Welcome to the Brigham Surgery Residency! We believe we have a world-class surgery training program, and we welcome you to explore our website.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), we combine top-notch clinical care with world-class research and cutting-edge education to provide a comprehensive surgical training program. Our residents rotate through a wide mix of hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is a tertiary care referral center, as well as two community hospitals (Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and South Shore Hospital), a VA hospital (the West Roxbury VA Hospital) and Boston Children’s Hospital. Through those rotations, our residents experience the wide range of general surgical diseases. Most of our residents complete a two year research experience during residency. Our residents have done research in every aspect of academic surgery, from basic science to health services to global surgery.
I am often asked: “What are you looking for in a surgery resident?” We are looking for future leaders in American and global surgery. Brigham and Women’s Hospital has a century-long history of producing surgical leaders. Not every BWH graduate will be a department chairperson, but we feel that every BWH surgery resident graduates with the skills to be a leader in surgery, whether at the local, regional, national, or global level.
The true strengths of our Surgery Residency are our residents and faculty. We have a uniquely gifted group of trainees and faculty, and their camaraderie makes for a fantastic surgical training environment. If this is what you are looking for in a surgery residency, we hope that you will apply. We look forward to meeting you in the future.
Our five-year ACGME accredited general surgery residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) provides surgical education of the highest caliber leading to American Board of Surgery Certification in general surgery within an environment designed to encourage clinical and basic scientific investigational experience.
Surgical training at BWH and our affiliated teaching hospitals provides a potential daily inpatient population approximating 1,300. These combined hospital facilities allow each surgical trainee to obtain a large operative experience early in the training program and to develop independent responsibility in the pre- and post-operative care of a variety of surgical patients. Most residents upon completion of their chief resident year have performed between 1,000 and 1,200 major operations.
Committed to teaching and mentoring the next generation of surgeons and leaders in medicine, our general and gastrointestinal surgical faculty is comprised of experienced clinicians who impart a breadth of knowledge and expertise during clinical rounds and in clinics. Residents also interact with the faculty of the other BWH surgery divisions. In addition basic and clinical research mentors provide many research opportunities for residents and fellows.
General Surgery Residency Leadership
Douglas S. Smink, MD, MPH
Jennifer Lynn Irani, MD
Associate Program Director
Matthew Nehs, MD, PhD
Associate Program Director
Stephanie Nitzschke, MD
Associate Program Director
Naomi Shimizu, MD
Associate Program Director
Department of Surgery Divisions
Brigham and Women's Hospital is the largest hospital of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston, Massachusetts. BWH is Harvard Medical School's second largest teaching affiliate. With Massachusetts General Hospital, it is one of the two founding members of Partners HealthCare, the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts. Brigham and Women's Hospital is an international leader in virtually every area of medicine and has been the site of pioneering breakthroughs that have improved lives around the world. The pediatric cardiac component of the program takes place at Boston Children's Hospital, which is located close by on the Harvard Medical School/Longwood Campus.
Nineteen residents are appointed annually to the first postgraduate year of the general surgery program. Nine are matched for the full five-year categorical program in general surgery. Eleven are matched for the one-year designated preliminary general surgery program. The designated preliminary positions are reserved for those who have matched with Harvard surgical residencies in interventional radiology and urology.
The PGY-1 year of the junior surgical residency consists of rotations through the general surgery services at BWH, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, South Shore Hospital, West Roxbury VA Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as the emergency department, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, and thoracic surgery.
For categorical general surgery residents continuing on into the PGY-2 year, there are rotations through the BWH general surgery services, cardiac surgery, surgical ICU's, burn/trauma, VA Boston Healthcare System facility in West Roxbury, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital and a community hospital rotation at South Shore Hospital.
Nine residents are appointed annually to each of the PGY-3, PGY-4 and PGY-5 (chief resident) years of the categorical general surgery program. The PGY-3 year includes rotations through BWH general surgery services, general surgery at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, the BWH emergency department, thoracic surgery and transplantation. The PGY-4 year provides a varied experience on the general surgical services at BWH, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, and South Shore Hospital. The PGY-5 year provides chief resident responsibility as required for ABS eligibility and consists of rotations through the general surgery services at BWH, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, and an apprenticeship rotation with a faculty mentor of his/her choice.
Many BWH surgical graduates enter subspecialty fellowships following completion of their general surgery training. Recent graduates have matched for fellowships in:
Wednesday Education Block 7A - 12P
Most residents complete two years of laboratory study or other academic career development in addition to the five clinical years of the program. Among the research or career development opportunities currently being pursued by our residents are basic science bench research in a variety of Harvard or outside labs, health services research through our Center for Surgery in Public Health, pursuit of an MPH MEd, or MBA degree from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Graduate School of Education, or Harvard Business School. We also have several residents involved in international projects in Rwanda.
The Department of Surgery also has several National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grants, which allow us to fund trainees who wish to pursue research in gastrointestinal surgery, surgical oncology, or trauma. Many residents have obtained their own funding through various research grant and scholarship programs. For additional information on BWH research and research funding please visit our Department of Surgery research page or the BWH Surgical Resident Research Page.
Mentoring is essential for the development of our surgical residents. At BWH, we have a resident mentoring program that starts soon after Match Day, where a new intern is linked with both a faculty mentor and a resident mentor. These relationships welcome a new intern to the program and help with the transition to surgical residency. We stress the importance of mentoring to our residents and faculty and encourage our residents to identify faculty mentors as they progress through the program.
The Global Surgery Residency Track is available to surgical residents at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Residents will apply in the Spring of their intern year. During the second and third years of residency, they will continue in standard surgical residency curriculum and rotations, with focused mentorship to prepare for their global surgery experience. The core of the track begins after the completion of the PGY-3 clinical year, and lasts two years. Residents divide their time between one year of fieldwork in a non-U.S. low-resource setting and one year of research course work leading to a Master’s degree in Public Health through the Harvard School of Public Health (or other relevant degree program). Residents are also encouraged to apply to the summer program in Global Health Effectiveness.
During both portions of the global surgery track, residents work full-time on innovative global health/surgery projects in the areas of surgical capacity assessment, cost-effectiveness research for innovative treatments and technologies, surgical epidemiology, global surgical education, and infrastructure building. Each resident is paired with a BWH surgeon as their primary mentor and is required to complete at least one research project of sufficient quality for publication. On-going mentorship for career planning and guidance continues once residents return to BWH for the clinical PGY-4 and 5 years.
Global Surgery residents are required to attend monthly CSPH Works-in-Progress (WIP) sessions and the Academic Global Surgery Forum (AGSF), as well as Program in Global Surgery and Social Change meetings. Attendance is also encouraged at research and didactic seminars such as weekly BWH Surgery Resident Research Conferences and BWH Grand Rounds, and other CSPH events as announced. Mid- and/or year-end progress reports or presentations are required.
The general surgery residency program matches with nine new residents each year for the five-year categorical program. Nine chief residents will graduate each year. The only non-categorical positions for which we match in the general surgery program are reserved for designated preliminary interns who have matched for a position with one of our surgical specialty programs for their PGY-2 year. Residency positions for the general surgery program at Brigham and Women's Hospital are matched via the National Resident Matching Program. The NRMP number for the categorical positions is 1265440C0 and for the preliminary positions it is 1265440P0.
We begin the recruitment season each September for residency positions to begin the following mid-June. All resident applicants must register with the NRMP in addition to requesting an application from the AAMC ERAS electronic residency application system. Programs participating in ERAS may only accept those application materials sent electronically through ERAS. We will not accept any additional supporting documents by mail.
We require the following documents to be available for download through ERAS for a complete application to be reviewed:
We do not require a chairman’s letter and do not review any applications until they are complete. Our deadline for receipt of your general surgery residency application and all supporting documents is October 1.
Each application is reviewed in its entirety with an eye toward a combination of overall academic excellence, leadership ability, career development potential and personal character.
We interview approximately 75 candidates for the general surgery program each year. Although we receive applications from hundreds of well-qualified candidates, it is not possible to interview all who apply. All invitations are sent through email via ERAS, after the October 1 deadline. We contact all candidates with an invitation or decline.
The next General Surgery Residency Program interview dates will be held on:
The interview process will begin with an informal resident-applicant welcome reception the evening prior and then the traditional interview day beginning the next morning. You'll start with a continental breakfast at check in, followed by an hour-long group orientation session with Dr. Douglas Smink, the program director and Dr. Keith Ozaki, the resident research director.
Following the orientation session, each candidate will be interviewed by four key faculty members in one-on-one meetings. General surgery residents will be on hand throughout the morning to visit informally with the candidates between interviews and to conduct hospital tours. The interview session concludes with a buffet luncheon attended by all candidates, faculty and general surgery residents.
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