Curriculum Overview

image of operation in general surgery The residency in general surgery at SIU is a comprehensive, five-year educational program that encompasses all of the major surgical disciplines.  Its goal is to prepare the graduate for the practice of general surgery, or fellowship training in one of the surgical subspecialties.  The program seeks to provide a strong foundation in the clinical discipline of surgery in the setting of educational excellence and scholarship.  The program has a nationally recognized heritage of outstanding achievement and leadership in these regards, under the founding guidance of Dr. Roland Folse.

The training program includes an emphasis on skills development with the assistance of an internationally recognized skills laboratory and curriculum.  Current residents develop core skills to predefined levels of proficiency in the laboratory setting, progressing thereafter in the use of those skills in direct patient care.  Residents perform a high volume of surgical procedures, including a broad spectrum of complex cases, under the tutelage of both full time academic and private practice faculty.   Excellent experience in trauma/critical care, transplant surgery, pediatric surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, head and neck surgery, colorectal surgery, oncologic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, surgical endoscopy and all other core general surgical disciplines is achieved over the course of the program.  Research is encouraged, and educational scholarship in particular is an area of significant academic strength.  Residents participate in Residents As TeacherS (RATS) programs as well as a number of novel evaluative experiences designed to optimize their development in all core competency areas.  Regular conference schedules include visiting professor programs with nationally prominent faculty, grand rounds, core topical conferences, a weekly morning report/attending rounds conference, and a text review conference.  Regular subspecialty and multidisciplinary conferences, as well as journal clubs, mock oral exam programs, and annual research days are also held.

In addition to these clinical and educational strengths, the residency program has earned a reputation for collegiality and support.   Faculty advisor/mentors are appointed for each resident, relationships between residents and faculty are highly valued, and the support environment amongst the residents themselves is frequently recognized as a strength by interviewees during recruitment season.   In all these endeavors and relationships, the consistent goal is to provide high quality education and patient care in a collegial, supportive, and educationally dynamic learning environment that can prepare the trainee for the task of lifelong learning, and for a variety of potential career goals.

The majority of training takes place on the main teaching campus, which is constituted by two teaching hospitals within a few blocks of each other:   Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital.  These hospitals serve as tertiary facilities for a broad geographic area in central and southern Illinois, and provide a very solid and self-contained forum for the development of patient care and surgical skills.  The hospitals are strongly supportive of the training program, and contribute greatly to the program’s educational quality both through the physical environment and through fiscal support as well.  
A regional burn center at Memorial Medical Center, a dedicated pediatric hospital as part of the St. John’s complex, and a Level I trauma program all serve as examples of the resources provided as a foundation for resident education. 

Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, a rural surgery rotation in Carbondale, IL has commenced for third and forth year residents. This new rotation provides a procedurally-rich opportunity for residents to gain experience in a broad practice of general surgery, working out of Memorial Hospital, Herrin Hospital, and St. Joseph's Hospital in the Carbondale area.

Additional residency training programs in most disciplines, including surgical subspecialties such as orthopedics, plastic surgery, urology, and otolaryngology, as well as fellowship level programs in colorectal surgery, attest to the educational foundation present.

SIU School of Medicine Announces New Rural Surgery Residency Rotation

Memorial Hospital CarbondaleThe Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine General Surgery Residency Program has partnered with Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) to send 3rd and 4th year general surgery residents to train alongside surgeons practicing in southern Illinois’ hospitals.

The initiative, which began July 1, 2014 allows trainees to be exposed to a more rural setting with a significant need for surgery services. Each participating resident will live in Carbondale, IL, and work a one- to two-month rotation under the guidance of selected area surgeons working at hospitals in the SIH network: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital.

“We are very excited to expand our residents’ experiences to include physician teachers from a more rural setting,” said Satyadeep Bhattacharya, MD, colorectal surgeon and newly appointed Southern Illinois Assistant Program Director for the residency program. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure our residents are exposed to all types of practices and as many surgical cases as possible before entering the work force. SIU has always been known for being on the leading edge of surgical education.” SIU already has its family medicine residents rotate in southern Illinois.

John Mellinger, MD, program director for the SIU General Surgery Residency Program agrees. “The opportunity to have our trainees spend this time in a rural setting, working with surgeons committed to the health needs of that population, is an important way of living out our mission to serve the health-care needs of the population of central and southern Illinois. Short of such experience, it will be difficult for surgeons in training to appreciate and be attracted to consider the merits of such a practice as they mature in their own career plans. We are very excited to partner with the SIH institutions and surgeons in this endeavor.” Dr. Mellinger is professor and chair of the SIU general surgery division.

Several area surgeons will be involved in the guidance and education of the residents. Click here to view the CVs