Elective Rotation for Medical Students

Fourth-year medical students at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) and at outside U.S. medical schools may spend a one-month elective in the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center Neurocritical Care Unit (Neuro-ICU). The elective is designed as a preceptorship under the supervision of the Neuro-ICU attending of the month. The student will become an integral part of a team of residents, fellows, and attending neurointensivists who specialize in the care of critically-ill neurologic patients. Skills will be stressed in clinical examination, invasive and noninvasive neurologic monitoring, and emerging neurologic therapeutics. Opportunity exists to learn technical skills related to critical care, including lumbar puncture, arterial and central venous catheter placement, and ventilator management, under direct supervision of the P&S medical staff. In addition, students may spend time observing neurosurgical or interventional neuroradiologic procedures.

Requirements and Eligibility

Students must be enrolled in good standing at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons or a USGME-accredited medical school. Up to two medical students may take the elective per month, on a first-come, first-served basis.


Enrollment requires written approval of the Course Director (Dr. Sachin Agarwal). Students at outside medical schools can first review information about the Visiting Students Program, managed by the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Office of Curricular Affairs and the Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology (Contact Ashley Chang, 212-305-8551). The enrollment will then be through the VP&S Office of Curricular Affairs. Students at outside schools must submit a letter from their institution indicating that they:

  • are in good academic standing
  • are covered by professional liability insurance
  • have up-to-date immunizations
  • have completed the updated OSHA bloodborne pathogens workshop

An application form, health certificate, and $100 fee payable to Columbia University must also be submitted.