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General Surgery Residency at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Message from the Chair and the Program Director

  B. Johnson, MD, MBALynt B. Johnson, MD, MBA
Robert J. Coffey Professor and Chairman
Department of Surgery

This is an exciting time in the Department of Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. The rapid growth and development in the Department of Surgery coupled with a renewed national focus on surgical education and residency training has generated a level of energy and excitement which permeates through all aspects of the Department of Surgery, both in and out of the operating room. 

Our mission in resident education is to develop outstanding leaders in academic surgery. Developing young men and women to meet this challenge requires identifying individuals with outstanding leadership skills, superb communication skills, a creative and innovative thought process, and a commitment to scholarly activity.

The educational program for categorical surgical residents in the Department of Surgery is heavily structured throughout each week of the five years of categorical training. Five hours of blocked time on Tuesday mornings where all house staff gather for core conferences, including specialty conferences in critical care, skills lab training, and senior case conference (weekly mock orals). Preoperative conferences round out the clinical experience throughout the week both in the operating room and in the ambulatory setting. The 80-hour work week is strictly adhered to for in-hospital contact hours, but the expectations of the postgraduate student in surgery is for thorough preparation for the OR cases each day and for paired faculty outpatient experience on a weekly basis. The strength of the educational program certainly lies in the tremendous breadth and depth of clinical experience but, more importantly, in the young resident physicians that MedStar Georgetown attracts that create an educational milieu that allows them to flourish in a non-threatening but challenging environment.

Approximately 75% of all MedStar Georgetown surgical residents go into the laboratory. Extensive laboratory opportunities are present in oncology, GI physiology, transplantation, basic vascular biology, and more. Washington, D.C. is home to more basic science and clinical science laboratories than any other city in the world, and MedStar Georgetown surgical residents avail themselves to the opportunities at the home institution, the NIH and throughout the nation’s capital. Research opportunities exist not only in basic and clinical translational laboratories but also in continuing education: past residents have obtained MBA, MPH and PhD degrees.

Over the last four years, over 15 new faculty members have joined the Department of Surgery in virtually all areas, including transplant, general surgery, surgical oncology, and vascular surgery. Most important in the recruitment of these faculty, in addition to their area of clinical and research expertise, is their skill set in surgical education. Many of the current faculty are nationally recognized for their contributions and expertise in surgical education, including faculty involved in nationally-renowned faculty development programs in surgical education. Each of these new faculty members, however, brings a special expertise in surgical education which is used as one of the criteria for recruitment to this department.

In summary, the Training Program in Surgery at MedStar Georgetown has a long and distinguished history because of graduates who have gone on to make major contributions to American surgery. We will continue this tradition by identifying outstanding young resident candidates, bringing them into an environment that allows them to flourish, facilitating their cognitive knowledge, intensively teaching their technical skills, and mentoring their behavioral skills. Ultimately, they will evolve into outstanding young surgeons, having spent their formative years of training here at MedStar Georgetown.

If you have any further questions, we encourage you to call or write the Program Director or the Office of Surgical Education directly. We wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of an exciting career in surgery.

A. Alfred Chahine, MD
Residency Program Director
Department of Surgery