Child Neurology Residency

Our Child Neurology Division has undergone an exciting phase of expansion, and now offers the largest faculty in the Western United States. As a result, all residents experience great breadth and depth across all facets of Child Neurology. There are four child neurology positions a year (see Clinical Training).

Over the course of three years, Child Neurology residents spend approximately 12 months on adult (6 inpatient and 6 outpatient months) and 12 months on child neurology, with the remainder devoted to subspecialty rotations and electives. Child neurology rotations take place at either Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.  

Clinical training

At Stanford, clinical experience in both child and adult neurology starts in the first year and continues through all three years. This differs from many other programs where the first year is spent entirely on adult neurology as a junior resident, and the subsequent two years are spent on child neurology, electives, and other rotations. Typically, child neurology residents spend more time on adult neurology in Year 1 (e.g., 8 months), and then concentrate on child neurology for the majority of time during Year 2 and 3 (e.g., 4 additional months of adult neurology over 2 years). The Stanford system has the advantages of exposing residents early to child neurology and providing a more diverse adult neurology experience through the 3 years of training.

Subspecialty neurology clinics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital include epilepsy, stroke, neuro-oncology, neonatal neurology, movement disorders, neuromuscular and muscular dystrophy, white matter disorders, neurocutaneous, neuropsychopharmacology, neuropsychology, and neurogenetics. All residents maintain a continuity clinic at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital throughout their three years of neurology training. The clinic is one afternoon per week.

Child Neurology Pretending Elective

We are very excited to have launched our new Child Neurology “Pretending” Elective in January 2020. This novel elective, led by Dr. Sara Pavitt and Dr. Jennifer O’Malley, was designed for our senior child neurology residents to promote autonomy and independence in a still protected environment prior to their graduation. The elective empowers our senior child neurology residents to participate in all aspects of the attending role on our inpatient child neurology consult services. When a child neurology “pretending” resident is on service, a faculty attending is also quietly present on rounds, but the pretending resident is truly leading the show. The Pretending elective is designed to strengthen our residents’ leadership abilities with particular focus on running a team, coordinating patient care, and conducting medical education.  Elective faculty and residents also participated in a dedicated Pretending curriculum, consisting of periodic small group didactic and discussion sessions targeting communication and effective team leadership strategies such as coaching, feedback, and promoting learner autonomy. Formal assessment will be completed from analysis of pre- and post- rotation surveys of all participants. Informal feedback from both residents and faculty has been especially positive and plans are already in place to continue to offer this unique elective opportunity to our graduating child neurology residents each year. 

Personalized and flexible training

All the electives available to Adult Neurology residents may be customized to include pediatric exposure and the specific interests of the Child Neurology resident. Other electives include child psychiatry, genetics and metabolism, neuroradiology, neuro-ophthalmology, and developmental pediatrics. Approximately 10 or more months are available for electives. Residents typically use this time to carry out research projects or to gain subspecialty experience in disciplines such as neuroradiology, neuropathology, neuromuscular diseases/EMG, epilepsy/EEG, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, sleep disorders, neuro-oncology, and behavioral neurology. Off-site electives are possible with special arrangement. Residents are required to take their vacation (3 weeks per year) during elective blocks.

Scholarship during residency

Residents are highly encouraged to pursue mentored clinical or basic science research. Residents may use elective time to pursue formal training in research methodology through courses offered throughout the Stanford campus. A research block of up to 6 months may be arranged during residency as part of the Neuroscience Scholar Track. Alternatively, the Division enables funded research for an additional period after neurology residency. The program supports residents for instructorships, fellowships, and other institutionally funded research opportunities post-residency. The Division has a strong track record of residents going on to K12, K02, and other independent funding.  

International Medical Students

We accept applications from international medical school graduates, although the application process is extremely competitive. Ours is a small program that draws scores of applications, including many from the top medical schools in the U.S. Having had hands-on recent clinical experience in the U.S. is mandatory. Only those with exceptional credentials are invited for interview. An international medical school graduate must have a valid ECFMG certificate, completed USMLE Part III, and have had two years of pediatric residency training prior to commencement of child neurology training. Please note that Stanford University will NOT sponsor trainees for an H-1B visa.

Diversity and Inclusion

At Stanford Neurology, we strongly believe in the value of diversity in our training program and our community. We encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply.  Learn more at Diversity and Inclusion

Cynthia Campen, MD

Program Co-Director,
Child Neurology Residency Program
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences


Jennifer O'Malley, MD

Program Co-Director,
Child Neurology Residency Program
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences


Resident Resources