Surgical Residency Program
Barbara Wolf, Program Manager
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
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Our residents post about life as a resident at Mass General, their professional and personal accomplishments, and more on the Department of Surgery Instagram page.
Twitter Takeovers with Surgical Residents
Surgical residents at Massachusetts General Hospital provide a behind-the-scenes look at their days and experiences in the Surgical Residency Program.
Explore This Residency
About the Program
The General Surgery Residency Program at Massachusetts General Hospital trains the next generation of leaders in academic surgery. We provide our residents with unparalleled clinical and operative experiences; robust didactic, simulation and conference curricula; a team approach to career development, mentorship and limitless research opportunities. One of the oldest and most prestigious training programs in the country, the Mass General Surgery Residency Program prides itself on the success of its graduates, many of whom are current department chairs, division chiefs and renowned surgeon-scientists.
Video: Graduate Medical Education at Mass General
In this video, residents, fellows and program leaders at Mass General—including John Mullen, MD, director of the Surgical Residency Program—discuss learning experiences and training programs offered at the hospital.
Access to Clinical Excellence
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 surgeries are essential elements in the training of outstanding surgeons. Thus, the vast majority of our surgical training occurs at Mass General, consistently ranked as a top hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
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 MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco (Transplant Surgery), and New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center (Cardiac and Vascular Surgery) as well as various Mass General fellowship programs.
Academic Career Development—Fostering Future Leaders in Surgery
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. The Mass General Department of Surgery has one of the largest hospital-based surgical research programs in the country.
Though a research sabbatical is not required, the majority of residents elect to spend two years away from their clinical training to conduct career development and in-depth 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.
We do not expect that all residents arrive at Mass General with a strong vision of their future clinical and academic goals. We know that their initial interests from their medical school time may evolve over the course of their residency training. As such, we have implemented a multidisciplinary and longitudinal approach to mentorship. The Department of Surgery's Vice Chair of Research, Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, works with each resident to assemble a team of mentors—clinical, academic and peer mentors that help each resident refine their career plans over time. Each resident will have a formal team of faculty and peer mentors, with an annual team career conference to review each resident's career plan as it matures and comes into focus.
There is also robust programming for career development throughout the academic year, integrated into Surgical Grand Rounds, resident core didactics, journal clubs and seminars. The monthly Academic Career Development seminars teach core skills and competencies, with topics such as:
- Manuscript preparation
- Creating and maintaining a biosketch
- Grant writing
- Developing specific aims
- Building mentor teams
- Crafting a surgeon-scientist career
Our speakers are curated from the Mass General and national surgical community.
During a two-week Academic Career Development rotation, junior residents engage in a curriculum designed to:
- Build academic skills
- Foster introductions with mentors and collaborators
- Enable completion of manuscripts, clinical protocols and grant applications
The department leadership strongly believes in providing every resource and opportunity possible to enhance the career development of trainees into future leaders.
Though many residents select a research mentor within the Department of Surgery at Mass General, 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, and many others conduct 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.
Finally, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program serves as a major pillar of the Department of Surgery. It thrives on the mutual trust and respect the faculty and residents have for each other in the common quest—exceptional patient care. There is a tremendous esprit de corps among the residents, who owe a debt of gratitude to Edward D. Churchill, MD, former chief of surgery at Mass General, who first proposed the current "rectangular" system of resident training. Perhaps it was Churchill who, in a report to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1948, summed up the philosophy of the Mass General framework and adapted to the needs and interests of the individual.
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 begins in the first year, with progressive advancement in complexity of cases with experience. Each graduating resident, over the course of the residency, averages approximately 1,200 major cases, with strong experience in complex 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, teaching independence and autonomy.
As a leader 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 robotic skills, 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.
Global Surgery Pathway
As an international leader in surgery, Mass General has developed a Global Surgery Pathway for residents interested in pursuing work in developing countries. This pathway enables interested and qualified surgery residents to undertake tailor-made clinical, educational and research opportunities.
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. Surgical Grand Rounds take place on Thursday mornings. The remainder of Thursday morning is dedicated to the general surgery core curriculum for all surgical residents. Below is the list of conferences in all disciplines held by the listed day:
- Adrenal conference
- Trauma rounds
- Endocrine surgery conference
- Hepatobiliary conference
- Breast center didactic conference
- Gastrointestinal oncology multidisciplinary meeting
- Endocrine clinical research conference
- Gastrointestinal oncology conference
- Melanoma research conference
- Gastrointestinal rounds
- Gastrointestinal oncology multidisciplinary meeting
- Endocrine oncology conference
- Pancreas rounds
- Sarcoma rounds
- Breast tumor board
- Liver tumor clinic rounds
- Inflammatory bowel disease conference
4+3 Pathway for Cardiothoracic Surgery Training
Mass General surgical residents interested in specializing in cardiothoracic surgery have the unique opportunity to transition into our Cardiothoracic Surgical Residency Program once they have completed four out of five years of their general surgery training. Once transitioned, they would remain at Mass General and train for an additional three years. Separate cardiac and thoracic tracks have been established within the program to allow for subspecialty emphasis in contemporary aspects of the field.
Our Resident Community
Mass General recruits top candidates from around the world into our Surgical Residency Program. Our residents bring to the program diverse perspectives and backgrounds, enriching the program further and deepening the care experience that our patients receive.
While the program is rigorous, residents are able to maintain a balance with their personal lives and are part of a community that supports and encourages their development. There are a number of events throughout the year during which residents recognize each other's work and accomplishments, welcome incoming residents and come to discuss a particularly extraordinary case. Some among them include:
- Annual holiday party
- Santa rounds: Every year the Mass General surgical interns participate in a long-standing tradition of admitting Mr. Santa Claus to Mass General
- Change show: On the eve of the first day of the new academic year, we celebrate and review the year's triumphs by showcasing videos created by each class. At this event we also welcome the incoming interns
Supporting Resident Parents
Surgical training is long and coincides with common childbearing years for many residents. The Mass General Department of Surgery recognizes the impact of surgical training on the ability for residents to have children before or after training, and is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our residents during family planning, pregnancy, and after delivery.
Commitment to Diversity
The Department of Surgery is committed to recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds. We have a diversity committee of faculty, staff and residents that meets to discuss program development. We also work with the Mass General Multicultural Affairs Office, which connects students underrepresented in medicine to other students, faculty and staff who share their experience at Mass General. The department also encourages opportunities to engage in broader discussion on diversity and health care.
The Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) works closely with all departments, and residency and fellowship training programs to advance diversity, equity and inclusion for trainees and physicians at Mass General.
Resident DEI Champion Award
The Mass General Department of Surgery created the Resident Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award to recognize residents who regularly go above and beyond to create a more inclusive, just, and welcoming environment that fosters the wellbeing and advancement of all—especially of those who are underserved and underrepresented in medicine—and demonstrates commitment to the department's DEI goals as they relate to department- and hospital-wide activities, community building, recruitment, scholarship, teaching, and patient care.
Imani McElroy, MD
Numa Perez, MD
Welcome to Boston
A world-class city with a small-town feel, Boston is rich in history and culture and home to more than 50 colleges and universities. The city is known for its sports teams, as well as for its major cultural institutions like the Boston Ballet and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Numerous museums and galleries host weekly events, and a thriving local music scene coupled with an international array of restaurants makes Boston a vibrant city to call home.
Most area attractions are within walking distance or a short trip on public transportation. Mass General is located right near the city center, which is surrounded by a number of neighborhoods where our residents live. Some of the better-known areas include Harvard Square, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End and the North End.
Boston is also centrally located to major destinations in the Northeast. New York is just four hours away by bus. Train lines such as Amtrak and the MBTA local commuter rail make traveling in New England and along the coast easy. We are in close proximity to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and other major travel destinations. International flights are also available out of Boston's Logan International Airport, approximately a 15-minute cab ride away from the hospital.
Making the move to Boston is both exciting and challenging. Mass General helps residents alleviate the economic burden of living in Boston with a few programs like the Resident Stipend Pilot Program for economically disadvantaged residents and the Lease Guaranty Program. We are pleased to share these unique benefits with our residents.
Salary and Benefits
PGY Salary (2023-2024)
- PGY-1: $78,540
- PGY-2: $82,500
- PGY-3: $86,350
- PGY-4: $90,750
- PGY-5: $95,150
All residents also receive an annual $10,000 stipend to assist with the cost of housing, child care, and any other financial challenges they may face.
Residents are provided four week-long blocks of vacation during the first year of residency, followed by four weeks per year in the subsequent four years. Residents in years two through five, can take two two-week vacation blocks or an entire month. The program strives to accommodate the vacation requests of each resident.
Hospitalization, medical insurance, disability insurance, and malpractice insurance are all available through Mass General Brigham.
Subsidized parking is available to house officers in the hospital's parking garages.
Research Opportunities for Residents
The Mass General Surgical Residency Program offers many opportunities for developing surgeon-scientists.
We have a strong tradition of training the surgeon-scientists who go on to advance medicine through research. The Department of Surgery is exceptionally poised to lead the way in various exciting areas of research and to launch first-in-human trials to solve many conditions that are treated through surgery or alternative non-surgical interventions.
Research is the most substantial contribution we can make to global patient care. Through research breakthroughs, we touch the lives of patients we may never personally encounter.
Fast Facts about Surgical Resident Research at Mass General:
- Mass General is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the U.S., with annual research expenditures exceeding more than 1 billion
- The Department of Surgery has one of the largest surgical research programs in the world
- Boston is home to nearly 100 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators
- Research facilities at the main Mass General campus, the Simches Research Center, and Charlestown Navy Yard are home to state-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge research technologies, and research groups that specialize in:
- Cancer biology
- Developmental biology
- Imaging sciences
- Regenerative medicine
- Stem cell biology
While many residents opt for research opportunities within the Department of Surgery, they also have the flexibility to explore any research group at Mass General that matches their interests. This, combined with comprehensive departmental support, positions Mass General as an exceptional training program for the next generation of academic surgical leaders.
The Mass General Next-Gen PSTP Program
The Mass General Next-Gen PSTP Program's mission is to equip residents with the skills they need to someday lead the advancement of medical science in infectious diseases and immunology, spanning from fundamental research to clinical investigation.
Applying for NIH and Foundation Funding
The City of Boston receives a significant amount of the annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding.
All residents are strongly encouraged to apply for NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowships as well as support from other agencies such as the American College of Surgeons, American Cancer Society, Society of University Surgeons, and the American Heart Association, during their third year of training. At Mass General, our surgical faculty actively assists residents in preparing their grant applications. Securing funding establishes a valuable track record, which plays a pivotal role in future award applications.
Many of the residents in Massachusetts General Hospital's Surgical Residency Program continue their education and training after graduation with additional fellowships and residencies.
View a list of recent alumni and their postgraduate positions »
For more information on alumni relations, visit the Mass General Surgical Society.
How to Apply
Appointments to the first year of general surgical training are administered under the National Resident Matching Program. The Mass General Surgery Residency Program is committed to increasing the diversity within the program. We encourage all individuals to apply, especially those who are underrepresented in medicine. We review all applications holistically, and standardized test scores are a nominal consideration in our selection process.
If you are a foreign medical graduate, visit the Foreign Medical Graduate page for additional information.
Application Requisites for all Candidates
As part of your application, please include:
- 500-word personal statement
- Medical student performance evaluation letter (formerly called a 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)
- A supplemental application, which is offered through the AAMC Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) as well as the MyERAS application. This additional information will help us learn more about your unique medical education journey (i.e., your work, volunteer and research experiences) and help us better identify applicants who fit our program's environment and mission
- Passing scores on USMLE Steps 1 and 2 by the match date
International Medical School Graduate Applications
The above application requisites apply to all international medical school graduate applications.
Additional information for international applicants includes:
- The date of graduation from medical school can be no more than two (2) years prior to the date of application to the residency program
- We do not require U.S. clinical experience to apply, although it is highly recommended and will enable your application to receive greater consideration
- We only sponsor J-1 visas for preliminary positions
- We only sponsor H1-B and J-1 visas for categorical positions
Deadlines and Interview Dates
Interviews are conducted via Zoom. All applications (including the supplemental ERAS application) must be submitted by October 1, 2023. Invitations to interview will be sent out October 23, 2023.
We will conduct Zoom interviews on the following dates with an informational reception the evening before:
- Friday, November 17, 2023
- Friday, December 8, 2023
- Friday, January 5, 2024
Invitations to interview for preliminary positions will be sent out in late January 2024, and interviews will be held in early February 2024.
We have a diverse committee of faculty and staff who manage program development.
- Thoracic Surgery
- Department of Surgery
- Pediatric Surgeon
- Associate Program Director, MGH Surgical Residency Program
- Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program
- Director of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Program, Division of Thoracic Surgery
- Assistant Team Physician for the New England Patriots
- Consultant for the Boston Bruins, and Boston Red Sox
- Director, Surgical Education, Pediatric Surgery
- Associate Program Director, MGH Surgical Residency Program
- Chief of General Surgery, Salem Hospital
- Surgical Director, Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center
- Chief of Surgery
- Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
- Department of Surgery
- Visiting Surgeon, Department of Surgery
- Director, General Surgery Residency Program
- Chief, General Surgery and Acute Care Surgery, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
- Associate Chair of Surgical Education, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
- Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program, MGH
- Acute Care and General Surgeon
- Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program
Diversity in the Department
Mass General Department of Surgery staff explain what diversity means to them and the important role it plays in their lives as clinicians, researchers, educators and students. At Mass General, we believe that because of diversity we excel; through inclusion we respect; focused on equity we serve, heal, educate and innovate.
I am MGH: Surgery
Watch this video to learn more about the Mass General Department of Surgery's commitment to diversity.
I am MGH: Discussing Diversity with Surgical Resident Asishana Osho
Mass General Department of Surgery resident Asishana Osho, MD, MPH, explains what diversity means to him and the important role it plays in his life.
I am MGH: Discussing Diversity with Surgical Resident Dana Schwartz, MD
Mass General Department of Surgery chief resident, Dana Schwartz, MD, explains what diversity means to her and the important role it plays in her life.
I am MGH: Discussing Diversity with surgical resident Numa Perez, MD
Mass General Department of Surgery resident, Numa Perez, MD, explains what diversity means to him and the important role it plays in his life.
I am MGH: Discussing Diversity with Surgical Resident Sahael Stapleton, MD
Mass General Department of Surgery resident Sahael Stapleton, MD, explains what diversity means to him and the important role it plays in his life.
Inside the Operating Room: An Academic Surgeon's Journey
In an event hosted by the Latino Surgical Society, Carlos Fernandez-Del Castillo, MD, gastrointestinal surgeon, shares his advice for those who wish to pursue a career in academic surgery.
Divisional Research Presentations
In a Surgical Grand Rounds, various groups in the Department of Surgery presented on research efforts and initiatives.