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Child Neurology

Rana R. Said, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology
Director, Child Neurology Residency Program
Director, Pediatric Neurology Education Programs
Site Director Neurology Clerkship at Children’s Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics

Rana Said, M.D.

About the Specialty

Child Neurology is a unique branch of medicine that cares for children from birth to early adulthood with disease of the brain and nervous system. These disorders include developmental disorders, autism, learning disabilities, neurodegenerative disorders, stroke, epilepsy, demyelinating disorders, neuromuscular disorders, headache and concussion, neuro-genetic disorders, neonatal neurology, neurooncology, and neuro-immunology. The practice of child neurology can be inpatient or outpatient or a combination.

There are many opportunities for research and advancing the field. There have been many breakthrough treatments in just the past few years. We work closely with our pediatrics and adult neurology colleagues and specialists in genetics and metabolism, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, neuro-radiology, and neurosurgery. It is a very rewarding field where doctors form close relationships to patients and families, can make treatment and scientific breakthroughs, and participate in advocacy.

Answers to Common Questions

  • Attributes of a Competitive Student

    What factors typically make a student competitive for this specialty?

    Requires competitive USMLE scores around 230-245, clearly passionate about the field, some research in neurology a plus but not required, excellent letters of recommendation from child neurology faculty.

  • Research

    How important is research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?

    Research experience is a plus but not mandatory; does not have to be in the specialty, but would be a plus.

  • Shadowing

    Are there shadowing opportunities available?

    Contact Rana Said, M.D.,

    Student Interest Group in Neurology leaders (SIGN) is also another way.

  • Electives

    What electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?

    Ambulatory pediatrics elective (requesting child neurology), physical medicine and rehabilitation, genetics, neurosurgery, palliative care.

    Based on your experience, what tips do you have for students to shine on your electives?

    Read about their patients, learn normal developmental milestones, ask good questions, and establish rapport with patients and families.

  • Away Rotations

    Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?

    This is not necessary.

  • Interview Timing

    Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?

    November, December

  • Letters of Recommendation

    How many letters of recommendation are needed to apply to your specialty?


    Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?

    No – at least one.

    If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?

    There is no preference other than a rotation where you shined.

    Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?


    Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?

    No, but I will typically write a letter for our students that is “from the program” and includes input from all child neurology faculty during elective rotation.


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