Class of 2023
Tracy Bezner, MD
Hometown: Pampa, Texas
Medical School: University of Missouri-Columbia
Why I chose MU: The MU Hospital Department of Neurology has an accomplished and diverse faculty with a family-like environment in the comfortable setting of a mid-size college town. The faculty features numerous highly-respected and sought after thought-leaders, clinicians, and interventionists. Residents are well-trained and invariably go on to accept rewarding appointments in both private practice and academia after their training. Columbia, while hosting Missouri's flagship state university, also boasts a bustling downtown shopping & entertainment district, numerous unique restaurants, extensive trails and parks, nearby state parks and recreation facilities including the massive Lake of the Ozarks, and a favorable housing/rental market. For the amenities of major metropolitan area, one can easily drive to St. Louis (2 hours), Kansas City (2 hours), or Chicago (6 hours), while the small, local airport offers direct flights to Dallas-Forth Worth, Denver, and Chicago. Above all, the very friendly work environment and easy rapport with faculty makes MU Hospital the place I want to be to finish my medical training!
Harleen Kaur, MD
Hometown: Amritsar, Punjab, India
Medical School: Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences and research, Bathinda, India
Why I chose MU: The MU neurology program is a diverse program with widely available opportunities for research and clinical experience. I had the opportunity to do observership and research prior to applying for residency applications, which helped me connect with different faculty members and resident physician in training. I also gained research experience and worked with neurosciences research team on basic animal model as well. In short, this place is everything I needed to grow my career in neurology. Not just this, Columbia is a welcoming town in itself. With easy commute, low cost of living and good food options, this place is home away from home for me!!
Zalan Khan, MD
Hometown: Islamabad, Pakistan
Medical School: Aga Khan University
Why I chose MU: Columbia is a small and charming university town with everything you need for a comfortable day to day living. The gem of the town is most definitely the University Hospital and you get a strong feeling that the town itself may have been built around the University.
The Neurology Department has an amazing faculty with excellent neurologists and mentors like Dr. Shenker and Dr. Sahota at its helm. It is a rapidly expanding program with several fellowship options. But the biggest reason why I chose MU was a friendly environment. It gives you the feeling of a family working together, with cooperative residents, faculty, and administration. Residency is a tough ask for even the most gifted physicians and for me the people that I work with are much more important that the amount of work.
I highly recommend this program to anyone looking for comprehensive training in Neurology. Oh, and we have Dr. Qureshi and Dr. Gomez. If you don't know them, you SHOULD!
Chinedu Obi, MD, RN BSN
Hometown: Nnewi, Nigeria/Ann Arbor, Michigan
Medical School: American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Hobbies: I enjoy reading, swimming, playing chess, playing the piano and I am a nature enthusiast who enjoys camping, traveling and exploring the world with my family. I am an avid soccer (Up Chelsea!), basketball (pretty much LeBron James fan) and football (Go Pats! Go Cowboys! Go Blue!) fan.
Why I chose MU: After I interviewed at MU, the decision to come here for residency was very easy. The enthusiasm, energy and very kind demeanor of everyone at the program made me feel very welcome. My questions were answered sincerely without making things sound superficially attractive. The atmosphere at the program felt collegial. I enjoyed seeing genuine friendships among the residents and there was strong emphasis on resident's well-being.
Also, as a family man, I was especially pleased to learn that the charming city of Columbia is safe, affordable, and that my family will thrive well in this environment.
I was thoroughly impressed with the University of Missouri Columbia neurology program and I have every confidence that I will get great neurology training at this program.
Anudeep Yelam, MD
Hometown: Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medical School: DR. N.T.R University of Health Sciences
Why I chose MU: I was fortunate to have met and worked with the amazing neurologists/mentors here at Mizzou. This place to me has become a home away from home. The residents, faculty, and staff are very friendly and welcoming. The attending's and program director are easily accessible at any hour to help us become a better person and doctors of tomorrow. Also, there are a lot of things I love about Columbia, ranging from a friendly community, activities to refresh and rest, and affordability.
Class of 2024
Dinanath Praveen Attele, DO
Medical School: Des Moines University
Additional Education: M.A. Medical Sciences
Accolades: July Resident of the Month, University of Missouri-Columbia. AAN Visiting Medical Student Scholarship.
Hobbies: Hiking, watching British mystery shows, Curb your Enthusiasm, and trying to meditate when I am not busy at the hospital!
Why I chose MU: I wanted a nurturing environment where there is an emphasis on learning, and faculty who care about teaching and passing on their knowledge. Furthermore I wanted a program director who would stand up for his residents! Overall, residency will be difficult anywhere where you chose but it will be easier when you have a support system.
Career Plans/Interests: Ultimately I end up seeing myself at an academic institution where I can do both outpatient and inpatient work. I am currently open to fellowship, with a particular interest in movement and neuro-muscular disorders.
Bryce Hoelscher, MD
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Medical School: University of Missouri, Columbia
Why I chose MU: During my time at medical school here, I really appreciated the time I got to spend working with the attendings and residents. the department creates a family-like environment which is very supportive. There is an abundance of outstanding attendings throughout the neurology department in various subspecialties of Neurology. I was excited to start my residency here in Columbia as the hospital provides care throughout Mid-Missouri giving residents exposure to a large volume of patients whit a multitude of neurological conditions that provide continuous opportunities to learn.
Tejas Mehta, MD
Hometown: Jamnagar, India
Medical School: SBKS Medical Institute and Research Centre
Hobbies: Reading novels, playing soccer, chess and cricket, biking
Why I chose MU: There are several reasons why MU was an obvious choice for me. The faculty, residents and staff here provide a nurturing environment to grow both as a physician as well as a person. As a part of my clinical rotations, I was fortunate to work and interact with the attendings here who were approachable, enthusiastic and perfect mentors. There are endless opportunities to grow professionally and learn from the best in the field. To add to these, the university town of Columbia has beautiful trails to enjoy a day out running, biking or hiking and enjoy nature.
Iwalewa Olowoporoku, MD
Hometown: Ekiti, Nigeria
Medical School: College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Hobbies: Exploring new restaurants, cooking and baking, watching TV shows on Netflix and Hulu, bowling, interior design, watching travel vlogs and soccer.
Why I chose MU: It was a very easy decision for me to come to MU for my residency as it stood out in many ways during my interview trail. From exceptional teachers as faculty to residents who have genuine bonds and work well with each other. I am confident that I will have a great residency training here and will be the best I can possibly be. In addition, I love Columbia because it's a small city and is quite diverse. You can also enjoy a good range of outdoor and indoor activities here with little to no traffic. There is only one Mizzou!
Dakota Stevenson, MD
Hometown: Princeton, WV
Medical School: Marshall University
Why I chose MU: As I began my search for a Neurology residency, a top consideration was finding a location that I could faithfully serve the Lord in a faithful congregation, which led me to consider a town I had never been to before…Columbia. Here, I not only found the aforementioned but found a program that struck me as a real hidden gem. More important than a nice medical center situated in a wonderful mid-sized town, I found faculty that were keen to learn about others and share their favorite aspects of the medical training here at MU. I was particularly impressed with my interview with Dr. Shenker, the program director. It was immediately apparent why he has won “Program Director of the Year”, as he seemed to care for individuals not only as budding medical doctors, but as his fellow human being with goals and aspirations, both within and outside of medicine. My other interviews were similarly positive and made MU a place that I thought could give me a well-rounded experience of learning for the, hopefully, many years of practice that lie ahead as an attending.
Hobbies: Reading, weight lifting, getting outside and traveling.
Class of 2025
Sandra Antigua, MD
Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Medical School: Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC)
Hobbies: I enjoy Hiking, painting with watercolor and drawing with charcoal.
Why I chose MU: Initially, the variety of sub-specialties and the structure of the training program caught my attention, but above all, I was amazed with the human quality and professionalism of faculty members, residents and staff.
Brian Blankenship, MD
Hometown: Reeds Spring, Missouri
Medical school: University of Missouri-Columbia
Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my family, playing instruments, and going to the lake.
Why I chose MU: During my time at MU, I grew to appreciate the supportive and family environment. Everyone is welcoming and strives to help you become the best physician you can be. The faculty here at MU are all top notch and will help you excel in whatever your interest are. As the Next Generation Precision Health Center comes to completion, I am excited to see what new research opportunities arise. Being the largest referral center in mid-Missouri, there are no shortage of opportunities to learn and to see interesting pathologies at MU.
Columbia, is also an incredible place to raise a family. The schools are great, parks are plentiful, and outdoor activities are abundant in Columbia. It is also easy to take a day trip to Kansas City or St. Louis, just two hours in either direction. My son particularly enjoys the going to the St. Louis Zoo and the City Museum.
Lakshmi Digala, MD
Hometown: Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh
Medical School: Government Medical College Anantapur.
Hobbies: Travelling and gardening.
Why I chose MU: Choosing to come to Mizzou was easy because of the collegial environment and the program director who stands for resident education and is passionate about teaching. As a clinical observer, I worked with some fantastic faculty who inspired me, and the residents were always welcoming. I could envision myself fitting perfectly into this family while starting my new chapter as a budding Neurologist.
Mohamed Bilal Haradwala, MD
Hometown: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Medical School: DY Patil School of Medicine, Navi Mumbai
Why I chose MU: MU is situated in a college town, with many people who come here for further education. The people who you meet here are always interesting. MU has a great neurology program with multiple fellowships and a large volume of patients with stroke. This program offers opportunities for research as well as great exposure to be a good clinician. Also, you are surrounded by so many places to explore; everyone you meet will give you a new spot to visit.
Ashir Mehra, MD
Hometown: Delhi, India
Medical School: Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital & Research Center, Pune, India
Hobbies: Sports (Soccer, Cricket, Tennis and many more), Cooking, Music (Yes, I do sing in the shower!)
Why I chose MU: The Neurology Department at Mizzou is defined by its wonderfully warm and supportive learning environment. Everyone here is part of a family that is constantly looking to grow. The faculty consists of pioneers in the field of Neurology that are easily approachable and keen on teaching. Additionally, due to the large catchment area and heavy patient inflow, the clinical experience is extraordinary. Lastly, Columbia, in spite of being a small city, has a lot to offer!
Rakesh Shetty Rajalbandi, MD
Hometown: Raichur, India
Medical School: Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, India
Hobbies: Cooking, Quizzing, Dancing(Bharatanatyam, Indian classical dance form) and Netflix. I watch a ton of movies and shows.
Why I chose MU: After my interview, I was sure to myself that I would be lucky if I got to train here in Mizzou, and I abide. Faculty, residents, and the wide array of patient populations provide a collegial environment with fertile soil to thrive professionally and to grow personally. In addition, Mizzou opens its arms wide for research, so it is another additional resource for us as residents to be involved in the top quality of research as our field has abundant ongoing research. Mizzou has some Top-notch professors in the field of Neurology and to learn directly from them is absolute felicity. Columbia being a small energetic college town makes me feel at home and has a bunch of wonderful trails and is close to amazing national parks.
Class of 2026
Sara Ahmed, MD
Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan
Medical School: University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Why I Chose MU: I am delighted to be part of the Mizzou team and to be part of the Neurology residency program in particular. This program offered me everything I dreamed of in a program: high-quality training with exposure to all Neurology sub-specialties, an ample number of patients with diverse clinical exposure, an approachable and teaching committed faculty, and a collegial friendly environment. Living in Columbia offers you an affordable, safe, quiet college town life but with a lot of things to do, as well as beautiful nature to enjoy around the city.
Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Walking and watching NETFLIX!
James Campbell, MD, DVM, PhD
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Medical School: Trinity School of Medicine
Why I Chose MU: Mizzou's Neurology program is a busy program with amazing faculty and strengths in all the areas I am interested in. Mostly through, I chose it because of the people. The camaraderie among the residents and the leadership of Dr. Shenker make it a perfect place to learn in a fast- paced challenging environment.
Katie Detmer, MD
Hometown: Wichita, KS
Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine
Why MU: There are many things that can speak for a program on paper, and MU has all of that: a diverse patient population that present a wide range of pathologies, training in all subspecialties with highly esteemed faculty, and a program that graduates strong neurologists. However, what was different about MU is that there was a family atmosphere that was immediately evident. Leadership here cares about each individual person and their goals, you are not just one of many applicants. Residents care about each other and look out for each other, as you would a teammate and friend. Within only a few months of being an intern, the program has made efforts to include interns in educational opportunities, neurology outpatient clinic, and mentorships with more senior neurology residents.
Hobbies: fishing, hiking, eating Freddy's, and being an aunt!
James (Dan) Higgins, DO
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas
Why I Chose MU: Going into residency interview season, the main qualities I was looking for in a program were a friendly and welcoming environment, the amount of sub specialty exposure, and excellent program leadership. MU exceeded my expectations and I continue to be amazed at how warm and welcoming everyone is - not only in our department, but the whole hospital! Additionally, the patient volume is large and the pathologies diverse, making it a great place to train. Columbia is a great place to live as well, with lots of different things to do during your free-time.
Hobbies: Playing guitar, listening to music, breweries, TV shows/movies, all sports especially NFL (Titan up!), basketball, and my newly discovered passion for Nashville SC
Asma Khan, MD
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Medical School: Sylhet M.A.G. Osmani Medical College, Bangladesh
Why I Chose MU: During my observership here at MU neurology department, it really felt like family! I loved the way residents and a great group of faculty learn, teach, and collaborate on every clinical learning and research opportunity. I realized the exposure I can get to various branches of Neurology through the residency program here will help me choose my fellowship plan wisely and grow as a confident Neurologist. Also, Columba, MO is a great place to grow a family. I love the Mizzou campus since my husband did his MBA here and I always wanted to be a Mizzou Tiger!
Hobbies: Cooking, Playing Chess, DIY Home Improvements
Shahhan Spall, MD
Hometown: London, United Kingdom
Medical School: Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Why I Chose MU: From the first day of residency, the neurology program makes you feel involved despite being in internal medicine. Both the residents and the senior faculty go our of their way to achieve this. It really displays the collegial atmosphere here. Truly phenomenal. Combined with the exposure to a diverse range of neurological disorders and an emphasis on education, you have a program that will really fine-tune that neurologist within you (and me). But every ship is as good as the captain that steers it, and so if you ask me for one thing that stood out above all else during the interview process, it would be the program director, Dr. Shenker. After speaking with him, it quickly becomes apparent why he won the Residency Program Director award from AAN. What about the area? It is a college town and so has most of the amenities a big city will offer you, without the hassle of big city. However, if there is really something you cannot find here you have Kansas City and St. Louis, both within a two-hour drive. Season-wise, whether you love the warmth of summers or the coziness of winters, you will enjoy your time here.
Hobbies: Gym, squash, technology, dancing (not too bad at it) and traveling