General Residency Program Overview

The combination of Westchester Medical Center and our integrated program at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT, ensures a well-balanced surgical residency program with extensive exposure to elective and emergency surgery, clinical and laboratory research, and the specialty fields of cardiac surgery, peripheral vascular surgery, renal and liver transplantation, trauma and surgical critical care and surgical oncology. St. Vincent’s Medical Center is a 473-bed community hospital serving a large urban area in Southwestern Connecticut. It is a recognized regional leader in specialty services including: Level II Trauma Center, cardiology and cardiac surgery, oncology, diagnostic imaging and neurosurgery.

The Department of Surgery of Westchester Medical Center has grown rapidly over the last 20 years with additions to the faculty in all major surgical disciplines. Faculty growth has been complemented by the expansion of clinical and experimental research activities in many areas. The academic aspects of the surgical residency program are supported through faculty supervised conferences regularly scheduled at protected times to ensure resident participation. The residents actively participate in the instruction of medical students, increasing the knowledge base of both students and residents. The Medical Center is visited annually by outstanding authorities in medical sciences appropriate to the surgical education of residents.

The goal of the surgical residency program is to produce surgeons with outstanding diagnostic and judgment abilities, technical skills, a font of medical and surgical knowledge, and a compassionate, sensitive, humanitarian approach to patient care. Upon completing the surgical residency, the departing surgeons are well prepared to initiate a surgical practice, enter fellowship training or to pursue careers in academic surgery.

Residency Training Program

Training

A surgeon can be characterized as an individual who possesses a compulsive nature, outstanding deductive reasoning abilities, a strong desire to solve problems and the technical skills under elective or emergency circumstances. The desire to be in the center of the arena, to be a team leader, to be highly motivated, is the prospective surgical resident that Westchester Medical Center strives to recruit. The surgical residency is approved for 28 positions representing the five-year training program. There are four categorical residents in each year.

The applicants are invited to the interview process if they possess a superior medical school record, positive recommendations and a multidimensional, well-rounded background. The interview is a mutually beneficial analytic process to discover the attributes of the candidate and the program.

The program is designed to foster the development of the young physician into the complete general surgeon. The nucleus of the faculty of the surgical education program is the attending physicians who are additionally qualified in surgical critical care. There is consequently a detailed emphasis on basic science and the physiologic basis of surgery, providing the resident with a solid foundation of knowledge.

Categorical residents rotate for a total of four years at Westchester Medical Center. During this five-year training program they also rotate to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT for four months in the first and second year, for six months in the third year and for three months in the fourth year.

The trainees receive extensive experience in general surgery, cardiothoracic and general thoracic surgery, pediatric surgery, peripheral vascular surgery, plastic and reconstructive and burn surgery, trauma and surgical critical care, surgical oncology, colo-rectal surgery and minimally invasive laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery. Because of a strong relationship with the Interventional Radiology Section of the Department of Radiology, residents receive training in image guided surgery as well.

Crucial to the understanding of the program is the de-emphasis of fellowship programs. There are no residency review committee approved fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery, peripheral vascular surgery, plastic surgery, general thoracic surgery, endocrine surgery, oncologic surgery or head and neck surgery. The general surgery residents are guided through performance of all components of the surgery under the direct supervision of highly qualified attending surgeons in all the above listed specialty areas. During the rotation to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, residents are involved in the care of general surgery patients, as well as urology, orthopedic and gynecology patients. Residents rotate through all the subspecialty services of the Department of Surgery. An extensive array of rotations is available to trainees, including pediatric surgery, critical care, emergency medicine, burn unit, transplantation, shock trauma, cardiac and thoracic surgery and microreplantation/plastic surgery.

Westchester Medical Center is widely recognized for its’ physiologic approach to the surgical patient. The surgical resident will realize early in training the importance of managing the hemodynamic, pulmonary, renal, hepatic and metabolic derangements of the surgical patient. In that regard, the surgical intensive care units are directed and managed by the Department’s Section of Trauma and Critical Care.