General Surgery Residency | Message from the Regional Chair | MedStar Health

Welcome to the MedStar Health Surgery Residency. Building on the foundation of two longstanding programs, we offer a unique training environment of the highest caliber. The newly merged residency provides an outstanding breadth and depth of clinical experiences designed to suit the diverse needs of surgical trainees. A program of this size, graduating ten Chief Residents per year, allows tailoring of rotations to facilitate early specialization in training, while continually optimizing the educational platform regardless of eventual subspecialty interest or practice type.

Our Transplant Institute performs the full spectrum of liver, kidney, pancreas, and small bowel transplantation as well as hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgery for both benign and malignant disease. The hospital is also the primary site for our Hernia and Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Center and our pediatric surgery service. MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) is the District’s busiest Level 1 Trauma Center and houses our Burn Center, the region’s only comprehensive adult burn unit. The hospital is the home of the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, the top-ranked and busiest heart and vascular program in the mid-Atlantic region, offering the full array of cardiovascular surgical services, including cardiac transplantation, ventricular assist devices, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and other percutaneous interventions. Our bariatric surgery service also is concentrated at MWHC. Both hospitals house busy thoracic surgery, surgical oncology, minimally invasive surgery, breast surgery, colorectal surgery, endocrine surgery, and general/acute care surgical services while providing ample exposure to critical care medicine.

The diverse clinical experiences provided at these two facilities are augmented by select rotations at affiliated institutions, including MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Children’s National Medical Center, and Virginia Hospital Center, which provide exposures to procedures and settings different from those at our two main tertiary referral facilities. Faculty recruitment efforts have focused recently on expanding our portfolio of robotic operations, which are performed at several of our teaching sites. In aggregate, the diversity of clinical exposures and training environments creates an educational paradigm few programs can match.

The merged residency is part of our Regional Department of Surgery, comprised of attending surgeons at five MedStar hospitals and affiliated sites in the District of Columbia and southern Maryland. This large and diversified academic surgical Department is built on its pillars of clinical excellence with focused quality and outcomes initiatives, a robust research platform, and a world-class educational experience.

Our basic and clinical research enterprise is robust and mature. Research years during training are encouraged, though not required. Our burn and wound-healing lab, housed at MWHC, is well funded and has a history of academic productivity, providing basic science and research training for a great number of our house staff. Our resident physicians have access to basic and clinical scientists and allied professionals housed at the Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) or MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI). Many of our residents have performed basic research projects in laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in nearby Bethesda, Maryland and at other nationally recognized research institutions. Our Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORC), based at MGUH, has a track record of promoting clinical research and training, particularly for smaller projects that can be completed during the clinical years. Finally, each Division within our Department has ongoing research initiatives of various types.

Our educational endeavors are core to our mission and are performed in conjunction with the GUSOM. Third- and fourth-year medical students from the GUSOM participate in the clinical services at multiple sites and are part of the educational fabric of the Department. Our house staff are expected to be active teachers of those learning under them. We strive to share our passion for surgery with trainees at all levels.

Protected educational time is provided every Tuesday morning, and includes Grand Rounds presentations, morbidity, and mortality conferences, and a rotating schedule of lecture topics, journal clubs, video presentations, and mock board examinations developed in collaboration between the house staff and attending faculty from each clinical Division. Skills training and simulation are incorporated into the schedule of didactics and are undertaken at several sites, most notably the MedStar Simulation Training and Education Lab (SiTEL) located in the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MII) in D.C.

Our goal is to develop competent and compassionate clinical, research, and educational leaders of the future spanning the entirety of general surgery and its subspecialties. We believe our recently merged surgery department and residency program elevates our training environment to an exciting new level, exposing our trainees to the full portfolio of opportunities across our academic health system.

We hope you share our enthusiasm for our surgical residency program. We look forward to the opportunity to get to know you and demonstrate our passion for surgical education. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep aiming high!


Thomas J. Watson, MD, FACS

Regional Chairman of Surgery
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Professor of Surgery
Georgetown University School of Medicine

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