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Surgical Oncology Fellowship

The Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago is entering a new and arguably its most exciting phase since its inception as an SSO-approved training program in 1990.  The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) has recently entered an exclusive affiliation agreement with North Shore University Health Systems (NSUHS)/Evanston Hospital, which will serve as its primary academic affiliate.  This union will further strengthen our established comprehensive program in surgical oncology.

In this context, the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago has an extraordinary opportunity to enhance and expand the clinical, educational and research offerings that define a premier surgical oncology fellowship program.  This opportunity has allowed us to expand our program to accommodate two surgical oncology fellows per year.  We intend to continue a three-year fellowship program; 18 months of which are dedicated to clinical rotations and 18 months to research.  The curriculum of the fellowship is independent and distinct from the General Surgery residency training program.  This fellowship prepares surgeons to assume leadership in the multidisciplinary care of the cancer patient and to engage in high quality research.  We seek to train the highest caliber surgeons to become leaders in surgical oncology. Surgeons who complete this program have accumulated the credentials, knowledge and experience for a productive academic career.

The clinical experience will be balanced between UCMC and NSUHS/Evanston Hospital  campuses.  Our clinical rotations provide a diverse and comprehensive exposure to gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, endocrine, melanoma, breast, head and neck, thoracic, gynecologic, and soft tissue malignancies.  UCMC is an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center that serves as a major national and international referral center.  The Department of Surgery performs more than 18,000 surgical procedures each year.  NSUHS is also a fully-integrated, academically-inclined, community-based medical center with a reputation for its outstanding clinical care.  The Evanston campus staff is composed of a stellar group of academically-trained surgical oncologists who will complement our university-based faculty. Annually, NSUHS surgeons perform over 50,000 inpatient cases, with at least 2,000 cancer-directed cases each year.

Our fellows learn to recognize and manage an extraordinary array of the most complex oncologic patients.  Their multidisciplinary experience includes dedicated clinical rotations in surgical pathology, radiation oncology and medical oncology.  Fellows actively participate in several core surgical oncology conferences that include a weekly surgical planning case conference, a monthly debate-style journal club, a disease-specific interdisciplinary tumor board, and a faculty-mentored, core-reading conference covering the complete spectrum of surgical oncology within a three-year cycle.  Our comprehensive curriculum helps our fellows master the epidemiology, biology, multimodal treatment options, and response to therapy in the cancer patient.  State-of-the-art multimedia conference facilities at both institutions provide a dynamic and interactive setting for our fellows to refine their presentation skills.

During the dedicated research experience, fellows have the opportunity to select a faculty-mentored project in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, pharmacology, radiation biology, virology, or outcomes research.  Fellows present and refine their data to a broad audience at weekly laboratory meetings.  We expect this experience to cultivate the requisite skills to develop hypothesis-oriented research projects, organize an independently-funded laboratory, and to prepare abstracts and manuscripts for presentation at national meetings and publication in peer-reviewed journals.  Fellows are exposed to the principles of clinical research through the clinical and translational activities at both UCMC and NSUHS.  UCMC is the seat of both the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and the GI Committee of the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) which provides an unparalleled exposure and participation in the cooperative group clinical trial process.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to focus on a unique outcomes-based research opportunity that has been cultivated at NSUHS/Evanston Hospital in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons, analyzing the National Cancer Data Base.  A course in biostatistics is provided to gain experience in clinical trial methodology, protocol and consent form writing, and data collection. As part of the instruction in clinical research, fellows assist with the accrual of patients into both institutional and regional/national cooperative group protocols.  Fellows are mentored to finalize projects involving clinical research into presentations at national meetings and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Fellows are expected to have several manuscripts published or ready for publication prior to completing the Fellowship.

The program director meets regularly with the fellows to review their academic progress, to suggest strategies to find an academic job and to help with the practical steps involved. This involvement has resulted in a high percentage (>90 percent) of fellows successfully pursuing academic careers.  We provide stipends, health insurance, fringe benefits, and funds to travel to a major oncologic meeting each year.  Eligibility for the Fellowship includes: 1) completion of a general surgery residency in an approved U.S. or Canadian program and 2) U.S. nationality or permanent residency.  The deadline for applications is July 1.  Interviews are conducted during the summer preceding the deadline for the matching program.

CONTACT AND ADDRESS

Program Director: Mitchell C. Posner, M.D., Chief, Surgical Oncology

Address: The University of Chicago
Department of Surgery
5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 5031
Chicago, IL 60637

Phone:  (773) 834-0156
Fax:  (773) 702-6120

E-mail: mposner@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu