Residency

UCLA's clinical environment provides residents with a broad range of experience by virtue of the extensive population of patients served, the multiple facilities through which residents rotate, and the broad scope of faculty expertise. The UCLA Medical Center, which is in Westwood and on the main university campus, is a tertiary referral center for a large geographical area in Southern California and regularly receives patients from around the United States and foreign countries. Neurology patients at the Westwood facility reflect this diversity and comprise local individuals who are admitted through the emergency department, critically ill patients who are transferred from surrounding hospitals, and patients with complicated or rare conditions who are transferred, often from great distances. The UCLA Medical Center has one of the few JCAHO certified Stroke Centers. In June, 2008 a new replacement hospital opened on the Westwood campus. The new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRUCLAMC) is an architectural landmark, and among the most technologically advanced hospitals in the world.

Residents rotate through other community and county health care systems including the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center, Olive View Medical Center, and the Sepulveda Veterans Administration Outpatient Medical Center. These facilities complement each other and the Westwood experience by providing a broader range of clinical experiences from patients with newly diagnosed disorders to the management of patients with chronic disease. Each facility is modern and staffed by full-time UCLA Neurology faculty. Beyond the regular rotations, residents have the opportunity to spend elective time at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the private offices of clinically affiliated faculty, and centers outside of Los Angeles. There is a longstanding relationship with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurology at Queen Square in London, UK and each year some residents spend elective time at this institution. The Residency Training Program is structured to provide flexibility in the educational experience for each resident to tailor the overall educational program depending upon the individual's interests and career goals. This flexibility is primarily through elective time in the second and third years, which are filled by the resident's choice from many clinical or research experiences. The elective time allows residents to supplement their clinical education with more extensive training in specific areas of neurology or to participate in research. Residents may use this time to explore an area of research that is new to them or continue work that began prior to residency.

Resident Research Tract

Physician-scientists occupy a critical niche in the translation of basic science findings into new clinical treatments. Within the field of neurology physician-scientists, as basic or clinical scientists, have been at the forefront, among many examples, in developing new models of human disease, developing new clinical treatments for Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and stroke and identifying novel genetic signatures of brain tumors, glial progenitors and neural stem cells that may facilitate new therapies. However, the relative and absolute numbers of physician scientists have been declining over the past 25 years, despite the doubling of the NIH research budget during a portion of this epoch. This is in large part due to the prolonged nature of the training for a physician-scientist. The Department of Neurology has recognized this problem in the creation of an NIH-funded neurology residency research track. The goal of the neurology research track is to train neurology residents in either basic or clinical science research through direct investigative study, oral and written scientific presentation and intensive mentored career development. The structure of the training program incorporates two tiers of mentoring and focused time on oral and written presentations, with a culmination in the production of a career development grant in the final year of the residency for each trainee. The program provides 6 months of consecutive research time in PGY3 or PGY4, and then an additional 18 months of funded research time that can be applied to a post-residency fellowship.

This training program is supported by an excellent environment for neuroscience research and education in the UCLA Neurology Department. The department has been the #1 NIH funded neurology department since 2002, and has a large clinical and basic research faculty with diverse and well-funded programs. The residency program is relatively large (8 per year) with flexibility to place selected residents in a research program, and has a track record of training many academic neurologists in the past. The proposed education program leverages the existing research programs of the 61 mentors in this program, and the past educational experience of the department, to develop an integrated basic and clinical science experience that provides technical training within the context of a larger translational neuroscience program within the neuroscience community at UCLA.

Applications for this program are accepted in mid August each year. Up to two applicants will then be selected to apply to the NIH/NINDS. The NIH/NINDS will fund applicants based on the available monies in this program each year, and may fund one or two applicants per year based on this funding level.

It is important to note that this is one among several research options in the UCLA Neurology Residency program. Residents can take lesser amounts of time, such as 2-4 months, for research in PGY3 or PGY4 years without necessitating any formal research program. This time can be applied toward developing lab or clinical methodologies within a mentor's research area, and applied toward an NIH K application or other post-residency career development target.

UCLA Neurology Residency Administrative Faculty

UCLA Neurology Department Interim Chair
S. Thomas Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D.

S. Thomas Carmichael is a neurologist and neuroscientist in the Departments of Neurology and of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Carmichael is Professor Chair of the Department of Neurology, co-Director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Center and co-Director of the Regenerative Medicine Theme in the David Geffen School of Medicine. He has active laboratory and clinical interests in stroke and neurorehabilitation and how the brain repairs from injury. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1993 and 1994, and completed a Neurology residency at Washington University School of Medicine, serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Carmichael was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at UCLA from 1998-2001. He has been on the UCLA faculty since 2001. Dr. Carmichael’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural repair after stroke and other forms of brain injury. This research focuses on the processes of axonal sprouting and neural stem cell and progenitor responses after stroke, and on neural stem cell transplantation. Dr. Carmichael is an attending physician on the Neurorehabilitation and Stroke clinical services at UCLA.

Dr. Carmichael has published important papers on stroke recovery that have defined mechanisms of plasticity and repair. These include the fact that the stroke produces stunned circuits that limit recovery, but can be restored to normal functioning with newly applied experimental drugs. His work has identified a novel brain “growth program” that is activated by stroke and leads to the formation of new connections. These studies have also identified how this growth program changes with age, and how specific molecules in the aged brain block the formation of new connections and of recovery. This and other work has led to new directions in stroke therapeutics, including therapies with stem cell and tissue engineering applications. Dr. Carmichael is in the midst of stroke stem cell development applications with the FDA and with biotechnology companies.


Program Director
Charles Flippen II, M.D.

Contact Information
Phone: (310) 825-6681
Fax: (310) 206-4733

Dr. Flippen is currently Health Sciences Professor of Neurology at UCLA where he serves as Director of the Neurology Residency Program.

Dr. Flippen received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and then obtained his medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He subsequently completed his neurology Residency at the University of Maryland Medical System. After residency, he completed a Fellowship in Headache Medicine and Facial Pain at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI.

In 1997, Dr. Flippen joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine where he started their first Headache Clinic. Dr. Flippen had been on faculty at UCLA since 1999 and has served as Clerkship Director for the third year medical school course in Neurology and is a staff neurologist at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Flippen has a long history of active leadership in neurology education, including service on the American Academy of Neurology Education committee and as an oral examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His teaching skill has been recognized with receipt of the UCLA Department of Neurology "Golden Hammer", an A.B. Baker Section Teacher Recognition Award from the AAN and the 2011 Mayo Clinic Distinguished Visiting Professor in Neurologic Education.

Dr. Flippen has developed expertise in management of refractory headache. His research interests are in the development of novel preventive therapies for migraine. His clinical interests include management of refractory headache, women's issues in headache and refractory facial pain.


Associate Program Director
David Alexander, MD

Contact Information
Phone: (310) 825-6681
Fax: (310) 206-4733

Dr. Alexander is a neurologist whose primary clinical focus is rehabilitation neurology. Currently, he is an Associate Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Neurology and the Medical Director of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit, Skilled Nursing Unit, and Physical Medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital. An honors graduate both of Amherst College, with a major in Neuroscience, and the University of Minnesota Medical School, Dr. Alexander was an intern in Medicine at University Hospital in Boston, and a resident in Neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Alexander has board certification from the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry in Neurology and in Vascular Neurology. In addition he has board certification from the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with sub-specialty certification in spinal cord medicine. Dr. Alexander's undergraduate thesis was in amphibian visual physiology, and his research interests include the use of botulinum toxin in spasticity, novel antidepressants for post-stroke depression, and the use of acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation, and NIH sponsored research on gait training post-stroke. As an expert panel member, Dr. Alexander developed the Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: Clinical Practice Guideline, with support from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), and is Co-Chair of the Veteran's Administration/ Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Stroke Rehabilitation. He is a Fellow of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association, a former site-surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and prior member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation.

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is responsible for the Accreditation of post-MD medical training programs within the United States. Accreditation is accomplished through a peer review process and is based upon established standards and guidelines.

The UCLA Neurology Residency Training Program is currently an ACGME accredited program.

For information about ACGME please visit the ACGME Site


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