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General Surgery

Message from the Program Director:

On behalf of the entire faculty in the Department of Surgery at West Virginia University, I would like to welcome you to our General Surgery Residency Program home page.

General surgery training is one of the defining experiences in the life of any individual who completes the process. While there are common requirements that all residency programs must offer, a one-sized fits all approach to surgical training does not exist ( Surgery RRC common program requirements). The program at WVU is a 5-year clinical program where trainees are given an opportunity to develop themselves professionally in the framework of the following 3 pillars: clinical experience, educational commitment and research opportunity.

It is through excellence in each of these 3 pillars that trainees can expect to meet their long term career goals, whether it be in the pursuit of fellowship opportunities or in laying the foundation for success in a career as a practicing general surgeon. The entire Department of Surgery is focused on providing excellence in each of these 3 pillars. 

The majority of clinical opportunities take place at Ruby Memorial Hospital.  Ruby Memorial Hospital is a 635-bed tertiary care hospital that offers the full depth and breadth of general surgery and surgical specialty experience(s). Ruby is a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center and a Level 2 Pediatric Trauma center serving a population of 1.3 million people.  Limited numbers of surgical fellows allow residents within our program to gain unique experiences in advanced surgical procedures across the entire spectrum of general surgery including vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical oncology and trauma/ICU. Additional sites where clinical experiences are gained include the Louis A. Johnson VAMC in Clarksburg, West Virginia, as well as a 1-month rotation in solid organ transplantation at Baylor University, Dallas, Texas, during the PG3 year. By the completion of the 5 years of clinical training, graduates of our program routinely finish with over 1,000 major cases and excess numbers of cases within all of the defined categories.

Operating Room

In addition to clinical experience, the residency is committed to providing structured educational support for its residents in the form of protected weekly educational time. Wednesday morning is our protected education time for Morbidity & Mortality Conference, Grand Rounds, our Fresh Tissue Training Program, Skills Lab Curriculum (hot link to Skills lab curriculum) and other conferences. We are a testing center for FLS and FES certification and our curriculum provides for our residents to become FLS and FES certified by the end of the PGY 3 year, preparing them for the senior resident operative experienced.  We are a credentialed ASSET course site and our residents take the ASSET course here with us at the end of the PGY 3 year in anticipation of their time as Chief of the Trauma Service.  Our Robotic Curriculum is on par with the finest Surgical Oncology Fellowship.  A vast array of additional education resources are offered, including access to the SCORE curriculum, TrueLearn question bankSESAP resources, and the WV STEPS simulation center among others. This commitment has allowed our graduates to experience great success on the American Board of Surgery qualifying and certifying examinations.

We have great depth and breadth of experience .  Diversity is important to us.  Our residents come from diverse backgrounds.  More than one third of our residents are women.  Resident support is also important.  Our top two ABSITE scorers are rewarded with a trip to the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress each fall.  This year they will again compete in Surgical Jeopardy.  We also provide loupes, iPads and an educational stipend for each resident.

We are very excited about our Fresh Tissue Training Program.  At the beginning of the academic year, our trauma team works on many trauma procedures, including peripheral vascular injury, IVC injury, thoracotomy, and cardiac injury.  In the spring our general surgery teams work through foregut, thoracic and open general surgery including hepatectomy, femoral hernia and open common bile duct exploration.

Clinical research opportunities exist for residents of our program whether they choose to pursue them in the context of their ongoing clinical training or in the form of dedicated protected research time. Residents in our program have a proven record of accomplishment of presenting their research in a variety of forums including local, state, regional and national meetings. In addition, residents have also had success in publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals.  General Surgery Bibliography of Academics

Through the program's commitment to the above 3 pillars as well as the hard work and dedication of the residents, our graduates have achieving a successful general surgery practice or the fellowships of their choice. Our graduates have consistently proven themselves capable and ready to "hit the ground running."

I would like to personally thank you on behalf of the entire Department of Surgery for taking time to learn more about our residency program. Please feel free to contact us at 304-293-1254 with any questions.

Warmest Regards,

David Borgstrom, MD, MBA,  FACS 
Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program
West Virginia University

Program Information

The general surgery residency program at the WVU-SOM is a five (5) year clinical training program. There are five (5) categorical positions per year of training.  The program strives to achieve excellence in each of the three pillars outlined in the SOM mission statement including clinical service, education and research.

We also have three preliminary surgery intern positions available each year. This is excellent preparation for advanced program matches such as radiology, radiation oncology, ophthalmology and anesthesia, for example.

As the main tertiary referral center for the entire state and its busiest level one trauma center, Ruby Memorial Hospital provides trainees with unique opportunities to care for patients across the entire spectrum of surgical disease and socioeconomic background.

Graduates of the program have a proven track record of attaining the fellowship of their choice. Those who choose to eschew fellowship have gone on to attain success in practicing the full breadth and depth of general surgery.   The program takes particular pride in the fact that many of its graduates have stayed within West Virginia to serve its sons and daughters in a variety of its geographical locations, from as far south as Princeton, as far west as Parkersburg and as far east as Martinsburg.