General Surgery Residency

Program Director Message

To the 2016-2017 General Surgery Match CandidatesKyla Terhune, Program Director

August 2015

Thank you for visiting the Vanderbilt General Surgery website.

We welcome your interest and inquiries. Currently, there are greater than 200 ACGME-approved programs for residency education in General Surgery. We are one of many excellent programs.

Vanderbilt General Surgery is approved by the Surgical Residency Review Committee (S-RRC) to finish eight chief residents annually. Most but not all chiefs pursue fellowship training.   On entering, most residents at Vanderbilt profess an interest in pursuing a career in "academic surgery" in one of its many iterations-- basic science, translational research, outcomes, clinical effectiveness research, health policy, education, or even global surgery.

Vanderbilt has the tradition and reputation of training residents who can operate—with confidence and competence. Our recently graduated chiefs averaged 1000 cases and exceeded operative requirements in all important categories.

Research is encouraged.  Most—but not all—of our residents spend two years in research.  A funded PhD option is available. Twelve of our current 52 categorical residents are in research years. These residents are encouraged and supported to attend local, regional and national meetings and give presentations. On applying, please understand that research years are encouraged but not always guaranteed.

Vanderbilt is a superb university located on a beautiful campus comprising the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools as well as the Medical Center. The Medical Center boasts a state-of-the-art facility, a Children's Hospital, and a VA connected by a walkway. Rotations at St. Thomas Hospital are within three miles. The S-RRC approved our elective in global surgery--Vanderbilt International Surgery (VIS).  The 4-week rotation at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, ninety minutes northwest of Nairobi, is directed by pediatric surgeon Dr. Erik Hansen, the Site Director for our VIS program in Kijabe.

Vanderbilt and the VA are on the cutting edge of informatics and the electronic medical record. Eskind Biomedical Library has an electronic collection second to none.

Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, Tennessee, a fantastic place to live!

Our strength is our people. A collegial atmosphere exists between the attending surgeons, the departmental leadership, and the residents. We work hard. We support and help one another.

If Vanderbilt sounds appealing to you, forward your application to us. Every applicant folder is carefully screened using a 55-point screening system involving letters, transcript, activities, research, USMLE scores, and awards. We generally receive applications from ~ 800 graduates of US medical schools and an equal number of international graduates. We interview ~ 80 candidates; we match 8. We take your time and interest seriously.

  • We have 4 interview days scheduled for the Match season: December 15 & 18, 2015 and January 15 & 26, 2016. Each candidate is interviewed by two faculty members and a senior/chief resident and has a short chat with a chair and a program director. Interview day includes a program presentation, a brief tour, and a luncheon that concludes by 2:30pm; therefore candidates are free to depart mid-afternoon.
  • We have an informal get-together from 6pm to 8pm on the evening prior to the actual interview day, hosted off campus. Families and significant others are welcome.
  • For the interview dates of December 18 & January 15, Grand Rounds are held on Friday mornings at 7am. All candidates are invited to attend.
  • One of our goals is for you to have free and ready access to our residents. We think they are "satisfied customers" and our best advertisement.

Our phone number is (615) 343-6642
Feel free to contact any of us in the Surgical Education Office.

For the Surgical Education Team,
Kyla P. Terhune, M.D., F.A.C.S.


Interim Residency Coordinator: Courtney M. Smith

Department Education Specialist: Margaret Genendlis

Education Officer: Maggie Tarpley

Clerkship Director: Steven Eskind, MD

Site Director for VA Medical Center and Program Director "Emeritus"  John L. Tarpley, MD

Site Director for Saint Thomas Hospital: R.S. Martin III, MD

Site Director for Kijabe, Kenya: Erik Hansen, MD, MPH

Associate Program Director: Timothy Nunez, MD

Associate Program Director: Kamran Idrees, MD

Program Director: Kyla P. Terhune, MD

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