Why the University of Chicago?

Dear Applicant:

Thank you very much for your interest in our General Surgery Residency Program at the University of Chicago. The recruitment of outstanding medical students to our program remains the most important aspect of my job as program director. While there are many choices for your training, I believe that we offer candidates the opportunity to train in a world-class academic medical center, a nationally-recognized community-based, high-volume hospital system, and a busy urban trauma center. These distinctive environments provide our trainees with a diversity of experience that few other programs can match.

Our combined faculty at the University of Chicago, Stroger Hospital, and the North Shore University Health System are dedicated to training exceptional residents that have an interest in becoming leaders in academic general surgery and its subspecialties. The Department of Surgery remains committed to supporting our residents' participation in research opportunities that are tailored to match their career interests. We organized a Resident Research Advisory Committee to assist our junior residents identify the best research opportunities in basic science, outcomes/translational research, surgical ethics, Surgical Education, or within one the University of Chicago's many laboratories. My job is to cultivate and organize an innovative training environment that operates within the structure of the ACGME guidelines, but that relishes our program's strengths as innovators in surgical education. Our residents are exposed to a comprehensive educational curriculum with access to a well-developed simulation training centers at both campuses. Our teaching services are led by Team Education Coordinators to provide our residents with consistent feedback before, during and after each clinical rotation. We have developed novel methods of assessing intraoperative teaching to maximize teaching experiences in the operating room. The Surgical Training and Assessment Tool (STAT), was developed by one of our trainees, to provide our residents with real-time feedback on their performance, technical skills, and case preparation. These assessments are used over time to identify areas in need of refinement and to identify areas of proficiency that will help us assess milestones in the Next Accreditation System.

We have initiated several exciting new changes to our program this year: our inaugural General Surgery Bootcamp, the PEER mentorship program and the new Resident Acute Care Surgery Service.

We recently completed our inaugural general surgery bootcamp this past June. The highlights of the course included an extensive OR orientation, the administration of a NMBE surgery examination, an interactive "mock pages" session, multidisciplinary presentations from both nursing and our hospital-based specialties and a technical skills lab led by Mike Ujiki, MD, and Konstantin Umanskiy, MD, on Endoscopic, FLS and live animal stations. Using the qualitative and quantitative assessments that were generated during both the GME and General Surgery bootcamps, we were able to provide our categorical general surgery interns with a "level 0" or baseline milestone assessment in most of the ACGME competencies.

Today's surgical resident is faced with a variety of challenges and is forced to adapt to an ever-evolving system of training and health care. As a result, a new mentor-mentee relationship is necessary in addition to the traditional forms of apprenticeship and mentorship. Therefore, to meet the diverse needs of residents, we established the "PEER: Professional Empowerment and Education of Residents" program which is dedicated to the following objectives:
1. To provide a senior resident mentor who is a role model, counselor and advocate for junior residents with the goal of cultivating a competent, confident and committed surgeon. By drawing on their own experience, mentors will support mentees through the challenges of surgical residency including career progression, exam performance, clinical skill, clinical confidence, personal life and working relationships. Mentors will be asked to meet with their mentees once every one to two months or more to promote this objective.
2. To make available a resident ombudsperson who can serve as an additional resource for all residents in navigating surgical residency.
3. To build camaraderie within the entire residency program through quarterly events which highlight educational and social themes. This will ultimately empower residents to become mature and successful, "surgeons of the highest type" in the words of William S. Halsted.

To meet the ongoing challenges of incorporating increasing autonomy in our program, we have created a new "Resident Acute Care Surgery Service" this academic year. This exciting new opportunity allows senior and chief residents the opportunity to lead a team composed of a PGY2 resident and a surgical PA that manage basic general surgery patients. The chief resident is supervised by the on-call attending, but is encouraged to act in the capacity of a teaching assistant for their junior resident. We are incorporating simulation training, video-based feedback, and expert evaluations of intraoperative teaching skills to this service. We believe that this unique service enhances both the quality and efficiency of acute general surgery care and provides an innovative model to promote autonomy within a well-supervised training program.

We take the time to get to know our residents. I believe that creating a collegial environment helps our resident mature into capable and well-trained surgeons. The humanistic aspect of professional development is just as important as the surgical skills that we teach. Please take the time to review our newly-designed website with more detailed information about the resources available at the University of Chicago. I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you during the upcoming interview season. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if I may be of further assistance

Sincerely yours,

Professor, Surgery and Cancer Research
Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program
Associate Program Director, Surgical Oncology Fellowship
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Ave. | Room G-216, MC 5094 | Chicago, IL 60637
Office:  773-795-4595
Fax: 773-702-6120