Student Information

Student Name

Gayathri Ganesh




Internship Information

Company/Organization: Weill Cornell Medical College-Brain and Spine Cent

Mentor(s):Anupama Sekar and Dr. Phillip Stieg

Topic of Internship


Background Information

Weill Cornell Medical Center, founded in 1898, maintains major affiliations with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, and the Hospital for Special Surgery, as well as with the metropolitan-area institutions that constitute the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System. The medical center, being ranked as the best hospital in New York, carries the best patient care and medical education. Medical professionals from Weill Cornell hold a varied base of medical expertise and an enormous range of experience. According to US News Best Hospital Rankings, New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical College holds top five for Adult Neurology and Neurosurgery. The Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center serves as one of the country's premier providers of minimally invasive surgery for the brain and spine in adults and children. The specialists at the center are able to treat numerous of causes related to neurological disease, from brain and spine tumors, stroke, aneurysms, and epilepsy to Parkinsons disease and other movement disorders. In addition, it is highly recognized for their emerging technology including Gamma Knife, stereotactic radiosurgery, frameless stereotaxy, endoscopic surgery, and three-dimensional visualization in the operating room. The Brain and Spine Center also offers numerous special programs including the Acoustic Neuroma Program,Skull Base Surgery, Surgical Neuro-Oncology, Chiara CARE, Facial Pain Program, Minimally Invasive/ endoscopic Neurosurgery, Multidisciplinary Pain Program, Orbital Tumors Program,Stroke Program, and more.  The Brain and Spine Center is recognized on a world-class level, offering quality service and critical care for patients.

Summary of Internship

As an intern at the WCMC Brain and Spine Center, every Thursday I have the opportunity to shadow Anupama, a physician assistant on the Neurosurgery team who works under the supervision of Dr.Stieg, the chairman of WCMC Brain and Spine Center and chief neurosurgeon.  Physician assistants work under the supervision of a surgeon or physician and share a very similar education background as a doctor.  During my internship, I am able to examine the relationship among the contrasting professions such as nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, and surgeons to understand how they come together to deliver the best patient care and treatment policy in each case. I have acquired immense knowledge about the anatomy of the human brain and spine as well as various conditions that are being treated.  By observing patients from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, I am exposed to an array of cases from conditions such as hydrocephalus to arteriovenous malformations.  In addition, I learn to read and interpret MRI, angiograms, CTA reports and have exposure to breakthrough technologies such as Progav and Codman shunts. Another critical component to my internship is understanding patient interaction, which includes comprehensible methods of explaining the condition or route of treatment as well as providing the necessary details for patients to follow up on. Each week there are multidisciplinary conferences in which members of the neurosurgical department and other departments, including physician assistants, meet to discuss patients presenting with a variety of brain and spine diagnoses to determine plan and treatment for patients. Many of the patients I observe are post operative, often at the 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months or 6 months after surgery date. Since each Thursday is devoted to post op patients, I am able to examine the difference between patients from the 2 weeks surgery date to 6 months post. With this unique opportunity, I am able to apply the knowledge that I culminate and apply it to my future career in the health care field. My internship has provided me with a clearer understanding of the role of a physician assistant in providing medical procedures, patient care, and the interaction between other medical professionals.

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