The USC Department of Surgery has a long tradition of training excellent clinical surgeons. A hallmark of the program is the incredible diversity of the training experience. By spending significant time training at each of the major training sites, residents obtain a spectrum of experience that is unmatched. The culmination of the training experience occurs during the chief resident year, which is predominately spent at the Los Angeles County Hospital, where he or she will be responsible for running the various surgical services with attending supervision. The surgical pathology, severity of disease, and degree of autonomy afforded to the residents in this program is truly one of a kind. At the completion of 5 years of clinical training, the graduating resident will have the confidence to tackle any clinical situation and will have gained extensive experience as a clinical leader.
Another unique feature of the USC surgical residency program is its unwavering commitment to surgical education from the department leadership. The Department of Surgery earmarks over $1.5 million every year in support of the educational programs for residents. Dr. Vaughn Starnes, the department chair, has organized a robust organizational structure that integrates clinical experience with the latest skills lab, simulation, and didactic instruction. (USC Department of Surgery - Division of Education Organization Chart PDF file, 55KB) This investment in resident education is protected by ensuring that all residents are able to participate in the curriculum without distractions or non-essential clinical duties.
As a result of the robust clinical experience and didactic instruction accumulated during their training, graduates of the USC general surgery residency program have had great success on the American Board of Surgery examinations. Over the past 5 years, 94% of graduates have passed the written or qualifying exam on the first attempt (national average 86%) and 91% have passed the oral or certifying exam on the first attempt (national average 82%). In addition, graduates of the program have gone onto some of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs across the country.
Overall, there are few programs in the country that provide the breadth of training that is encountered within the USC general surgery program: 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-renown children’s hospital. The resident will graduate from the program with significant clinical experience and the confidence that only comes with the graduated resident autonomy for which the program is known.
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