Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship | MedStar Washington Hospital Center | MedStar Health

The MedStar Health—Washington Hospital Center Fellowship Program in Colon and Rectal Surgery

Our ACGME-approved fellowship training program in colon and rectal surgery at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., was initiated by Drs. Lee Smith and Thomas Stahl in July 1999 and has since trained over 20 ABCRS board certified / board eligible individuals in our subspecialty. We host a one-year clinical training experience, following the completion of a residency in general surgery. Our program offers wide exposure to colorectal and anorectal diseases, including colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and all forms of anal / perianal disease.

The mission of the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship Program is to prepare fellows to care for patients through exposure to diverse patient populations, faculty role models, structured didactics, a supportive learning environment and opportunities for scholarly activity. Our goal is for our fellows to be compassionate, capable, and well-rounded practitioners who thrive in any clinical setting with the skills to continue lifelong learning and attend to their professional and personal well-being. Fellows will embody our SPIRIT values of service, patient first, integrity, respect, innovation, and teamwork in the care of our diverse patient population in the D.C. area

Why train here

We perform open, laparoscopic, robotic major cases. We utilize a dual-console robotic system to maximize the learning experience. We train our fellows in the full scope of anorectal physiology testing and have a lab in our clinic with manometry, ultrasound, and EMG.

We are one of the few centers in the country who offer training on transanal microsurgery (TEM) as a tool for local treatment of benign and malignant lesions of the rectum, as well as training in the use of the single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) instrumentation for transabdominal and transanal procedures. We perform open, laparoscopic-assisted, hand-assisted, combined laparoscopic-endoscopic procedures.

We train our fellow in the full scope of anorectal physiology testing (manometry, anal ultrasound, pudendal nerve terminal motor latency), and have a close relationship with our colleagues in urogynecology, urology, physical therapy, and radiology, to offer multidisciplinary care as part of the National Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery.

The program aims to provide the education, clinical experience, and faculty mentorship necessary to train skilled, compassionate, board certified, CRS physicians for the practice in public or private settings. The CRS faculty work closely with the fellow to ensure a full complement of surgical procedures are offered for him/her to participate. One of the aims is also to ensure a variety of cases to be available with each of the five faculty so that the fellow can experience several approaches to each of the required cases featured in the ACGME log.

Curriculum and rotations

We host and participate in several educational activities during the academic year on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis as described below.

While the vast majority of training occurs at MWHC, the fellow will travel to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital or MedStar Lafayette on occasion when an applicable teaching case is presented. Typically, this is four to five days at Georgetown and once or twice per month to Lafayette Center.


Body Content Bedside rounds with general surgery residents


  • Pre-operative conference

  • Case discussion of inpatients

  • General Surgery Grand Rounds and Morbidity Mortality conference

  • Systematic review of CRS Core Subjects (ASCRS textbook chapter review, plus supplemental materials)

  • Multidisciplinary GI Oncology conference


  • Colorectal Surgery Journal Club

  • Pathology conference (in conjunction with the Division of Gastroenterology)


  • Pelvic floor conference


  • Local - Metropolitan DC American College of Surgeons (bi-annual meeting)

  • Regional - Chesapeake Society of Colorectal Surgeons (bi-annual meeting)

  • National - ASCRS Annual Meeting

Application information

Interested in applying?

Contact us

Contact the program administrator:

Ashley Nordhagen
Program Administrator