Residency Program

Penn State Neurosurgery Residency Program

The Penn State Neurosurgery Resident Training Program is under the direction of Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAHA - Neurosurgery Department Chair and Program Director.  This is a seven-year program accepting two residents per year. We are particularly proud of the collegial, collaborative and supportive environment that exists among the faculty, residents, nurses and staff of Penn State Neurosurgery.

Twenty two full-time clinical faculty members in the Department of Neurosurgery perform about 4,000 open, endovascular, and radiosurgical neurosurgical procedures per year. Neurosurgery residents at Penn State Hershey receive excellent clinical training in all areas of neurosurgery, including endovascular and vascular neurosurgery, epilepsy surgery, functional neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and skull base surgery, neurocritical care, neurotrauma, pediatric neurosurgery, peripheral nerve surgery, radiosurgery and spine surgery, under the direction of nationally recognized and fellowship-trained neurosurgery faculty members.  The Penn State Department of Neurosurgery also has six fellowships (endovascular, functional, neurocritical care, neuro-oncology, peripheral nerve, spine) accredited by the Society of Neurological Surgeons' Committee for Advanced Subspecialty Training (CAST). In order to assure that these fellowships do not dilute the operative experience of our own residents, with the exception of neurocritical care, they are offered only as enfolded fellowships for our own residents. 

All required clinical rotations occur at the Penn State Health Hershey and Harrisburg campuses.  The Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, the East Campus Neuroscience Clinic, and the Hershey Outpatient Surgical Center are all on the Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus. Elective rotations can be done at our University Park and Wyoming Valley practice sites. One resident per year serves as a registrar at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia if he or she so desires.  Other, shorter rotations abroad at a variety of locations can also be arranged.

In addition to exceptional clinical training, neurosurgery residents have access to a robust neuroscience research program in neurosurgery. Eight full-time research faculty members have ongoing programs in a wide range of areas, including our neural engineering program, a joint program between Penn State Neurosurgery and Penn State Engineering Science and Mechanics. Penn State Hershey Neurosurgery has more than $8,000,000 in active grants and ranked 17th nationally among neurosurgery departments in NIH funding in 2014. With additional grants that have been awarded this year we will be in the top 10 departments in 2015. An independent study year can be used for research in an area of the resident's choice and additional research time is available throughout the training.

We also have a vigorous clinical research program with a well-developed clinical trials group. More than forty investigator initiated or industry sponsored clinical studies are underway.

Penn State Hershey Neurosurgery takes the resident education mission very seriously. Each Friday is devoted to resident teaching conferences from 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Additional conferences occur on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before operations begin. Extensive training in biostatistics and clinical trial design are included as a routine part of every resident's education.

Our residents finish their training fully equipped to enter the neurosurgical practice of their choice. They are well-trained in the preoperative, operative and postoperative care of all neurosurgical patients, with an excellent understanding of basic, translational and clinical neuroscience