It’s that special time of year, when we welcome new residents to our residency program and say farewell to those who have become fully trained neurosurgeons.
To celebrate our graduating residents, we hold a dinner in their honor, at which Dr. Neil Feldstein gives them a one-of-a-kind gift to remind them of their time at Columbia Neurosurgery: his annual tribute picture.
The picture has become a source of much anticipation, as Dr. Feldstein keeps it out of sight until the dinner. What started as a way for Dr. Feldstein to congratulate residents on their achievement has turned into a tradition of more than two decades.
“In the early years, the pictures were actually fairly simple, but they seemed to catch on. The residents liked them and they became nice artwork for my office,” says Dr. Feldstein. “So each year I invested more time, more effort, more creativity, and sort of pushed the envelope to see what I could do, always trying to blend realism and fantasy.”
For the past several years, the tribute picture has been inspired by movies, and Dr. Feldstein always adds a personal touch.
“There may be an event that shapes things for the graduating residents and that gets incorporated into the picture,” he says. “They know it, I know it, maybe a few others know it. But again, that is some of the fun of it.”
This year, the picture features graduating chief resident Dr. Jonathan Yun, who now practices at Neurosurgeons of New Jersey.
The picture plays off Dr. Yun’s last name, blending it with a famous quote from the 1980s movie “Highlander”—“There can be only one.” The result, “There can be only Yun,” is fitting, seeing as Dr. Yun was the only resident to graduate this year. In other years, Dr. Feldstein has incorporated other residents and faculty into his pictures as well.
As we say goodbye to Dr. Yun, we also welcome three new residents to our program:
“We have great expectations for our new interns, who we know will become great neurosurgeons and make significant contributions to our specialty,” says Dr. Jeffrey Bruce, director of the residency program at the Department of Neurosurgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Residency is a crucial part of any young doctor’s career. It’s when doctors receive the advanced training they need to one day care for patients on their own, and the length of training depends on the program and specialty. At Columbia, the neurosurgical residency program requires young neurosurgeons to complete seven years of advanced training. Yes, you read that right—seven years!
Throughout those years, our residents grow and hone their skills with mentorship and support from our neurosurgeons. Each of our neurosurgeons support the residents in his or her own unique way. Take, for example, program director Dr. Bruce.
As he does every year, Dr. Bruce makes it a point to start the upcoming academic year off right for new residents and keep the momentum going for current ones. He does this by hosting a retreat full of learning and mentoring for all the residents. This year, as usual, he shared with them what being a neurosurgeon means and how to provide the best care to patients. He also provided guidance on how to plan their careers.
Dr. Feldstein, a pediatric neurosurgeon, talked to residents about how best to care for young patients and offered career advice to those considering pediatric neurosurgery.
As we welcome our new residents, we also congratulate Dr. Yun on completing his residency and becoming a neurosurgeon.
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