Surgical Residency Program
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Surgical Residency Program offers extensive clinical training and research opportunities.
- Phone: 617-726-2800
The Mass General Difference
The mission of the Massachusetts General Hospital General Surgery Residency Training Program is to recruit the finest possible candidates and to train them to become the next generation of leaders in academic surgery by providing them unparalleled clinical and operative experiences, robust didactic, simulation, and conference curricula, and limitless research opportunities. One of the oldest and most prestigious training programs in the country, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program continues to pride itself on the success of its graduates, many of whom are current department chairs, division chiefs, and renowned surgical scientists.
The principal goal of the Program is clinical excellence. We believe that exposure to a large, diverse patient population and a broad experience in complex open and minimally invasive surgery are essential elements in the training of outstanding surgeons. Thus, the vast majority of surgical training occurs at Mass General, recently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2011-2012 in its "Best Hospitals" category. Mass General provides approximately 10,000 surgical admissions and 20,000 operative procedures each year. This abundance of clinical material enables the surgical trainee to gain early experience in the operating room and to quickly develop independent responsibility in the perioperative care of a wide variety of complicated surgical patients. Graduating residents routinely perform between 1,000 and 1,200 major operations upon completion of the residency. The vast majority of residents go on to subspecialty fellowship training at the program of their choice followed by careers in academic surgery. Recent graduates have matched in fellowships at Boston Children's Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, UCSF (Transplant Surgery), and Columbia-Presbyterian (Cardiac and Vascular Surgery) as well as various Mass General fellowship programs.
A secondary goal of the Program is to provide residents with the tools and mentorship necessary to foster their growth as future leaders in surgery. Though a research sabbatical is not required, the majority of residents do elect to spend two years away from their clinical training to conduct research. The department is extremely supportive of this research experience — so much so that the department has six endowed fellowships which guarantee salary support for all residents conducting research. Though many residents elect a research mentor within the Department of Surgery at Mass General, which is ranked first in the nation in NIH funding, all of our residents have tremendous flexibility and opportunity in choosing to work in the foremost laboratories in the country or to conduct less traditional projects for which funding might otherwise be unavailable. Many residents choose basic science research experiences, but many others conduct outcomes, health services, and education research. Residents also enjoy the opportunity to attain an advanced degree, such as a PhD, MPH, or MBA, during this sabbatical.
Learn more about the Ferguson-Ottinger Fund
The Ferguson-Ottinger Fund for Surgical Residents at Mass General supports a visiting professorship, educational and networking opportunities for surgical residents.
Finally, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program serves as a major pillar of the department. It thrives on the mutual trust and respect that the faculty and residents have for each other in the common quest we share — exceptional patient care. There is a tremendous esprit de corps among the residents, who owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Edward D. Churchill, former Chief of Surgery at Mass General, who first proposed the current "rectangular" system of resident training to supplant Halsted’s long-standing pyramidal system. Perhaps it was Churchill who, in a report to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1948, summed up the philosophy of the Mass General Surgical Residency Program best: "Our whole program in graduate education ... is to keep the framework flexible and adapted to the needs and interests of the individual." More than 60 years later, we seek to accomplish this mission every day.
Mass General's Surgical Residency Program consists of five clinical years encompassing the broad range of surgery, and provides graded responsibility with adequate supervision at all levels. All residents complete the requirements for certification by the American Board of Surgery. Our graduates have been extraordinarily successful in obtaining premier fellowship positions.
The Surgical Residency Program offers an unparalleled clinical experience for surgeons in training. Operative experience is progressive and begins in the first year, with progressive advancement in complexity of cases with experience. Experience in complex major cases is particularly strong. Each graduating resident over the course of the residency averages approximately 1,200 major cases.
The vast majority of training takes place at Mass General, with the focus on the primary components of general surgery. Several months are spent on outside rotations at Newton-Wellesley and Salem Hospitals, offering residents exposure to community hospital practice and a bit more autonomy.
As leaders in the world of medical simulation, Mass General has developed innovative uses of simulation for the education of residents. The simulation program uses a combination of wet lab, dry lab, and in-situ simulation to educate residents and medical students. We are one of the main teaching hubs for the Advanced Trauma Operative Management course, the Advanced Trauma Life Support course, Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery, and other programs sponsored by the American College of Surgery. We are actively engaged with industry to develop and test some of the newest simulation techniques and offer the opportunity for residents to not just learn but to also teach/develop such programs.
More than half of our residents elect to take time away from clinical training, usually two years, for research or to pursue advanced degrees. The Department is extremely supportive of these electives, and helps each resident select an appropriate laboratory for this experience, be it at Mass General or elsewhere. The Department has six endowed fellowships for support of resident research and guarantees salary support for any resident during this research experience. With this availability of funds, residents often have opportunities to work in the foremost laboratories in the country.
A variety of educational conferences complement the clinical training program. Each service has a weekly morbidity and mortality conference, which all residents and staff attend, and the GI, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery services hold weekly case conferences. Surgical Grand Rounds take place on Thursday morning. The remainder of Thursday mornings are dedicated to the general surgery core curriculum for all surgical residents.
Current Resident Rotations By YearView PDF
Residents are provided with ten (10) days of vacation during the first year of residency and one month per year in the subsequent four years.. All one-month vacations are taken as a single block to prevent interference with the educational experience of rotations, to provide an adequate block of time off for the resident, and to prevent the necessity of cross-coverage on services. The Program strives to accommodate the vacation requests of each resident.
Hospitalization and medical insurance is provided by the hospital, as are disability insurance and malpractice insurance.
Parking is available to house officers in the hospital's parking garages. A stipend is provided in the salary to cover the cost.
Program Director, Surgical Residency Program
Associate Program Director, Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
Faculty by Division
- Burns Center
- Cardiac Surgery
- General and Gastrointestinal Surgery
- Pediatric Surgery
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Surgical Oncology
- Thoracic Surgery
- Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
- Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
- Voice Center
- Weight Center
Residency Program Staff
Director of Surgical Educatiion
Emil Petrusa, PhD
Education Research Specialist
For more information on alumni relations, see the Mass General Surgical Society.
Appointments to the first year of general surgical training are administered under the National Resident Matching Program. Application is made through the AAMC Electronic Residency Application Service, ERAS.
Required Application Materials
- 500-word personal statement
- Dean's letter
- Curriculum vitae
- Three (3) names of supporting references are required in the application form (requests for letters of recommendation is the responsibility of the applicant)
Additional application requirements and information (if applicable):
- ECFMG-certified at time of application
- Pass scores on USMLE Step 1 and both parts of Step 2 by matched date
- We sponsor J1 visas.
All candidates for positions in the categorical five-year program are required to be present at an interview given at the hospital each year. Our upcoming interview dates are December 9, 2011; December 16, 2011; January 6, 2012; and January 13, 2012. We require confirmation of intent to participate in the interview. A prior interview is not necessary, but students are welcome to visit the department when convenient to more fully familiarize themselves with the training program and hospital. Candidates for preliminary positions do not participate in the formal interview process. Selected applicants will be contacted to schedule an individual interview.
Please submit materials to:
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Lois ParkerMassachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114