UCLA Surgical Education
UCLA Surgical Education

Prospective Residents


UCLA Surgical Education
The UCLA Department of Surgery is dedicated to training the surgical leaders of the future. We target the top 10% of academically-minded applicants and bring our residents through a structured educational program that maximizes their opportunities for post-residency training and all career models in surgery.

Program Highlights | Protected Time For Learning | Innovative Teaching Techniques | State-of-the-art Facilities | Breadth of Clinical Experience | Operative Experience | Fellowships and Careers | Program-at-a-Glance

Chairman's Message:

Ronald Busuttil Ronald W. Busuttil, MD PhD
Professor and Executive Chairman, Department of Surgery

"The UCLA Department of Surgery considers excellence in surgical education to be a central component of our mission. We are dedicated to fostering the advancement of our residents in clinical and creative realms, providing them with the necessary tools to lead the next generation of surgeons."
-Ronald W. Busuttil

Program Highlights:

Leadership dedicated to the educational mission

  • Ronald W. Busuttil, MD, PhD was appointed chair of the department of surgery in 2004. A recognized world leader in liver transplantation, Dr. Busuttil has made education a cornerstone of his agenda and has inspired a renewed vigor in the teaching and mentoring of residents, students, and young faculty within the department.
  • In July 2013, Areti Tillou, MD was named  Vice Chair for Education, taking over for Dr. Jonathan Hiatt. Dr. Tillou is Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and has been the Associate Director of the General Surgery Residency Training Program and the Director of the Core Surgical Training Program since 2005.  A talented acute care surgeon, Dr. Tillou is an extremely active educator and is involved in all aspects of the surgical education program.
  • O. Joe Hines , MD has served as the Residency Director since 2005. Dr. Hines engineered the reorganization of the surgical services for the 2006-7 academic year, with the principal purpose of optimizing the educational experience of the residents. He meets with individual residents on a regular basis to ensure their continued development into capable, independent surgeons.
  • Timothy Donahu, MD was named the Associate Director of the General Surgery Residency Training Program in July 2013.  Dr. Donahue is  Assistant Professor of Surgery and a core member of the UCLA Center for Pancreatic Diseases, with a dual appointment in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. Dr. Donahue brings great expertise as an excellent clinician, committed educator, and productive scientist.  He is an outstanding role model and an example for our trainees to emulate in their own surgical careers.
  • A significant grant from industry was received in 2005. This grant has been used to fund educational innovation in the Department, including curricular development and design, educational research, and faculty development.

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Joe Hines

O. Joe Hines, MD
Program Director, General Surgery and Chief, Division of General Surgery

"We aspire to recruit the highest caliber trainees and are personally committed to developing each one of them to their maximum potential."
-Joe Hines

Innovative Teaching Techniques



Protected Time For Learning:

Protected time for learning

  • Each Wednesday morning from 7-10 AM , all residents are relieved of clinical responsibilities to attend departmental teaching conferences.

    The first hour consists of a topic presentation by a faculty member. Morbidity and mortality conference occupies the second hour. Residents break up into small groups for level-appropriate teaching modules in the third hour.
  • The visiting professor lecture series brings established experts from North America and overseas to infuse our department with new knowledge and ideas.

    Upper level residents are invited to dine with the visiting professor during his/her visit and to partake in a small group clinical teaching session.

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Innovative Teaching Techniques:

The Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (CASIT) is a UCLA-designated research facility. It includes a patient simulator, integrated operating room suite, laparoscopic training laboratory, and robotic surgery system.

The second and third year resident curriculum involves biweekly training sessions in CASIT, which focus on:

  • Principles and application of minimally invasive surgical technology
  • Development of proficiency in laparoscopic and robotic surgery
  • Team training with the department of anesthesia, using patient simulators to re-create OR emergencies

Learn more about CASIT >>

State-of-the-art Facilities:

The Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the Westwood campus, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, began in 1999. Replete with the very latest medical technology and an entire level dedicated to invasive procedures, this $1.3 billion complex houses the operating room of the future.

Learn more about the new hospital >>

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Breadth of Clinical Experience:

In addition to the flagship Westwood hospital, residents rotate through the Santa-Monica UCLA Hospital, Olive-View Medical Center, the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, Kaiser Foundation Hospital (Panorama City), and the USC burns unit. The diversity of these settings and patient populations gives our residents a well-rounded clinical and technical experience.

Read more about rotation sites >>
View current rotation schedules >>

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Operative Experience:

Our residents graduate with an average of 1100 major cases during their training. The volume, breadth, complexity of the operative load is well in excess of the requirements established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

In addition to common general surgical procedures, the typical resident can expect to complete major pancreatic resections, advanced hepatobiliary procedures including liver resections and multiorgan donor harvests, oncologic procedures for sarcoma and melanoma, open and endovascular operations, operations for blunt and penetrating trauma, thoracic procedures, and the breadth of endocrine procedures.

The pediatric experience is unusually rich, as there is no pediatric surgical fellowship at UCLA.

Learn more about our subspecialty services >>

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Fellowships and Careers:

90% of recent graduating residents have gone on to subspecialty training, with more than half entering academic careers. The great majority of chief residents receive their first choice among fellowship programs. The interests of our graduates have encompassed the entire range of general surgery subspecialties.

View post-residency employment info >>

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UCLA Categorical General Surgery Program

Length of program: 7 years (5 clinical, 2 research)

Number of positions available: 7 per year

Eligibility: USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step 2 CK (Step 2 must be completed prior to starting internship); graduation from an accredited US or Canadian Medical School, or valid ECFMG certificate plus eligibility letter from the California Medical Board.

Applications: are made through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We require registration with the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), curriculum vitae, USMLE Step 1 score, 3 reference letters, and dean’s letter.

Application deadline: Mid-November

Match date: Mid-March

2013-2014 Application Cycle Interview Dates:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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• View Program Overview Page


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