Neurosurgery Residency Places UConn Health in Exclusive Group

Ketan Bulsara, M.D., M.B.A, and Daniel Roberts M.D., Ph.D., with the new Augmented Reality Microscope in the Hybrid OR at UConn John Dempsey Hospital. (Kristin Wallace/UConn Health Photo)
Drs. Ketan Bulsara and Daniel Roberts use the new Augmented Reality Microscope in the Hybrid OR at UConn John Dempsey Hospital. (Kristin Wallace/UConn Health Photo)

UConn Health announced the launch of a seven-year residency in neurological surgery, one of only a handful in the nation.

In establishing the training program with Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, UConn joins an exclusive group – less than 2% of U.S. hospitals have such a program.

The program also meets a vision of Dr. Ketan Bulsara, chief of the UConn Health Division of Neurosurgery, who will oversee the process as the residency program director.

“I believed we could acquire such an elite residency program because the environment was right at UConn Health,” Bulsara says. “It takes excellence, not only in neurosurgery – cranial and spine – but it takes excellence at every single level of a medical institution.

“UConn Health, through this unique collaboration that we’ve set up with Hartford Healthcare and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, is positioned to train the next generation of leaders in neurological surgery, who I’m convinced will one day find solutions for problems that perplex us today.”

Bulsara credits Dr. Richard Simon, professor of surgery and neurosurgery and medical chief of staff, and Dr. Hilary Onyiuke, neurosurgery director of UConn Health’s Comprehensive Spine Center, with building a “foundation of academic excellence.” He also acknowledges the UConn School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education office.

“The new residency program would not have been possible without the tireless work of Graduate Medical Education Director Martha Wilkie,” Bulsara says. “Her passion for education, coupled with that of Dr. Jaqueline “Kiki” Nissen, and Dr. Steven Angus, is truly something that should be celebrated.”

UConn has five dozen residency and fellowship training programs.

“Dr. Bulsara and the new neurosurgery residency program are on a clear path to help UConn establish its position as a national leader in training the next generation of physicians,” Wilkie says. “We are all very proud of him and the entire team.”

Bulsara also credits the program’s establishment to the support of Dr. Bruce Liang, medical dean, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, UConn Health CEO and executive vice president for health affairs, and Dr. David McFadden, surgery chair, for UConn’s first new medical residency program since 2006.

“This is a major achievement for UConn Health, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Bulsara and our GME program, and it validates our excellence in clinical care, education, and research,” Agwunobi says.

Adds Liang, “What a proud moment for the UConn School of Medicine, for UConn Health, and for the future of medicine. This takes us to an even greater level of medical education and is a tribute to our tremendous physician-scientist mentors.”

The residents will be trained on the full range of neurosurgical procedures. “If it’s a surgery on the brain or spinal cord, they’ll learn it, and learn it in an exemplary fashion such that they are positioned to shape the future of neurosurgery,” Bulsara says.

Dr. Inam Kureshi will serve as site director at Hartford Hospital, and Dr. Jonathan Martin will serve as site director at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Bulsara, who attended the nation’s top neurosurgery training programs, plans to pass along what he’s learned from the pioneers in the field.

“I want our residents to leave with the fact that there may be things today that we treat well, but I want them to treat it better tomorrow, and the day after, I want them to treat it even better,” says Bulsara. “That’s the philosophy my mentors have imparted on me, and that’s what I want to impart on the people we train.”