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The mission of the Massachusetts General Hospital General Surgical Residency Training Program is to recruit the finest possible candidates and to train them to become the next generation of leaders in academic surgery. We provide our residents 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 surgeries are essential elements in the training of outstanding surgeons. Thus, the vast majority of our surgical training occurs at Mass General, consistently ranked among the top hospitals 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.
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 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 select a research mentor within the Department of Surgery at Mass General, which is the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, 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.
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.
As the Program Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Mass General, I am often asked the question by intern applicants during interview season: “What specific changes have you made as Program Director to the program in response to resident feedback to enhance the quality of surgical training of your residents?” The answer is simple – in response to resident pleas for more autonomy in the operating room, we deliberately set out to create a service which provides structured operative autonomy while at the same time preserves our commitment to excellent patient outcomes. This was not an easy lift. In academic surgery, we are by no means immune from societal and institutional pressures to operate faster, discharge sooner and achieve the best patient outcomes with top-box satisfaction scores, while at the same time being charged with the responsibility to train the next generation of surgeon-leaders.
Dr. Brandon Wojcik, one of the first trainees to rotate on this novel service, recently published our experience with this service in its pilot year in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. This publication garnered quite a bit of praise from surgical educators around the country, including a laudatory commentary by Dr. Dan Dent, the General Surgery Residency Program Director at the University of Texas, San Antonio and the immediate past-president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS). Our surgical residents truly make this service what it is, and we as faculty at Mass General, are humbled and honored each day to train some of the best and brightest young surgeons in the world.
John T. Mullen, MD Program Director, General Surgery Residency Massachusetts General Hospital
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.
Current resident rotations
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 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. During the 2016-17 academic year, we will introduce a new robotic skills simulation curriculum.
View our simulation curriculum map
Watch this video and see how we are teaching resident skills
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.
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.
Learn more about this program
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:
Dan Hashitmoto, MD, surgical resident and Surgical Education and Simulation Research Fellow, presented at the World Medical Innovation Forum on April 23, 2018. Watch his presentation.
Surgeon-in-Chief Department of Surgery
Program Director, Surgical Residency ProgramDivision of Surgical Oncology
Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program Pediatric Surgery
Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program Division of Thoracic Surgery
Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency ProgramTrauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery
Associate Program Director, Surgical Residency Program Division of General and Gastrointestinal SurgeryDirector of Surgical Simulation
Massachusetts General Hospital recruits top candidates from around the world into our surgical residency program.
Residents in the Ether Dome.
Residents enjoy a resident vs. faculty softball game.
Massachusetts General Hospital 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.
View frequently asked questions about our program
Learn more about the individuals in our program
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; among them:
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. In 2011, the Department of Surgery hosted the 21st annual meeting of The Society of Black Academic Surgeons, drawing more than 200 individuals to panels led by expert surgeons.
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. Our Multicultural Affairs Office has a list of resources to help you find housing and furniture, and networks to connect to.
Residents are provided with two, seven-day blocks of vacation during the first year of residency and four weeks per year in the subsequent four years. Residents in years two through five, can take 2 two-week vacation blocks or an entire month. The program strives to accommodate the vacation requests of each resident.
Hospitalization and medical insurance is available through the hospital, as are disability insurance and malpractice insurance.
Subsidized parking is available to house officers in the hospital's parking garages.
PGY Salary (2018-2019)
In the Surgical Residency Program at Mass General, the Basic Science Resident Group supports the residents who will become the next generation of surgical scientists. Tasked with investigating the biological structure and function of surgical diseases, the Basic Science Resident Group fosters a tightly-knit community of trainees and faculty who are passionate about the biological sciences.
The group is led by Resident Director Richard Guyer, MD, PhD, and Faculty Director Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, both of whom provide group members ample opportunities for growth and mentorship. The group hosts regular meetings on the Mass General campus that provide trainees opportunities to present their work and receive constructive feedback in a collegial and supportive environment. These meetings also aim to connect trainees with mentors and inspire new collaborations.
Research Opportunities for Residents
The Mass General Surgical Residency Program offers many opportunities for developing surgeon-scientists. Mass General houses the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research expenditures of more than $900 million. Research facilities at the main Mass General campus, the Simches Research Center and Charlestown Navy Yard, house state-of-the-art equipment as well as the most cutting-edge research technologies and groups in areas including:
The neighborhoods around the hospital are a hub of biomedical and technological innovation. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Boston receives a significant amount of the annual NIH grant funding. Additionally, the city is home to nearly 100 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. Although residents often pursue opportunities in laboratories within the Department of Surgery, they are free to explore any group within the hospital that matches their interests. Coupled with full departmental support, access to these amazing possibilities makes Mass General an ideal training program for future leaders of academic surgery.
Applying for NIH and Foundation Funding
The Department of Surgery will support residents who pursue basic science efforts and additionally, all residents are strongly encouraged to apply for NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowships during their third year of training. Applications for support from other agencies – including the American College of Surgeons, American Cancer Society, Society of University Surgeons, and the American Heart Association – are also encouraged. Writing these grant applications is a valuable intellectual exercise, and successfully obtaining funding establishes a track record that is critically important when applying for future awards such as the NIH’s Research Project Grant Program and Career Development Awards.
Current Residents with Basic Science Interests
Current residents who are pursuing interests in biological research include:
Many of the program’s alumni have gone on to launch basic science laboratories in their careers. This success is a direct result of the research opportunities that were made available to these once-residents. Alumni with active basic science research programs include:
To learn more about the Basic Science Resident Group in Mass General’s Surgical Residency Program, please contact Dr. Boland at 617-724-9913.
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.
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.
Additional application requirements and information (if applicable):
If you are a foreign medical graduate, visit the Foreign Medical Graduate page for additional information.
All candidates for positions in the categorical five-year program are required to be present at an interview given at the hospital each year. 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 categorical interview process. Selected applicants for preliminary positions will be contacted in January and will interview in early February, 2019. We begin accepting applications through ERAS on September 15 of each year.
Surgical Residency Program
Barbara Wolf, Program Manager
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