduate degree is in Biology from the University of Georgia. I'm still a devoted bulldog at heart and try to make it to football games whenever my schedule allows. I went to Medical College of Georgia for medical school. I interviewed at about 7 programs. I chose UVA because of the nice people, beautiful location in Virginia, and outstanding reputation for producing great clinical neurologists. I am now in my 3rd year of residency and am very happy to be here. The training has been excellent. The focus here is on training, patient care and quality of life. After my residency, I plan to do some kind of fellowship but aren't quite sure at this time.



Jeffrey B. Ratliff, Co-Chief

Jeff RatliffMy name is Jeff Ratliff. While I may have been born in Delaware, home of tax-free shopping, I grew up in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. I went to Quaker school, Quaker college at Haverford College, and if there were Quaker medical schools, I probably would have gone to one of those too. After graduating Haverford in 2006 with a concentration in Neural and Behavioral Science, I moved north and attended the University of Rochester for my medical degree. In medical school I developed hobbies like playing pond hockey, exploring craft beer, and learning how to DJ. In my spare time, I realized Neurology was clearly the best of the medical specialties. Following the well-trodden path from Rochester to Charlottesville, I came to UVA in 2010 for the welcoming faculty who interviewed me, the bright and friendly residents I dined with, and lack of daily snowfall in January. After packing up the moving truck with my two turntables, and yes, a microphone, I've been thrilled to train here at UVA. I couldn't have picked a better group of fellow residents and an environment to work and learn.

Joanna L. Suski

Joanna SuskiHi Everyone. I am originally from Malden, Massachusetts. I went to undergrad at Boston University. In between college and medical school, I joined the Peace Corps. I lived in Honduras for two years, which was one of the best experiences of my life. I lived in a rural community and was submersed in their culture while learning about their health care system. I returned back to Massachusetts and attended medical school at the University of Massachusetts. My interest in Neurology stems back from undergrad when I did neuroanatomy research on the rhesus monkey. I was hoping to escape the cold winters in New England and ventured to the south in search of a Neurology residency program. Once I visited UVA, I knew I wanted to do my residency here. The faculty are dedicated to teaching, the residents all get along, and the clinical training is excellent. Plus, Charlottesville has a lot to offer for a small town. There are many good restaurants to choose from. There are plenty of hikes, wineries and outdoor activities. DC is only two hours away and very accessible to get to for a weekend away! I love it here at UVA and hope you will too!




James M. Addington

James AddingtonI was born and raised in the Buckeye State of Ohio. I went to undergrad at Miami University in Oxford, OH, where I majored in Zoology (with no intentions to ever work at a zoo). It is also at Miami where I earned a degree in Neurosciences, which prompted my interest in neurology and the brain. I graduated undergrad in 2007 and headed west to the Hoosier state (Indiana), where I attended Indiana University for medical school. In medical school, I continued to find all things neurology interesting and complex, so it was not a tough decision when it came to choosing what residency to apply for. I interviewed across the eastern United States, but knew UVA was the right fit following my interview. The welcoming residents and faculty, large patient population and fact that I could easily get around town when the city shuts down for 4 inches of snowfall, were all reasons I was attracted to UVA. Outside of neurology, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Leslie, whom I met back in the 6th grade at a public ice skating rink, and our dog, Colbie. Charlottesville has been a great place to live and we have enjoyed exploring the many hiking trails (ie: running into a black bear on our first hike on the AT), enjoying the great food scene and hopping from winery to winery.

Michelle C. Johansen

Michelle JohansenWelcome to UVA Neurology! You will discover cutting edge excellence, work with great staff and meet the greatest friends and colleagues. We look forward to our time together. My background includes a chemistry degree from UVA where I also rowed crew and participated in club swimming. A program at MCV which places twenty students in northern VA in an intense practicum training program for the final two years of rotations drew me to remain in Virginia for med school. While there I met a team of fantastic Neurologists and Neurosurgeons who encouraged my growing interest in Neurology. I was privileged to travel to El Salvador twice on medical missions trips where I was able to converse with patients and local doctors in Spanish and witness the fascinating treatment methods of neurologic diseases. During the search for a residency program, it was no surprise to discover cutting edge excellence at UVA and my first year has confirmed that observation. In my free time (cough) I try to stay physically active, attend a wonderful church and spend as much time as possible with some of the great fellow residents who have become close friends. These are simply snapshots of us but please know that we look forward to getting to know the full portrait of you.

Surabhi Ranjan

Surabhi RanjanHi everyone. I am Surabhi. I was born and raised in Varanasi, a quaint city in the northern India.  I went to Mumbai, India for my medical school at Seth GS Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital. I love animals, reading fiction, painting and swimming. I came to the U.S. for residency training and completed my internship in Prelim IM at the Westchester Medical Center at New York Medical College. Of all the places I interviewed for Neurology, I chose UVa because the atmosphere here appeared to be the perfect mix of academics and clinical training. But I must say, what I found unique here was that all this learning takes place in a very congenial environment. So far my time at UVa has been excellent and I look forward to more learning and fun.


Reza Seyedsadjadi

Reza SeyedsadjadiI'm very excited to be part of UVa neurology family. After completing  medical training in Tehran, Iran, I pursued clinical and research training at King's College London, UK, where I got involved in neuromuscular disease and multiple sclerosis research and clinical trials and continued research in MS at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I developed special interest in translational clinical research in neurology, then decided to follow an academic neurology path in the US. I chose UVa neurology residency, as this program offers a perfect mix of didactic teaching and hands on experience, with great supervision and direction. UVa has great resources to support my plans in pursuing a career in academic neurology with opportunities in research and teaching. The attendings are attentive, and they tailor the teaching to my individual goals and perspective. Despite its modest size, Charlottesville has much to offer in addition to its proximity to major cities and airports. The community is dynamic and vibrant, housing is affordable and there are lots of venues for fine dining or outdoor living.


David H. Taplinger

TaplingerI was born in Philadelphia, but grew up in Florida. I attended college at the University of North Florida where I spent most of my time surfing, though organic chemistry did occasionally cut into my beach time. I also met my wife there; we celebrated our 10th anniversary this year. I graduated with a degree in psychology and did research projects involving language and dementia. I have been interested in neurology since college, and knew I would apply for neurology residency. I came to Virginia to attend Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2007, and liked it here so much that I decided to stay in Virginia for residency. I applied to about a dozen programs, but felt that UVA really had the "complete package." Our faculty are outstanding, and put a huge emphasis on learning and collegiality. I'm not quite sure how they do this, but they seem to pick great residents every year who are a lot of fun to work with. Charlottesville is great as well; despite being a small town, there is always something going on and if you like the outdoors the possibilities are endless. It's nice to live in a state where you can go surfing one day and snowboarding the next. I am now in my PGY2 year, and have not yet decided what subspecialty I will enter after residency. I have strong interests in movement disorders and in vascular neurology.


Melanie D. Ward

Melanie WardI am from Charleston, WV. I went to Bethany College for undergrad and West Virginia University for medical school, where aside from studying I mainly focused on being obsessed with college football (let's go Mountaineers!). My favorite things in life (besides football season) are my three dogs (possibly the worst behaved in the world), bluegrass music, and spending time outdoors. I really enjoy living in Charlottesville, trying out the many restaurants in the area, and taking advantage of the great music scene here. I'm very glad I chose UVA for residency and am confident that I will receive great training here. Feel free to get in touch with me with any questions about the program, Charlottesville, or match in general!




Matthew Ehrlich

EhrlichI was born in Charleston, SC and moved several times during my childhood, living all over the East coast and Midwest. I went to Purdue University, where I studied neurobiology and was very active with my fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi.  Following undergrad, I attended Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in wonderful New Orleans, LA where I received my MPH in Epidemiology. Finally, I went to Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. I had an interest in neurology throughout medical school, and this choice was finalized during my third year after my neurology clerkship. I interviewed at about a dozen programs. I chose UVA for it's excellence in patient care and focus on training and education, as well as the friendly and incredibly knowledgeable faculty. The laid-back, yet focused atmosphere of UVA and the character of the town of Charlottesville were also big draws for me. After residency, I am considering a fellowship in stroke and a career in academic medicine with a focus on education.


Matthew P. Elliott

ElliottAfter being raised near Charleston, W.Va, I attended the University of Notre Dame, where I spent most of my time as an electrical engineer tailgating football games. I went to West Virginia University for medical school. It was during my 3-4th years that I decided to do my residency in neurology. I interviewed at about a dozen programs. I chose UVA because the program is great, Charlottesville is great, and the residents are generally happy people. I am now in my 1st year of residency and am very happy to be here. The training has been excellent. The focus here is on training, patient care and quality of life. After my residency, I plan to do a fellowship. I am currently most interested in movement disorders, neuromuscular disease, and epilepsy.



Christopher L. Groth

GrothI was born and raised on a family farm outside of Winterset, IA, a small town, where my mother had a greenhouse business and my father raised corn, beans, and cattle. I attended Iowa State University for undergraduate where I enjoyed playing intramural sports, weightlifting, and met my wife who is an Emergency Medicine intern here at UVA. I then went to medical school at the University of Iowa.  I wasn't sure of what specialty I wanted to go into, but I made the wise decision to go into Neurology toward the end of my third year in medical school. I interviewed at a large number of schools across the country as I was couples matching, but decided to come to UVA as it had some of the most friendly faculty and residents I had encountered, great relations with other specialties, and lots of opportunities for personalizing my residency through research, various rotations, or international travel. In addition, Charlottesville is in a great part of the country with lots of outdoors activities nearby, cool restaurants, fun wineries, and lots of historical sites. I am now in my intern year and enjoying the start of residency. I am not sure exactly what I want to do after residency, but I think that I want to do a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine.

Sneha Mantri

MantriI attended UVa, where I majored in biochemistry and comparative literature. I went to Columbia University for medical school and a master's degree in narrative medicine. It was midway through my third year of medical school that I decided to do my residency in neurology. I chose UVA because of the broad catchment area, the varied subspecialty representation, and most especially the camaraderie among the residents. I am now in my first year of residency and am thrilled to be here. The training has been excellent. The focus here is on training, patient care and quality of life. I still haven't solidified my plans for after residency, but will probably do a fellowship and hope to stay in academics.



Kathryn S. Stevens

Stevens-NeveI am originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana and for the most part consider myself a "Midwest girl.” I moved down to New Orleans after high school to attend Tulane University, where I studied Anthropology and Neuroscience. I loved living in NOLA--- from the delicious cajun food to live jazz, it was a fun place to be for four years. After I graduated, I moved back home to Indiana to go to Indiana University for medical school. It was not until the end of my third year of medical school that I decided to pursue a career in neurology. I chose University of Virginia for several reasons, but the number one reason was the people I met and spoke with. The residents, faculty, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Johnston are all so kind, fun, and passionate about what they do. That passion is contagious, and I knew it would create an exciting working and learning environment. Another reason why I chose UVA is the beautiful area in which it is set. Every day when I leave the hospital, I get a great view of the mountains.... that is hard to beat. Also, there are endless hiking trails and wineries that surround Charlottesville, two of my favorite things! I couples matched here with my fiance, Adam, and we love to explore the area with our dog Scout when we have some spare time. I am now in my first year of residency, and while I am looking forward to starting my neurology training, I am loving my medicine internship. I am learning a lot, and having fun spending time with my medicine co-interns. After my residency, I would like to do a fellowship in critical care or infectious disease.

Lisa S. Toran

Lisa toran croppedI'm from Santa Rosa, CA (famous for being the home of Charles Schultz and the Snoopy museum). I went to college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I earned my degree in Biopsychology and minored in beach jogging and eating Mexican food. I went to Penn State University for medical school and it was during my 3rd and 4th years of medical school that I decided to go into Neurology. I chose the University of Virginia because all of the faculty I met were clearly enthused about their field and about teaching. The residents were all genuinely nice, both to us applicants and to each other. As an example, during my interview dinner one resident agreed to take the call pager and be on call for another resident who had another commitment. This kind of cohesiveness is a genuine strength of the residency program.
I am now in my first year of residency as an intern in the Medicine program at UVA, and am looking forward to my Neurology rotations this year. I'm happy to be living in Charlottesville (with all the outdoor ‘naturey’ activities, great restaurants, outdoor concerts and farmers markets), even if they don't have a Snoopy museum.



Halley Briglia


Halley BrigliaI was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania.  I then completed my undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.   From there, I stayed in Ohio to attend The University of Toledo College of Medicine.  I am excited to now be an intern at University of Virginia and reside out of the snow belt for the first time in my life!  The weather is great, but I chose UVa because of the people.  I am only beginning my intern year, and while at times it can be busy, I still look forward to coming to work every day because I love the people I work with!  From faculty and residents to nurses and support staff, the University of Virginia is committed to quality patient care and resident education.  The learning environment is supportive while at the same time encourages you to be the best physician you can be.  As a plus, Charlottesville is beautiful and the outdoor activities are endless.  My boyfriend and I enjoy touring the vineyards, taking hikes in the Shenandoah Valley with our chocolate lab, visiting local restaurants (I have not had a bad meal yet) or just sitting on our front porch gazing at the mountain view.  It is a remarkably dog-friendly town, and we often take our dog out to eat with us or to the off-leash dog park.  I am not sure what field of Neurology I will end up in, but I am excited to be receiving top-notch Neurology training at UVa and am looking forward to the next four years!

Joseph Carrera

CarraraI was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I attended the University of Michigan where I majored in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science. That is where my interest in neurology and neuroscience began. From there, I headed to the heartland, and completed medical school at the University of Iowa. After my 3rd year neurology rotation, my decision to pursue a career in neurology was cemented. While navigating the couples match process, I interviewed at programs across the country. What struck me most about UVA is that the program here is so well balanced. Not only does this program offer excellent training in neurology, but I found the residents here to be incredibly genuine. During the dinner with the residents the night before the interview day, I truly got the sense that residents were very close knit and had lots of fun meeting up outside of work. On interview day, the faculty clearly demonstrated their passion for teaching and patient care. These elements, paired with the vibrant college town atmosphere, made choosing the University of Virginia very easy. So far I have really enjoyed my start to intern year. My wife (an internal medicine intern) and I have both found many things to do in Charlottesville and can't wait to explore the area further. At this point, I am most interested in pursuing a stroke fellowship after residency. If you have any questions about the couples matching process, the program here at Virginia, or about anything else, please don't hesitate to contact me!


Jason Crowell

CrowellI am originally from Florence, Alabama.  I graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Mathematics, and then I moved to Birmingham and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine.  I became interested in neurology during my second year of medical school when we studied neuroanatomy, and after my neurology rotation during third year I was certain I wanted to make this my career.  My wife and I, both born and raised in Alabama, wanted to stay relatively close to home for my residency.  After interviewing at categorical programs primarily in the southeast, it was clear that the neurology residency program at UVA was the best choice because of the faculty, staff, and residents associated with it and the record it has for training excellent neurologists.  In addition to the outstanding program, the charming city of Charlottesville and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains offer plenty to enjoy (and with Washington, D.C., just two hours away, there is literally always something fun to do).  At this time, I have interests in stroke and neurocritical care and plan to do a fellowship following my residency.  We have really enjoyed our short time here and are looking forward to the next four years!

Kiran Kanth

KanthI attended the University of Minnesota where I majored in neuroscience and stayed on to complete medical school. I decided to pursue a neurology residency in the middle of my third year of med school. I chose UVA for residency for many reasons, the major ones being because of its strong dedication to resident education, the support that the neurology department provides to its entire staff, and the warm weather, in contrast to the frigid temperatures in Minnesota. The most important reason I was drawn to UVA was because every attending and resident encountered during the interview process and afterwards has been very friendly, supportive, and always willing to help. Charlottesville is a great place to live: lots of sun, the charm of a smaller city without the hassle, and DC and Richmond not too far away if you are craving an urban feel. I am currently in my first year of residency and excited to learn as much medicine as I can in one year. I am interested in completing a fellowship in stroke and critical care but have not limited my interests yet.


David Lapides

LapidesI grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and went to undergrad in Santa Fe, New Mexico at St. John's College where I studied the great books of western literature. During college, I began doing neuroscience research in neonatal epilepsy at Georgetown during my summers.  When I came back to the east coast for my post-bac program, I continued research in neonatal epilepsy, specifically investigating the effects of potassium channel opener therapy at Penn/CHOP.  I went to medical school at the University of Maryland where I continued participating in neuroscience researching the effects of calcium channel blocker therapy in central pain syndrome.

I always had a good idea that I would pursue neurology given my research background.  But as I got to know more neurologists, I saw that, more than any other field, they were people like me.  Here at UVA was no different.  The relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful mountains and the collegial atmosphere amongst the residents was what initially attracted me to the program.  My fiancee and I could not be happier to be in Charlottesville.  I plan to pursue a career in academic neurology and look forward to cementing my decision on a specialty during residency.


Matthew McConnell

McConnellHey! My name is Matt. I grew up in Charlotte, NC. Throughout my childhood and in high school, my focus was split between class work, year-around high school, club, and state-team soccer, classical and jazz piano, tennis, and place-kicking for the football team. The summer before I went to Duke University, I shadowed a psychiatrist who served a low income patient population, all of whom were on Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans. Witnessing the inspiring transformation of a schizophrenic patient after successful treatment that led to his assimilation back into society was the catalyst for my interest in a career in medicine. At Duke, the innate drive to reenact what the psychiatrist that I shadowed did for her patients collided with my life-long curiosity for the myriad functions of the conscious mind and the neurological correlates underlying what drives our behavior. The neuroscience classes I took and the work I did in Dr. Meck’s lab investigating, through electrophysiological studies examining firing patterns of neurons within the striatum of rats, how we are able to estimate short lengths of time resulted in more of a passion than a curiosity for the brain. What really solidified my decision to go into Neurology were my experiences with the wide variety of neurological diseases I saw during third year of medical school at Wake Forest University. Wake Forest will always be special place for me because not only is it where I discovered what direction my career was heading, but it is where I met my fiance, Emma Pace, who is a Family Medicine resident at UVA.

Hearing about all the horror stories of couples matching and the trials and tribulations of finding a place that both parties could agree on had us rather fearful of what was to come during our interview season. UVA was our first interview and after traveling from Charleston, SC to Portland, Oregon and various programs in between, nothing came close to the excitement and comfort we both felt throughout our visit to UVA. Not only were the faculty and residents outstanding people and physicians, they were fun, happy, welcoming, and easy to talk to and get along with. Both the family medicine and neurology programs encompassed not only outstanding academic training, but also a laid back, collegial environment. We now live within walking distance of the hospital with our dog Rue who has her own fenced-in back yard to run around in. We have yet to completely discover all that Charlottesville has to offer, but we love the ample amount of live music, hiking, breweries, wineries, and quality restaurants in the area. If you weren't thinking of checking out UVA Neurology, I would strongly encourage you to reconsider. Cheers!



Recent grads -2013

Michael Brogan, 2013 grad

I was born and raised in South Florida. I attended college at Princeton University, where I majored in psychology (mainly because I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up). I had a few careers before deciding to go into medicine. Right out of college I worked in sales & marketing and did some consulting. From there somehow I wound up working in complimentary medicine. Oddly this is what lead me to more conventional medicine as I started wondering why certain approaches were working for some clients and not others and started reading medical physiology textbooks for fun on the beach. I did my post-baccalaureate premedical certificate program at American University in DC and went to the University of Rochester for medical school. I decided on neurology over medicine during my 3rd year. I interviewed at about 7 programs. What drew me to UVA were the residents I met during my visit. They were smart, fun, and seemed to care about each other and the program. It also meant a lot to me that the department chair and the program director seemed to have identical views on residency training. I am now in my 4th year of residency and still happy I came here. The training has been outstanding and I feel that my department has had my best interests in focus when it has mattered most. I will be headed to the Cleveland Clinic for fellowship in Neurocritical Care in 2013.


Bryan Eckerle, 2013 grad

Hey everybody, I'm Bryan Eckerle, one of the PGY-4 residents and a Chief Resident for the 2012-13 year. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky before heading to Vanderbilt for undergrad and then on to Indiana University for med school. I chose UVa for residency based on the strong reputation of the department as well as the collegial atmosphere not only among residents, but also between residents and faculty. I am a strong believer in making sure a place is a good "fit" personality-wise, and UVa was then and still is a perfect fit for me. The faculty here are each highly dedicated to resident education and helping foster our interests and goals within neurology, and my fellow residents never cease to impress, both academically and as genuinely awesome people to be  around.

I moved to Charlottesville with my wife, Courtney, whom I met during medical school. Neither of us had ever lived this far from the mid-south/midwest before moving for residency, but this has been an amazing place to spend the past three plus years. There is a nearly endless list of things to do; we enjoy hiking/swimming in the Blue Ridge Mountains with our dog, wine tasting (there are literally dozens of vineyards within a half hour of our house), and exploring the fantastic restaurants around town. We also spend a lot of time taking in the some of the great live music that comes through C'ville. On weekends, we take trips to DC or to the beach, both a short drive away.

We look forward to meeting another great group of applicants this year; please let me or any of other residents know if we can tell you anything at all about the program or about Charlottesville. Cheers.


Sarah M. Jones, 2013 grad

I'm originally from a small town in upstate NY and pursued interests in dance and academics through high school and college. I was a double major in dance and biology at Cornell University. I studied medicine at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY, where I pursued interests in patient advocacy through AMA and volunteering abroad in Haiti. During my studies I fell in love with the intricacies and mysteries of the human brain. I was interested in moving out of a big city and when I asked for advice, I learned that UVA was one of the few academic centers located in a smaller city that was highly regarded by several neurologists in NYC. When meeting the faculty on interviews, I found them to be clever, enthusiastic, and highly approachable. Charlottesville itself is a charming place to live, and many people who move here never want to leave. I am now in my third year of residency and am very happy to be here. The training has been comprehensive and we have been exposed to many different disease pathologies and presentations. We work closely alongside many other departments, namely medicine/pediatrics, radiology, and neurosurgery. Moreover, my impression of the faculty lived up to my expectations and multiple attendings have demonstrated a personal investment in my education. After my residency, I plan to do a fellowship in neurophysiology working alongside Dr. Burns.


Scott J. Kohler, 2013 grad

I come from Hamburg, Pa. which is a small town in Eastern/Central Pennsylvania. Having lived in a small town, I enjoy camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. I did my undergraduate education at University of Pittsburgh and medical school training at Temple University in Philadelphia. When the time came for residency, I felt I had experienced a lot of Pennsylvania and had seen both urban and rural life. Not only did I want to get out of Pennsylvania for a while, but I wanted to go to a program that provided excellent clinical training to be well prepared for graduation. UVA was a very good match. The program is well respected and the residents had a good attitude toward working as a team and helping each other out. I'm also the proud father of two children, and the town of Charlottesville was a nice blend of a small town with larger city conveniences. I have the ability to take the family on weekend trips to the mountains, to the beach, Colonial Williamsburg, or to Washington D.C.
Currently, I am in my 4th year of residency and I like UVA so much that I will be staying for 2 more years completing an Epilepsy Fellowship.


Chad E. Saunders, 2013 grad

I was born and raised in northern New Jersey and completed my undergraduate degree at Grove City College where I studied Molecular Biology. Following graduation I spent a handful of years working for a mutual fund company near Philadelphia. It was a valuable experience, but I was eager to get into studying medicine by the end of my time there. I attended medical school at Drexel University and became interested in neurology during my second year. I interviewed at about 12 programs in the mid-Atlantic area and northeast. I found both UVA and Charlottesville to be a great fit and didn't have much difficulty deciding where I wanted to go. The faculty here are accessible and care about resident education. My wife and I were drawn to Charlottesville as a wonderful place to raise our two children, who are currently 4 and 7. I’ve entered my fourth year of residency and plan to extend my stay here while completing an EEG fellowship.


Bryan Cupka, 2012 grad

I was born in Minneapolis and grew up in the surrounding area. A glutton for punishment when I was younger, I became of fan of everything Minnesota, including the Vikings, Golden Gophers, and Prince Rogers Nelson. I went to Gustavus Adolphus College for undergrad, during which time I was fortunate enough to study the prosody of Vonnegut while completing my pre-medical requirements. I moved to Milwaukee to attend the Medical College of Wisconsin, where I very quickly grew interested in neuroscience and became familiar with two of the areas major cultural delicacies, fried fish and fermented yeast. Casting a wide net, I applied to 12 different neurology residencies. When visiting Charlottesville for my interview, I was instantly impressed by the city, the department/program, and most of all, the residents (and their quality of life). There are always a number of activities going on in Charlottesville, and over the years we have most enjoyed Fridays after Five, the surrounding wine country, the Downtown Mall, local restaurants, and the occasional Washington Capitals game. I am continuing my training in EMG/clinical neurophysiology at the University of Maryland.

Holly Hensley-Judge, 2012 grad

I was both born and raised in Kentucky (no jokes please). I went to Centre College for undergraduate where I majored in psychobiology, mainly to avoid taking the botany classes required for a biology major, and art history, mainly because I just wasn't getting enough exposure to Greek vases and Dutch masters in organic chemistry class. I went to University of Louisville for medical school and decided pretty early on I wanted to go into neurology, after a summer externship following my first year. I interviewed at about 13 programs and couples matched with my husband, who's a general surgery resident at UVA. I picked University of Virginia for my neurology residency because I liked the people I met, both residents and attendings, and had a physical dependence on Bodo's Bagels, which has sadly not improved with time and proximity. I just graduated and am staying on for an electrophysiology fellowship. I've enjoyed my training here and especially the friendships I've made with my fellow residents I've had a great education and am grateful for all the guidance I've had along the way from my different attendings, Dr. Burns and Dr. Johnston.

Kelly Gwathmey, 2011 Grad

As I am originally from Richmond, Virginia, I grew up with the University of Virginia and Charlottesville practically in my backyard. Following high school, I ventured south to Emory University in Atlanta for college. It was there that I developed a passion for the neurosciences after I serendipitously stumbled upon the Neurosciences and Behavioral Biology major. I returned to Virginia to attend Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. There, I was fortunate enough to meet my husband. Throughout medical school, I did my best to keep an open mind, but ultimately succumbed to destiny and applied for Neurology residencies. Given that I was couples matching with a future orthopedic surgeon, I applied to 32 programs. Needless to say my fourth year was an eye-opening experience as I travelled all over the country. After having spent the past 4 years in Virginia, I was hoping to spend the next 4-5 years somewhere new. My husband, after falling in love with the UVA Orthopedics Department following a 4th year away rotation, prayed that I would be equally enamored with the Neurology Department and consider staying in Virginia. After approximately 15 interviews elsewhere, UVA was like a breath of fresh air. I instantly connected with the residents and realized that the UVA Neurology Residency Program was truly special. After 4 years of Neurology residency and 1 year of Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship, I am thankful that we ranked UVA #1! I formed an eternal bond with my four female co-residents (first all-female class at UVA!) and with many of the attendings. I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Burns take me under his wing during my 5 years at UVA. This friendship and mentorship resulted in multiple publications as he fostered my love of Neuromuscular Neurology and helped to fortify my desire to pursue a career in academics. Now that I am completing a second year of fellowship in Boston, I look back fondly on my years in Charlottesville and realize how extraordinary my experience was.

Jennie Taylor, 2011 Grad

The UVA neurology residency program first made an impression on me at my interview as a residency applicant. From the number of enthusiastic and welcoming residents at the dinner, to the poignant faculty interviewers, I left with an understanding of the program's mission to train excellent clinical neurologists. It didn't take long to realize I had similar expectations from a residency program and that UVA would be a great beginning to my neurology career.

I also had the opportunity to do my intern year at UVA, allowing me to familiarize myself with the hospital and form life-long friendships with co-residents from outside the neurology department. I quickly realized that my medicine co-interns were an incredibly intelligent group of people who had chosen UVA to do their residencies and had a lot to teach me. While intern year posses its own set of challenges, it is also an amazing bonding experience. I even played flag football and softball with my intern class over the next several years. It also didn't take me long to realize that Charlottesville is a great place to do residency! While it is quaint and surrounded by beautiful mountains and endless opportunities for outdoor activities, it is also an easy place to live and full of unexpected culture and great food!

Over the 3 subsequent years as a UVA neurology resident, I learned more about neurology and medicine in general than I ever thought possible. I would first say that those who had (and likely will continue to have) the most influence over me were my co-residents. Being able to rely on and learn from your peers is critical in the medical field. UVA residents work within a hierarchy of autonomy with increasing responsibility in patient care and education of junior residents and medical students with every year. My senior residents and fellows were all exceptional teachers and I learned a great deal of neurology from them.

The real gem of the UVA neurology residency, however, is the faculty. With renowned experts in epilepsy, neuromuscular, movement disorders, and vascular neurology, to name a few, I was constantly amazing how accessible and approachable they were! Multiple subspecialties are represented by the faculty, all of whom are skilled clinicians. Residence work closely with them in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. It was evident very early in the training program that the faculty were not only invested in teaching clinical neurology, but also in career development and guidance.

UVA neurology residency armed we with the necessary clinical skills and professional relationships, have allowed me to succeed currently as a current neuro-oncology fellow, and will continue to shape my future career.


Matthew Wong, 2010 grad

Looking back on my time at the University of Virginia I am still struck by the collegiality between the residents and the attendings. The attendings know all the residents by name and take an active interest in helping us achieve our goals. In addition, the clinical teaching is excellent and is complemented by a broad exposure to sub-specialty neurology. The neurology clinic at UVA allows the resident to be the primary caregiver for his or her patients which is invaluable for learning how to manage patients in preparation for either academic or private practice. Finally, Charlottesville is a fantastic place to live, with an access to the outdoors and music that rivals cities much larger in size. All in all I would choose UVA again if I had to make the choice!

Matthew Barrett, 2009 grad

I left Charlottesville in 2009 and started a movement disorders fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. As part of my fellowship, I am completing a two-year Master's Program in Clinical Research Methods at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. When I finish I plan to join an academic center. In residency I earned a solid clinical training, from localization to differential diagnosis to treatment, that has served me well when I cover on the wards, see in-patient consults, and initially evaluate patients in the movement disorders clinic. In deciding what to do after residency, there were always attendings willing to meet and discuss my options. With one mentor I completed a research project my fourth year that resulted in a publication. Sufficient electives were available so that I could explore other subspecialties before I decided to pursue a fellowship in movement disorders. I enjoyed working with the other residents and spending time with them outside of the hospital. As a college town, Charlottesville has better restaurants and a more vibrant arts and music scene than other cities its size. Although there was plenty of hard work, I will always value the three years I spent in Charlottesville as a neurology resident.

Mike Hehir, 2009 grad

I feel fortunate to have completed my neurology training at UVA. I received first-rate training in all aspects of clinical and academic neurology, forged lifelong friendships, and truly enjoyed living in the wonderful city of Charlottesville. The breadth and depth of patient exposure through the UVA neurology residency program is unique. Neurology residents have continuity clinics in all subspecialities of neurology (e.g. neuromuscular medicine) in addition to general neurology. This taught me how to manage patients with complicated conditions such as myasthenia gravis over time, an opportunity that does not exist in many other residency programs. One is also well trained in all aspects of inpatient neurology, including neurocritical care. My clinical training allowed me to be ahead of the curve and hit the ground running upon entering an academic fellowship in neuromuscular medicine. I also felt well prepared to work as a part-time neurology hospitalist. The neurology faculty are committed to resident education. The teaching on rounds, in small groups, in lectures, and informally in the hallway was superb. The faculty are eager to provide career advice and guidance in academic projects. Under the guidance of Ted Burns, I published a paper in neuromuscular medicine and presented our work at the AAN meeting during my senior year of residency. I also completed projects in stroke and critical care. The faculty are eager to get residents involved. Ted, Karen Johnston, and many other faculty members continue to mentor me during fellowship and have been integral in my search for an academic neurology position. Perhaps the best part of training at UVA is the other residents. Across all departments and especially in neurology, the residents are smart, engaging, hard working, and fun. I made strong friendships and keep in touch both socially and professionally with my former colleagues. Charlottesville is a great town to live in as a resident. Outdoor activities, sporting events, concerts, and restaurants are abundant. There is never a shortage of activity outside of work. I feel well prepared for my neuromuscular fellowship and to embark on a career in academic neurology as a result of my time at UVA. I am happy that I chose to train at UVA and it is a decision that I would certainly make again.

Sam Taylor, 2009 grad

I would describe my neurology residency experience at the University of Virginia as both formative and transformational. Living in Charlottesville, surrounded by history and natural beauty, provided an excellent and harmonious training environment. I entered the program with a strong interest in basic and clinical neuroscience. Through a myriad of in-depth and wide-ranging clinical experiences as well as guidance and mentorship with dedicated, skillful and renowned clinicians and clinician-scientists, I became a neurologist. t was a cumulative process that was almost imperceptible as it was happening. However, in taking a moment to reflect, the distance that has been spanned since I began is truly humbling. At times when I felt that the climb might have been insurmountable, I found a helping hand to assist me to that next level. This incremental development enabled and empowered me to eventually experience the honor of being selected as a co-chief resident during my senior year. I have since gone on to train as a Fellow in Sleep Medicine in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan and am now embarking upon a clinical research career as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University. As I progressed, the value and comprehensiveness of my education at the University of Virginia continually revealed itself. My training at UVA more than prepared me for each new step of my journey and thus, I look forward with confidence to whatever the future holds.