Frequently Asked Questions

Resident Life

Yes, despite the cost of living in LA, residents find plenty of affordable housing options that fit within their salary. In addition, the housing stipend helps cover the cost of rent.

The majority of residents live in the arts district or Southpark area of downtown which is a 12-15 minute drive from the campus with morning traffic. Other popular areas include Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Santa Monica. 

Absolutely. Interns from other subspecialties rotate through general surgery rotations their first year and form lasting friendships. Many of them are often spotted at our social gatherings.

It’s Los Angeles. The city offers just about anything you can imagine.


We take 7 categorical residents each year. We do not take preliminary residents.

In recent years we have had flexible research years for those who wanted to take time away from clinical duties which is the reason we have a variable number of graduates each year. We are now encouraging all of our residents to take at least 1 year off for research after the PGY2 or PGY3 year.

On average, our chiefs graduate with more than 1000 cases.

Residents in the program are evaluated in a variety of ways. All faculty complete an end-of rotation evaluation for each resident assessing each of the six competencies set forth by the ACGME. All evaluations are entered into an online platform (My Evaluations) and accessible to residents at any time. These evaluations are discussed bi-annually at the departmental Clinical Competency Committee and decisions regarding resident progression are made at that time. A summary evaluation based on feedback from all faculty members is then entered into the My Evaluations system and provided to residents. In addition, residents are evaluated at the end of each case/procedure using the System for Improving and Measuring Procedural Learning (SIMPL) application on their smartphone that can be triggered by either the resident or supervising physician. The SIMPL application gives each resident feedback regarding his/her level of autonomy and complexity of each case.

Faculty in the program are evaluated by each resident at the end of every rotation. These evaluations are completed anonymously, compiled, and sent to each faculty member at the end of each academic year. In addition, faculty members are evaluated at the end of each teaching session (skills lab, core curriculum, etc.) and sent compiled individual teaching reports.

The program as a whole is also evaluated in a variety of ways. Every resident completes an annual program evaluation form at the end of each academic year. These evaluations are reviewed by program leadership and appropriate revisions are made. In addition, each individual program within the overall residency program (i.e. skills curriculum, core curriculum, wellness curriculum, etc.) is evaluated and revised on a yearly basis based on feedback from learners, focus groups, national guidelines and recommendations, ACGME mandates, and updated literature reviews.

As a way of encouraging feedback regarding the program and ways we can continue to improve, each class meets separately with the program director and department leadership twice a year outside of the hospital to allow for a casual exchange of ideas.

All residents participate in a Resident-As-Teachers program. These sessions are designed to help residents recognize their role as teacher and role model and provide the tools and skills necessary to become effective teachers and leaders. Residents learn about the transition from medical school to residency, providing constructive feedback, dealing with difficult learners, microskills of teaching, teaching in the operating rooms, and surgical leadership.

The Department of Surgery is committed to the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of all residents in the surgical education programs. Our wellness committee is comprised of both residents and faculty and works to support various wellness initiatives aimed at maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Each resident is given two wellness days off each year for personal use which can be used at any time. These days are free of any clinical duty and are in addition to the 4 weeks of paid vacation. We also recently implemented annual retreats for each class. These are weekend getaway trips organized by the residents and designed to allow all members of each class to be free of clinical duty.