Click on the image to the left and read comments from our Department Chair, Dr. Phillip Burns, and the Medical Director for Erlanger Trauma Services, Dr. Donald Barker, in the feature article of the University of Tennessee Medicine Winter 2008 Magazine about Trauma Surgery at various UTHSC facilities.
This dynamic Surgery Residency Program is sponsored by the largest department at the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga. The program received Continued Accreditation in 2006 and was awarded the maximum cycle (five years until the next site visit). The Department of Surgery is led by R. Phillip Burns, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department, as well as President of two nationally renowned organizations: Southeastern Surgical Congress and the Southern Surgical Association. Dr. Burns is also an immediate past member of the national Surgery Residency Review Committee that accredits surgery training programs across the country. Dr. Burns has been Chair of the program for 32 years -- since the early affiliation between Erlanger Medical Center and the University of Tennessee in 1976.
The Surgery Residency Program Director is Joseph B. Cofer, MD, who recently completed a year as the President of the National Association of Program Directors in Surgery. Dr. Cofer is Fellowship trained in transplant surgery and founder of the first Liver Transplant Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is well-recognized leader for revising surgical curriculum across the country.
Michael Greer, MD, is the Surgery Clerkship Director for medical student education within the department.
The Surgery Residency Program in Chattanooga provides outstanding educational opportunities for general surgery and surgery subspecialty training. Our residency is a six-year program consisting of five years in clinical training and one year in clinical research. Residents are assigned to required research rotations in three four-month segments during the PGY-2, PGY-3, and PGY-4 levels of training. Sixty practicing physicians serve as members of the faculty, 31 of whom are full-time, hospital-based.
32 total positions are available in the Surgery Residency:
The Department of Surgery also sponsors the new Emergency Medicine Residency Program, as well as two accredited two fellowships:
Residents completing our program have a successful pass rate on the certification examination of the American Board of Surgery. Our graduates are truly "general surgeons" with a breadth of experience enabling them to successfully enter surgical practice or compete for nationally recognized fellowships. Our residents are prepared for any surgery career path.
Our rotations are primarily "under one roof" and there is daily exposure and involvement with the Department Chair, Residency Program Director, and other faculty. The majority of clinical training takes place within the main Erlanger campus, but we also provide a three-month rotation in rural general surgery for each PGY-3 level resident. The resident works one-on-one with three faculty members practicing in rural settings within Tennessee. These faculty are graduates of our program and offer residents private practice experience in both their offices and with hospital patients at rural hospitals in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, located within an hour from Chattanooga.
Training is quite comprehensive, encompassing all areas general surgery and related subspecialties. Because of its Level I Trauma Center designation, the hospital's helicopter transport service, the kidney transplant program, and reputation as the tertiary care center for the Southeast Tennessee Region, Erlanger's average hospital census is high. Each year approximately 18,000 operative procedures are performed. Surgery residents are involved in door-to-door care of approximately 90% of all patients admitted to the General Surgery, Thoracic, and Vascular Services. Surgery residents also manage otolaryngology and urology patients.
In keeping pace with new techniques and knowledge, our aggressive conference schedule and visiting professor program enrich the basic curriculum. Funding is provided to send Categorical Surgery residents to outside conferences such as the Spring and Fall Meeting of the American College of Surgeons, Southern Surgical Association, Southeastern Surgical Congress, and Southern Vascular Conference. Time to attend conferences is given in addition to vacation and holidays. The night call schedule for Surgery residents is usually every third night.
The Skills Lab is a tremendous asset to our program and is a facility in which residents can practice surgical skills in a more relaxed, less critical environment than an actual hospital operating room. This benefits junior residents by allowing them to develop technical skills outside their day-to-day clinical experience. The Skills Lab was renovated and moved to a new location near the Dean's Office in 2007. We are excited about this impressive facility and feel that it greatly adds to our educational opportunities.