Residency Corner

Resident Corner

Joseph Nguyen, Quynh Pham and Robert Knipe

Letter from Our Residents:

Hey there!

Thank you for your interest in our program. First of all, congratulations on your decision to choose Neurology as a specialty.  Neurology is an intricate, exciting and deeply rewarding field. Choosing the right residency program is the first crucial step in your career. While there are a number of programs out there, let us share with you the reasons that make our program unique.

We are situated at the sweetest place on earth— Hershey, Pennsylvania. When the factories are churning and the wind is just right, you can smell the chocolate in the air. We serve an interesting patient population who challenge us with the complexity of their disease and humble us with the strength of their spirit.  We receive training from experienced faculty who are not only knowledgeable but also personable and approachable. They serve not as our "bosses" but as our mentors and role models. Most importantly, we are a collegial group of co-residents who support each other and consider each other not only as colleagues but also as buddies. 

So if Penn State Hershey Neurology sounds like the right fit for you, then come visit us!

We look forward to seeing you,

Joe, Quynh and Rob

Residency Graduates

Our recent 2015 graduates:

  • Aaron Cochran, DO:  Fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology/EMG, University of Virgina, Charlottesville, VA
  • Mariel Davila Martinez, MD, PhD:  Fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
  • Sara Strauss, DO - Fellowship will be in Vascular Neurology at University of Connecticut, Graduation date February 15, 2016
  • Vitaliy Zhivotenko, DO:  Fellowship in Pain Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA

All Alumni Residents




  • ACGME milestones
  • Quality improvement project
  • Research/scholarly activity project
  • Annual RITE exam
  • Faculty evaluations after every rotation
  • Quarterly evaluations of faculty
  • Evaluations by students
  • Quarterly evaluation by office staff
  • Neurology clinical examinations (five by end of residency)
  • Biannual and end of residency evaluation of the program
  • Quarterly meetings with program director
  • Neurology ACGME Milestones
  • Attend 75% of of required conferences: M&M, Grand rounds, Neurology lectures, Friday Neuroradiology lectures, Anatomy lectures

Resident Conferences

  • Noon lecture (12:10 Monday-Thursday)
    • Resident lecture series
    • Basic science lecture series
    • Pediatric neurology conference
  • Neuroradiology conference (Friday morning)
  • Neurology Grand Rounds (Friday at 1:00)
  • M&M conferences
  • Neuromuscular pathology conference
  • Thursday conferences
    • Patient based presentations
    • Journal Club
    • Board Review
  • Other optional conferences:
    • Neuroscience weekly seminar series
    • Psychiatry grand rounds weekly
    • Quality Assurance meetings: EMG,EEG, Movement disorder, Epilepsy



Links to Outside Resources

Central Pennsylvania

Hershey is a suburban community in a metropolitan area of 400,000 in one of the fastest growing regions in the state. Hershey is approximately twelve miles from Harrisburg, the state capital and largest employer in the Commonwealth. We boast of easy access to major cities of the Eastern seaboard by a short car or train trip.

Hershey is a thriving resort town of approximately 20,000. It provides residents and visitors with the employment, cultural, and recreational opportunities that is attractive to people of all ages and walks of life. Within Hershey itself, is a diverse array of activities including theatre, outdoor recreation, a sports plaza and indoor/outdoor pool complex, Zoo America, Hersheypark and Hershey Arena facilities, youth sports leagues, minor league hockey, soccer and baseball, Hershey Gardens, museums, and an outstanding public school systems.

What today is known as Hershey once was a small settlement called Derry Church. After Milton Snavely Hershey founded his chocolate factory and began building the community, the town was renamed Hershey. The saga of Milton Hershey is one of failure, success and philanthropy. He grew up a poor farm boy, became a millionaire from his caramel business and subsequent chocolate empire, and devoted his personal fortune to the welfare of needy children. His legacy includes two corporations, a model community, and a school that cares for more than 2,100 disadvantaged children.

Central Pennsylvania's second largest industry, Hershey Foods Corporation, is headquartered in Hershey. The fourth largest is Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, which provides jobs for nearly 10,000 area residents.

Tourism is another major industry, and Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company (HERCO) provides recreational and employment opportunities at Hersheypark and ZooAmerica. Hersheypark is one of the country's top theme parks featuring rides such as the Wildcat, Splashdown, Tidal Force, and much more. ZooAmerica, North American Wildlife Park, is home to over 200 animals that represent more than 75 species. The Giant Center is the home of the Hershey Bears hockey team and is host to the Ice Capades and many top-name entertainers.

The Hershey Educational and Cultural Center conducts various adult and children's classes, concerts, and other programs. The Hershey Community Theatre with an interior design that is a direct reflection of Milton Hershey's love of Venice was cleverly designed to simulate a Byzantine castle, complete with balconies on windowed towers. This grand theater is the host of some of the best Broadway plays and musical shows ever performed, such as, A Chorus Line, Cats, Carousel, and Les Miserables.

Residents of Hershey have the opportunity to enjoy the numerous daily attractions that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to Hersheypark and Arena, Hershey Museum and Theater, Hershey Gardens and Arboretum, and ZooAmerica for a wide variety of professional athletic, cultural, and entertainment exhibitions.

In addition to the many attractions in the Hershey community, the surrounding area is a wealth of historical and family entertainment. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's state capital, located twelve miles away, is the location of the State Museum of Pennsylvania; Senators baseball team at Riverside Stadium, City Island; State Library of Pennsylvania; The Museum of Scientific Discovery; Pennsylvania State Archives, and City Island, which host's year round attractions and extensive special events for all ages.

Lancaster County has tours of authentic Amish farm life, The Heritage Center of Lancaster County with unique artifacts from the 18th and 19th century depicting the culture of the area, and the historic walking tour with guides dressed in colonial attire.

Gettysburg, 49 miles from Hershey, is the home of The Gettysburg National Military Park with monuments and cannons along miles of winding roadway silently marking the site of this decisive Civil War battle. The Eisenhower National Historic Site located near the battlefield was once the presidential retreat and retirement farm of our 34th president.

Pennsylvania Neurological Society, Pittsburgh, September 2014

Current Resident Awards:

  • Neurology Resident Teacher of the Year 2014-2015: Balaji Krishnaiah, M.D.
  • Award of Excellence in Neurology Inpatient Care 2014-2015: Robert Knipe, D.O., selected by the Inpatient Nursing Staff  
  • Award of Excellence in Neurology Outpatient Care 2014-2015: Vitaliy Zhivotenko, D.O., selected by the Outpatient Nursing Staff
  • Consultant of the Year Award 2014-2015: Robert Knipe, D.O. awarded by the Department of Emergency Medicine 
  • "Cerebral Hyperperfusion and Vasodilatory Changes in Acute Seizure - Report of Three Cases".  Sarita Said-Said, Balaji Krishnaiah, Krishnamoorthy Thamburaj .AAN meeting 2014
  • Hyperechogenicity of substancia nigra: A potential disease progression marker in early onset PD Balaji Krishnaiah, Kala Venkiteswaran, Vikram Shivkumar, Timothy Gilmour,Nitish Harid, Robert Saadi, Thyagarajan Subramanian. AAN meeting 2014
  • Strauss, Knipe, and Wanchoo. Central Pontine Myelinolysis is the setting of Liver Transplant and Cyclosporine Neurotoxicity. PNS meeting 2014
  • Nguyen. Late onset Myoclonic Epilepsy: Tacrolimus induced? PNS meeting 2014; Cerebellar degeneration as the first sign of Hodgkins Lymphoma PNS 2014


Former Resident Awards:

  • Balaji Krishnaiah, M.D., selected by the PSU student Class of 2016 for the Arthur P. Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Resident Teacher of the Year 2013-2014: Robert Knipe, D.O.
  • Balaji Krishnaiah, M.D., Resident Poster Competition Winner at Pennsylvania Neurological Society Meeting, 2013-2014 
  • Stacey Clardy, M.D., Ph.D. selected for the Editorial Board of the Resident and Fellow Section of Neurology
  • Stacey Clardy, M.D., Ph.D. selected to chair the Resident and Fellow Section of the Pennsylvania Neurological Society
  • Stacey Clardy, M.D., Ph.D. selected for the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Ethics Committee
  • Prabhu Emmady, M.D. received the 2011 American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine
  • President's Research Initiative Award and Junior Member Recognition Award
  • Sol De Jesus, M.D. was Recipient of Focus on Common Movement Disorders Visiting Scholar Award, 2013