Padmaja Sudhakar, MD faculty

Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Kentucky
Graduate of Adult Neurology Residency Program, University of Kentucky

How did you become interested in Neurology?

I began my career as an ophthalmologist and ventured into the subspecialty of neuro-ophthalmology. This field lies at the confluence of ophthalmology and neurology. While the ophthalmology skills helped me with the practice, the lack of primary training in neurology seemed to be a big vacuum. I did not have confidence when dealing with neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. I was not well versed in reading and interpreting neuroimaging. I decided to pursue a residency in neurology to enhance those skills and help me improve in the practice of neuro-ophthalmology. 

How do you gain your patients’ trust?

I always make it a point to listen to my patients fully and get a complete history instead of relying on the history documented in electronic medical records by other providers. I have been surprised many times when I get the actual history from the patient and learn that it is very different from what has been documented. Patients really value and trust providers who listen to them. I also make it a point to personally contact patients to discuss important results or when they have a concern or query. Having a nurse or administrative assistant do that may be convenient, but I have seen that patients have a better rapport and trust their providers more when their providers personally contact them. 

What is the greatest reward for practicing medicine?

The greatest reward for practicing medicine is knowing that you can make a difference in the lives of many individuals by healing their disease. The medical field, though complicated and challenging, is one that will always keep the provider active. There is always ongoing research leading to new discoveries and treatments for chronic, intractable and life-threatening diseases. Hence, there is always hope for the patients. Within medicine, the field of neurology is highly complicated, and it is not practiced by many. In this regard, diagnosing and treating complex neurological diseases, though prolonged, is always highly rewarding.


Alexandra Boske, MD alumni

Neurologist and Stroke Medical Director, Round Rock Medical Center, Round Rock, TX
Graduate of Adult Neurology Residency Program, University of Kentucky, 2013

What is the most exciting thing that is happening in Neurology now?

The most exciting thing happening in Neurology at this time is the new developments in acute stroke care. The DEFUSE 3 and DAWN trial results have expanded the window for potential endovascular intervention, increasing the opportunity to make a true difference in a patient's outcome. Patients are now being assessed on the characteristics of the stroke itself (core size, penumbra) instead of just an arbitrary time window. As a neurohospitalist I see the field constantly changing and it's an exciting time to be a part of it.

physician, to be able to merit that trust by using my knowledge and skills to the best of my ability is very gratifying.


Arun Swaminathan, MBBS alumni

Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences, University of Nebraska
Graduate of Adult Neurology Residency Program, University of Kentucky, 2016

What is the biggest challenge for you in practicing medicine?

Neurology has an interesting mix of patients – some can respond well to therapy, and others will never completely recover and will need to be treated continuously to remain stable and functional. The challenge lies in choosing the right treatments for the right patients to offer the best possible outcomes.

Tell us about setting up your practice

I am currently at the University of Nebraska on faculty. My job involves a mix of patient care, teaching, and research. It keeps things exciting to be doing all three things. I find the challenge intriguing and the variety keeps me on my toes. I look forward to working with complicated epilepsy patients and continuing to grow as a doctor and a person.


Heather McKee, MD alumni

Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Cincinnati
Graduate of Adult Neurology Residency Program, University of Kentucky, 2013

What is the greatest reward for practicing medicine?

For me, the greatest reward in practicing medicine is to help people feel better and ultimately live better lives. There is nothing more rewarding than having a patient put their full trust in you to help them. As their physician, to be able to merit that trust by using my knowledge and skills to the best of my ability is very gratifying.

MAY 2018

Priyanka Yadav, MBBS, resident

PGY-3 Adult Neurology Resident, University of Kentucky
Intern year is one of the toughest years during our residency. The transition from being a medical student to an intern can be challenging. Below are some survival tips:
  1. Building templates for common problems is extremely helpful to be efficient and thorough.
  2. Fostering friendly working relationship with other residents, pharmacists, nurses and other staff is valuable.
  3. Sometimes placing a courtesy call after placing orders (e.g. MRI, ECHO) goes a long way.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

MAY 2018

Amy Hessler, DO faculty

Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Kentucky
How has the field of Neurology evolved since the time of your residency?
The world of electronic medical records has significantly changed how medicine is practiced today. I completed residency in 2006 and was still using paper charts. The negative side of paper documentation was that documents were buried in the record. Today, thanks to technology, prior records are easily accessed. However, it is much more challenging now, as a medical educator, to know if learners actually understand the medical complexities of their patients.  Learners are challenged to think critically rather than take for granted other providers’ analyses, which are so readily accessible in the electronic record system.

MAY 2018

Neil Crowe, MD

Winchester Neurological Consultants, Winchester, VA
Graduate of Neuromuscular Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 1990
What do you know now that you wish you had known in residency?
The importance of balancing your life. It is different for every individual, but a universal takeaway is that where you live—near or far from family, your living environment—will have to do with how you live. Newer neurologists are perhaps wiser in terms of life balance—being oriented toward living holistically, taking care of not only their patients but also themselves and their family. Over the years, I have experienced burnout several times, and I have learned to be a little bit more mellow as a result. You work hard and then you hang up yourspurs for a while. When you’re off, you’re off. Have life and work set up so that yes, you work hard, but then you come home to family and you put your focus there. Make space for your own self-growth. With practice and experience, it should all come together. Hopefully it all comes together with practice and experience.
What is the most exciting thing that is happening in Neurology now?
The continued evolution of cost-effective and clinically effective genetic testing is very exciting. We are on the cusp of being able to not only precisely diagnose genetic syndromes—Huntington’s disease, genetic peripheral neuropathies, and certain epilepsy syndromes, to name a few—but also to hopefully make inroads into treating them successfully.

APRIL 2018

Sharoon Qaiser, MBBS, resident

PGY-4 Child Neurology Resident, University of Kentucky
What do you know now that you wish you had known as an intern?
There are many things I wish I had known, but the one that stands out the most is the importance of a simple phrase: “I do not know.” This humbling expression is the driving force behind everyday excellence and motivates inquisitive minds to find answers.

APRIL 2018
Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Kentucky
Movement Disorders
How did you become interested in the field of Neurology?
My interest in Neurology began in medical school. Neurology cases were like solving a puzzle when I was trying to localize lesions. Later on, I learned that Neurology is a rapidly growing field. There is a tremendous scope for research leading to lots of new treatment options for neurologic disorders.

MARCH 2018

Kara Swafford, MD, resident

PGY-4 Neurology Resident, University of Kentucky
Why did you choose to pursue a career in Neurology?
I chose to specialize in Neurology because I find it so fascinating. I appreciate how Neurology is one of the few specialties that continues to rely heavily on the clinical history and physical examination, and the satisfaction of localizing the patient’s lesion based on these elements. I find it very rewarding to help patients with neurological disease and improve their quality of life.

MARCH 2018

Sujata Gutti, MD, alumna

Neurologist, Pikeville Neurology Clinic, Pikeville KY
Graduate of Adult Neurology Residency Program, University of Kentucky, 1997
What do you know now that you wish you had known in residency?
I don’t think I had an understanding of billing and coding when I was a resident. When I started my practice [at Pikeville Neurology Clinic], I was right out of residency. Practice management, including billing and coding, took up 20 to 30 percent of my time. You cannot cut into patient care time to do that, so it is extra hours you have to dedicate in order to run your own practice. After 20 years of running my own practice, I’m more proficient with it but it still comprises 5 to 10 percent of what I do. The ability to navigate the business aspect of practicing Neurology makes a difference, particularly in a small town where your support may be limited. I would recommend that residents gain exposure to and experience with practice management during their training.