A Message from the Director

“In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”
– Oliver Sacks

Healing. Listening to “the person with disease” and reminding oneself that their hope lies on what thoughts may come from that attentive and caring look. As Sacks so perfectly put it, learning from our patients goes beyond the disease. Our patients teach us about life.

And in no other moment this learning is more extraordinary than during Residency years. In Medical School, the learners’ minds are given simply a drop of the extensive and fascinating world of Neurology. Perhaps then a neighbor passes by and you notice that the feared “paralysis agitans,” described by Parkinson in 1817, may have usurped his freedom. What a privilege it is to learn the tools to help, to ease such pain. Little do our patients know that we are the ones being gifted by them. The unique honor to heal.

Our goal at the MUSC Neurology Residency Program is to guide our trainees through a fascinating journey of discovery of the brain and neurological afflictions while never forgetting the human behind the disease. In an environment that nourishes partnership and growth, we aim to bring relief to those who entrust us with their health, while supporting each other in the arduous task of addressing our patients’ pain.

As it happens with most tertiary referral centers, there is no shortage of puzzling cases to challenge the mind of the aspiring Neurologist. Our residents are trained at a high volume, state-of-the-art Comprehensive Stroke Center, where complex patients are transferred from the most remote areas of South Carolina, known as “the buckle of the American Stroke Belt.” These physicians conclude their training with absolute confidence in the knowledge they have gained, remembering that the efficiency they have now acquired translates into their patients’ ability to remain independent. Residents also learn from our pioneer Telestroke Program, which brings not only our patients to our center, but also takes our experts to them, no matter how far in our state.

Our Level 4 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, the only one of its kind in South Carolina, comprises a team of nationally recognized experts in the field and educates our residents in the diagnosis and treatment of most complex cases of epilepsy. With a full month of dedicated EEG practice in their second year of training, their time in our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, as well as EMG/NCS and Intraoperative EEG monitoring training, our Neurology residents truly become well-versed in the electrophysiology realm.

We are also proud of our Comprehensive Movement Disorders Program, recognized as the first Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence in South Carolina, Cure PSP Center of Care, and Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence. Residents are exposed to the intricacies of Movement Disorders, spanning the gamut from the basic therapeutics of Parkinson’s Disease to the fascinating world of Deep Brain Stimulation throughout their 4 years of training. At MUSC, future Neurologists are offered a vast number of electives, including neuroimmunology, cognitive-behavioral neurology, headache, sleep medicine, and neuromuscular disorders.

Further, one of our department’s core values is mentorship, fostered by an engaged group of career and research faculty mentors, who are keen on supporting the different passions and dreams of our residents.

Our educational curriculum entails a robust academic content that includes daily noon lectures, weekly grand rounds, morning reports, neuroradiology, neurogenetics, and neuropathology conferences, as well as our neurohumanities, anti-racism, and career development programs.

Finally, we know that a burned-out physician is unable to have the listening ears and watchful eyes our patients need. At MUSC Neurology, we take our residents' wellness seriously. Our Program ensures that our trainees feel listened to and supported.

And one cannot underestimate the effect our wonderful Charleston has on our wellness. Here we are immediately surrounded by breathtaking nature and historic architecture, which makes this city one of the best places to live in the US. Charleston truly is a treasure, with its incredible beaches, restaurants, and history. A place that is easy to fall in love with and hard to leave. The perfect scenario to dive into the beauty that is within the human body, as well as around it.

As Sacks would also say, “Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Welcome to MUSC Neurology.

Lidia Yamada, M.D.
Director, Neurology Residency Program