Training & Education


A hallmark of any training program is the incredible diversity of the training experience.

The Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine has a long tradition of training excellent clinical surgeons. The Department of Surgery earmarks over $1.5 million every year in support of the educational programs for residents, fellows and medical students.

Residents, fellows and medical students obtain an unmatched spectrum of experience by training at several facilities, which include one of the country’s largest public general hospitals, a university tertiary hospital, an NCI-designated cancer center and hospital, two private community hospitals and a nationally renowned children’s hospital.

Residency/Fellowship Programs

Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, the department chair, has organized a robust organizational structure that integrates clinical experience with the Surgical Skills Simulation and Education Center and didactic instruction. We protect this investment in resident education by ensuring that our residents – in all six specialties – are able to participate in the curriculum without distractions or non-essential clinical duties. The Department of Surgery also offers several fellowship programs in a range of surgical subspecialties. These fellowships are designed to provide advanced clinical and academic training to better prepare trainees for their role as surgical leaders and educators of the future.
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Medical Student Education

Our medical student program is highly rated by the medical students. Students interested in pursuing postgraduate education in surgery are advised by our surgery career advisor on an individual basis, and we host a Career in Surgery meeting at the beginning of every year for Year III students. Additionally, many faculty members in the department serve as mentors and assist medical students with their Required Scholarly Projects.
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Surgical Skills Simulation and Education Center

The Surgical Skills Simulation and Education Center offers a variety of training programs for residents, as well as workshops for medical students. The center provides an environment where students, residents and practicing physicians can learn and hone their technical skills prior to performing procedures on a patient.
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Physician-Scientist Training Program

Physician-scientists are dual-trained professionals who serve as conduits between the research laboratory and the clinic and are ideally suited to materialize the dream of translational medicine. The goal of the physician-scientist (PST) program is to provide formal training to physicians to undertake cutting edge scientific research. It is fully expected that this program will graduate academic physicians who will be leaders in their chosen field of expertise and be highly competitive during faculty recruitment and when applying for extra-mural research funds
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Faculty Development

The Department of Surgery actively partakes in mentoring all faculty members. The department has initiated a mentorship plan for junior faculty and holds a series of faculty development sessions for all faculty members every other month.
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