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Neurological Surgery Residency Program

Hello Prospective Medical Students:

The Neurological Surgery Residency Program at Desert Regional Medical Center, is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Our inaugural class started July 1st 2015, and we currently have a full complement of 14 residents, the first of whom is on track to graduate in June 2021 from our seven year Residency Program. As we train our our residents under the AOA’s commitment to “leave no resident behind”, we are no longer accepting new residents. The primary goal of our Residency Program is the training of clinically and technically competent neurosurgeons dedicated to compassionate care, life-long learning, and sound judgment. We have a diverse neurosurgery faculty at the Primary Site, and at several Participating Sites. Neurosurgery faculty are reinforced by neurologists, neurointerventionalists, neurointensivists, and other specialties. We are proud to offer our trainees a well-rounded education in all aspects of Neurological Surgery.

The DRMC Neurological Surgery Residency Program offers a 7-year curriculum, as follows:

  • Basic Clinical Neurosciences: Four 4-week blocks in PGY1
  • Critical Care: Three 4-week blocks in PGY1
  • General Patient Care: Five 4-week blocks in PGY1
  • Neuropathology/Neuroradiology/Elective/Research: up to 3 months
    • Pediatric Neurosurgery: ad hoc
    • Operative Neurosurgery: at least 54-64 months


GME Office

Javed-Siddiqi-MDJaved Siddiqi, M.D., Ph.D., FACS, FAANS, FRCSC

Founding Program Director
Desert Regional Medical Center Neurological Surgery Residency

Current Positions:

  • Head of Neurosurgery Section, Dept of Surgery, Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs, CA
  • Founding President, Arrowhead Neuroscience Foundation, a non-profit 501(c ) 3 research & education foundation
  • President-Elect, California Association of Neurological Surgeons (CANS)
  • Professor & Chair of Surgery, California University of Science & Medicine, Colton, CA
  • Professor of Surgery, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief, “Contemporary Reviews in Neurology & Neurosurgery”, a Pub-Med Cited Journal

Board Certification:  Neurological Surgery

Fellowship:  University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, Department of Neurosurgery, Littlerock, AR

Residency:  University of Western Ontario, Department of Neurosurgery, London, ON, Canada

Doctorate: Oxford University, Oxford, England

Medical Degree:  University of Western Ontario School of Medicine, London, ON, Canada

Neurological Surgery Residency Curriculum

The curriculum for Desert Regional Medical Center has been designed to meet AOA accreditation standards and utilize the clinical strengths of the hospital faculty to produce quality trained physicians. Rotations marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a rotation requirement of the AOA. The hospital has elected to use a monthly calendar as the basis for rotations as opposed to a 13, four-week arrangement for rotations.

Residency Curriculum

OGME Year 2 
NeurosurgeryNine (9) Months
Vascular NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (RCH)
OGME Year 3 
NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months
Vascular & Skull Base NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (Kaiser Anaheim)
Vascular NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (RCH)
County NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (ARMC)
OGME Year 4 
NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months
Vascular & Skull base NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (Kaiser Anaheim)
Vascular NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (RCH)
County NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (ARMC)
OGME Year 5 
NeurosurgeryNine (9) Months
Vascular & Skull base NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (Kaiser Anaheim)
OGME Year 6 
NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months
Vascular & Skull Base NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (Kaiser Anaheim)
Vascular NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (RCH)
County NeurosurgeryThree (3) Months (ARMC)
OGME Year 7 
Neurosurgery SpineSix (6) Months
Neurosurgery CranialSix (6) Months

Vladimir-Cortez-DOVladamir Cortez, DO

Current Position:  Core Faculty, Desert Regional Medical Center

Board Certification:  Neurosurgery

Residency: Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton, CA

Medical Degree:  DO, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lansing, MI

Faculty Appointments:  Clinical Assistant Professor, Surgery/Neurosurgery, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA

Anthony-Alastra-MD-222x300Anthony John Gerard Alastra, MD, FAANS, FACS

Current Position: Associate Program Director & Core Faculty, Desert Regional Medical Center

Board Certification: Neurosurgery

Residency: New York University medical Center/Bellevue Hospital Center/Manhattan VA Medical Center, NY, NY

Medical Degree: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH

Faculty Appointments:

  • Pending: Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Western University Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Pomona, CA

Deependra-Mahato-DO-222x300Deependra Mahato, DO

Current Position: Non-Core Faculty, Desert Regional Medical Center

Board Certification: Neurosurgery

Residency:  Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton, CA

Medical Degree:  DO, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA

Faculty Appointments:

  • Assistant Professor, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA
  • Assistant Professor of Anatomy- Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA

Michael-Schiraldi-MDMichael Schiraldi, MD, PhD

Current Position: Core Faculty, Desert Regional Medical Center

Fellowship: Codman Endovascular Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Residency: Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Medical Degree: MD, Temple University School of Medicine



emilio-tayagEmilio Tayag, MD

Current Position: Core Faculty, Desert Regional Medical Center

Board Certification: Neurology

Residency: University of Southern California - LAC+USC Medical Center

Medical Degree: MD, University of the East, Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center


Neurosurgery Residency Program Faculty

Program Director

  • Javed Siddiqi, MD, DPhil (Oxon), FACS, FAANS

Neurosurgery Core Faculty

  • Anthony Alastra, MD, FAANS, FACS
  • Vladimir Cortez, DO
  • Michael Schiraldi, MD, PhD
  • Emilio Tayag, MD
  • Omid Hariri, DO (Kaiser Anaheim)
  • Eric Stiner, MD (Kaiser Anaheim Site Director)
  • Sooho Choi, MD (Kaiser Anaheim)
  • Dan Miulli, DO (ARMC Site Director)
  • Mark Krieger, MD (CHLA Site Director)

Neurosurgery Non-Core Faculty

  • Deependra Mahato, DO
  • Blake Berman, DO

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

  • Suneil Agarwal, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Jeff Baker, DO (Emergency Medicine)
  • Nicholas Batty, MD (Oncology)
  • Hetal Bhakta, MD (Cardiology)
  • Scott Brook, MD (Oncology)
  • Nora Bucher, MD (Oncology)
  • Elber Comacho, MD (Oncology)
  • Reginald Fayssoux, MD (Orthopedic Spine)
  • Glenn Fischberg, MD (Neuro Critical Care)
  • Andrew Givner, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Learned Gonzales, MD (Pulmonary Critical Care)
  • David Johnson, MD (General Surgery)
  • Shubha Kerkar, MD (Infectious Disease)
  • Babak Khazaeni, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Brahma Konda, MD (Oncology)
  • Jacqueline Le, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Gerald Martin, MD (Medicine)
  • Xolani Mdluli, MD (Infectious Disease)
  • Michelle Mouri, DO (Emergency Medicine)
  • Ramin Pooyan, DO (Orthopedics/Peripheral Nerve)
  • Ryan Roten, DO (Emergency Medicine)
  • Joel Stillings, DO (Emergency Medicine)
  • Micah Wittler, DO (Emergency Medicine)

Third Year Residents

Mohammad Arshad, DO

Hometown: Bridgeview, IL
cooking, ukulele, Catan, neurosurgery, reading, camping, football

Photo of Mohammad Arshad, DO
Hamid Hadi, DO

Hometown: Arvada, CO
Neurosurgery, reading, camping, football

Photo of Hamid Hadi, DO
Rebecca Houston, DO

Hometown: Montclair, NJ
Soccer, fishing, archaeology, traveling

Photo of Rebecca Houston, DO
Louis Reier, DO

Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Basketball, golf, tennis, mountain sports, traveling

Photo of Louis Reier, DO

Fourth Year Residents

Ajay Ramnot, DO

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
hiking and cooking

Photo of Ajay Ramnot, DO
Eric Whitney, DO

Hometown: Houston, TX
Cooking, exercise and neuro modulation

Photo of Eric Whitney, DO

Fifth Year Residents

Alessandra Cathel, DO

Hometown: Hamilton, NJ
Sports, beach, reading, being active with her dog

Photo of Alessandra Cathel, DO
Willis Kiessling, DO

Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Hiking, hunting, fishing

Photo of Willis Kiessling, DO

Sixth Year Residents

James Fowler, DO

Hometown: Sandwich, IL
Reading, piano, physics, philosophy, hiking, fishing, reading

Photo of James Fowler, DO
Chao Li, DO

Hometown: Overland, KS
fishing and reading

Photo of Chao Li, DO

Seventh Year Residents

Stephen Albano, DO

Hometown: Mililani, HI
Tai Chi, reading, yoga, video games

Photo of Stephen Albano, DO
Brian Fiani, DO

Hometown: Birmingham, MI
soccer, football, basketball, tennis, golf, water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, kit boarding, snow skiing, hiking, working out

Photo of Brian Fiani, DO
Alison Ho, DO

Hometown: Highland, CA
Street food, walking on the beach with my dog

Photo of Alison Ho, DO