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General Surgery Training Program

Each year, eight individuals are chosen for the General Surgery Training Program. Six of these individuals are selected for General Surgery training and two for integrated Plastic Surgery training. Each of these eight residents spends the first two postgraduate years in the Preliminary Surgery Program.

The six individuals in the General Surgery track are provided with one, two or three years of research experience, depending on their career goals. Upon completion of the Chief Resident (PGY-5) year training these individuals are eligible to take the American Board of Surgery examinations, as well as apply for any number of advanced clinical training in subspecialties including cardiothoracic surgery, endocrine surgery, hepatobiliary surgery, minimally-invasive surgery, pediatric surgery, plastics and reconstructive surgery, surgical critical care, surgical oncology, thoracic oncology, transplant surgery, trauma surgery and vascular surgery.

The Plastic Surgery track includes one year of research, as well as the clinical PGY-3 and PGY-4 years in general surgery, with a special emphasis on plastic surgery during those years, prior to beginning the Plastic Surgery Training Program.

Clinical Postgraduate Years 3-5

During the third clinical year, residents in the General Surgery track receive further training in general, oncologic, transplant, and pediatric surgery, as well as in surgical critical care. During the fourth clinical year, residents in the General Surgery track receive further training in general, trauma, and vascular surgery and, in the future, four to six week rotations will include humanitarian-oriented rotations in under-developed/under-served countries around the world. Residents in the Plastic Surgery track receive six months of general and six months of plastic surgery during both the third and fourth clinical years. During their fifth clinical year, General Surgery residents rotate for nine months at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and for two months at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Rotations include additional training in trauma surgery, complex hepato-pancreatico-biliary surgery, surgical oncology, and complex laparoscopic surgery.

Operative Experience 

In recent years, our General Surgery residents have performed approximately 1,000 operations at the end of five clinical years. This experience is outstanding in the complexity of surgery performed, especially in hepatic, biliary, pancreatic and vascular surgery. Moreover, operative experience in endoscopy, trauma and surgical critical care is exceptional.


The teaching of residents and students within the Department of Surgery is of highest priority. Teaching consists of extensive interaction with faculty, staff, senior and chief residents on the floors and in the operating room. In addition, a number of conferences, case discussions, and didactic lectures designed to supplement the clinical experience are held throughout the week. Each service has its own teaching rounds that focus on discussion of interesting cases, as well as review of morbidity and mortality. There are weekly Surgical Grand Rounds featuring lectures from Hopkins faculty and invited leaders in surgery from throughout the world.

In addition, a multitude of small group conferences led by the senior departmental staff are held each week for residents at all levels. There is a weekly curriculum for interns as well as those in the PGY2-5 clinical years. These sessions are led by a faculty member and can include problem based learning, case discussion, or more formal didactic sessions. Weekly reading assignments and quizzes are expected for directed self-learning. Clinical training is supplemented by small group (2-3 residents per chief resident/faculty) hands-on sessions in the minimally invasive training center. These sessions are held weekly and each resident attends at least once permonth The importance of teaching is emphasized by the annual presentation of awards to the resident and faculty member selected by the housestaff and students as the outstanding teachers. A number of additional awards are given to the residents each year.


A one- to three-year research experience is provided for all residents in the General Surgery and Plastic Surgery tracks. Many residents choose to perform research in one of any number of laboratories within the Department of Surgery. However, research opportunities can be provided within the Basic Science departments at Johns Hopkins or at other institutions throughout the United States and the world. The Department of Surgery also affords the opportunity for one person each year to train under a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant for gastrointestinal surgical research. Additionally, research conferences led by faculty are provided on a bi-weekly basis.

Advanced degrees, including a Ph.D., can be obtained for those interested. The research is designed to provide a solid experience in the scientific method and the performance of basic research. Emphasis is placed on the advancement of the individual's research expertise and the foundation of basic investigative principles. The research year culminates with the presentation of the George D. Zuidema Research Award for the outstanding investigative research performed by a Halsted resident.

Additionally, residents may perform clinical research while obtaining a Masters in Public Health or Ph.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Hygeine. This training is designed to provide a solid experience in the clinical trial design, outcomes research or public policy. The research year culminates with the presentation of the Gershon Efron Research Award for the outstanding investigative clinical research performed by a Halsted resident.

On-Call Schedule

Postgraduate year 3, 4 and 5 residents divide their, responsibilities, covering their respective services from home or on an every third- to fifth-night schedule covering the trauma and general surgery call in the hospital.


All residents are appointed fellows of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and can take advantage of graduate student discounts on social activities and performing arts programs, both on and off campus. Additional benefits include medical and dental care, disability and life insurance, liability insurance, lab coats and four weeks paid vacation. The stipend is competitive with other housestaff salaries in the region. Residents are also afforded an annual book fund and provding with surgical loupe telescopes.

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