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General Surgery Residency

Chair of Surgical Science's Message

Welcome to the General Surgery Residency Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  As the safety net hospital for all of Middle Tennessee, our mission is to provide our patients with the highest quality of care in a compassionate setting.  We do that by sharing knowledge with our colleagues, residents, students, patients and community, by advancing the understanding of disease through research and scholarship, and by working in an environment of collegiality, professionalism, integrity and respect.

Reflecting this vision, Vanderbilt and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital have again been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals and America's Best Medical Schools. In fact, Children's Hospital achieved national rankings in 9 of 10 pediatric specialty programs:  Urology moved up four spots to rank 4th; Neonatology- 16th ; Pulmonology moved up two spots to 19th;; Cardiology and Heart Surgery –23rd ; Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology –29th ; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, improved  from 33rd to 32nd; Orthopaedics –34th ; Cancer—36th ; and  Neurology and Neurosurgery—43rd . Our adult cardiac surgical outcomes are ranked third best in the country according to recent University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) data.

To meet the needs of our growing patient base, Vanderbilt continues to expand, with a new Critical Care Tower that added 12 new multi-functional ORs to the previous 19, as well as a 33-bed expansion at Children's Hospital.

Our General Surgery residency program is arguably one of the premier training programs in the country. As the nation's first accredited International General Surgery program, we now offer broad-based rotations in Africa with experiences in General Surgery, Pediatric, Plastic, and Urologic Surgery.

 Under the leadership of the program director, Dr. John Tarpley, and associate program director Dr. Kyla Terhune, we graduate eight chief residents per year. We operate in 49 OR suites in VUH, 16 in Children's and 15 Ambulatory ORs.  With an incredibly talented surgical faculty among eight departments and 11 divisions, residents have access to more than 55,000 operative cases, including over 25,000 ambulatory surgical cases, each year at Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt (MCJCHV).

This experience is also supplemented by the significant surgical volume at the Nashville Veteran's Affairs (VA) Hospital, also located on the Vanderbilt campus. All of this experience is available in close proximity within the three block geographical area. In addition, our General Surgery residents have the opportunity for significant community surgical experience. As a result, residents typically complete the program exceeding the index case numbers required for board certification in every major category.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center provides a wide array of unique surgical services. We provide for the entire southeastern United States, including trauma and burn care; pediatric surgical services; heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation; functional neurosurgery and neurosurgical endovascular intervention, and hybrid cardiac surgery/interventional cardiology procedures, just to name a few.

Residents have significant input into the residency program and its management, and several serve as voting members on the departmental Graduate Education Committee. Residents receive vital feedback in the form of evaluations for each clinical rotation, as well as semi-annual written evaluations with direct communication by the program directors. To ensure the program meets its objectives, residents have an opportunity to provide written feedback on each rotation, on their faculty, and on the various rotations through an anonymous web-based portal.

Research is an integral part of our training. Each year, the Section of Surgical Sciences is awarded more than $18 million in extramural research funding, most of which comes from the National Institutes of Health. Residents and faculty have ample opportunities to explore their research interest in programs extending from fundamental basic science to clinical trials and clinical outcomes research. The research we do will improve healthcare for more patients than any individual surgeon could encounter in a lifetime of practice.

We are immensely grateful for the generous philanthropic support of our patients and families, alumni, and other friends. This support enables us to provide our residents, faculty, and research programs the resources necessary to extend the frontiers of medical knowledge and thereby improve patient care..

R. Daniel Beauchamp, MD
John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery
Chair, Section of Surgical Sciences
Surgeon-in-Chief, Vanderbilt University Hospital

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