Over five years, residents progress through a rotation schedule carefully planned to provide operative experience with progressive responsibility in all areas of general surgery as well as endoscopy, critical care and trauma. Residents will gain experience in endocrine, oncologic, and vascular surgery along with opportunities in colorectal, thoracic, and pediatric surgical sub-specialties.
Every effort is made to maximize resident education, not service needs. Goals and objectives are provided at the onset of every rotation. The program director, assistant directors, and surgical teaching faculty regularly review each residents’ performance and the overall educational experience of the program. Exceptional training is the result, in a humane academic environment that maintains the safety, successful outcome, and compassionate care of the patient as its central focus. Graduating residents completing the residency perform around 1,100 cases, with nearly 300 of those during their fifth year as the chief surgical resident.
A well prepared didactic schedule consists of weekly core general surgery conferences that include morbidity and mortality discussions, advanced certifying examination simulation, grand rounds, journal/textbook review and others. Subsequent special didactic hours include regular chief resident quizzes, mock oral board practice sessions, and a surgical skills lab course at the beginning of each academic year. All of this occurs during a protected educational time apart from clinical responsibilities. Residents are exposed to the expertise of visiting professors as part of a well-established quarterly program that invites leaders in various areas of surgery to Grand Rapids. Journal clubs are designed to optimize the residents’ skills at critically evaluating the medical literature. Multidisciplinary breast care conferences, research conferences, multidisciplinary GI tumor board, and weekly ward teaching rounds with designated faculty at each hospital round out the academic experience for the resident.
Commitment to education in a stimulating training environment contributes to the very successful pass rate near 100 percent among graduating residents on both the qualifying and certifying examinations for the American Board of Surgery over the past two decades. In the past three years, all of our graduates have passed both the qualifying and certifying examination with 100 percent pass rate on the first attempt.
Residents are required to submit two scholarly/research projects over the course of their five year training. Excellent support is provided through an abundance of resources for these endeavors. There is a monthly Research Conference attended by residents and surgical teaching faculty. This forum provides residents with helpful didactics in surgical research and design as well as opportunities for collaborative feedback on their research ideas and projects. The research didactics program is enhanced by the contributions of Alan Davis, PhD, scholarly activity support team and is the author of the book chapter on surgical research design in a major surgical basic science text (O’Leary). Additional basic science research exposure is available at the Van Andel Research Institute, a world class facility adjacent to the downtown Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.
The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University General Surgery program provides residents a diverse surgical experience while rotating at the following institutions:
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital is a tertiary care facility with 679 beds and draws patients from a large region of over one million people. It provides a full continuum of elective and acute patient care for adults and pediatrics in all specialties. Services include a Level I Trauma Center with air transport (AeroMed).
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital represents more than four decades of steady progress in improving pediatric care and bringing pediatric specialists to the region. There are nearly 200 pediatric physicians in more than 50 pediatric specialties.
Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital has a long tradition of providing high-quality and compassionate, personalized medical care. Since 1846, Blodgett Hospital has earned a reputation for excellence as a community and teaching hospital. We provide patient-focused inpatient and outpatient services for medical, surgical and specialty care.
Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is an integrated network of health care excellence. Their commitment to offer the latest technology and skilled physicians in a holistic, patient-centered environment has made them a progressive leader in cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, diabetes and endocrine care, kidney transplants, and integrative health care. They blend these specialty services with primary care offered through Advantage Health Physicians.
Didactic for our program is highly structured, well-organized and thought out. Program director and administration is dedicated to offer a highly-individualized approach to resident education. Most didactics occur on Wednesday mornings which is protected from clinical duties. Some of the conferences that occur on Wednesday's include M&M, journal club, mock oral examinations, ABSITE-based lecture series given by residents and Grand Rounds.
Simulation and Skills Labs
We have a very structured simulation and skills lab curriculum. Most skills labs are scheduled in the fall of our academic year and the level of training varies between each postgraduate year group.
PGY-1: knot tying, suturing labs
PGY-2: basic laparoscopy labs
PGY-3: cadaver lab
PGY-4: advanced laparoscopic/robotic skills labs
PGY-5: business of medicine/finance course
All of these labs are mentored by at least one dedicated faculty. Resident performance during these labs are graded and recorded. We have many laparoscopic simulators that are available at the Spectrum Health Office of Medical Education and each hospital where our residents rotate. We have recently purchased an endoscopy simulation model for our program in addition to our endoscopy simulation model/program.
Advanced Certifying Examination Simulation (ACES) curriculum is held weekly during our dedicated Wednesday morning academic conferences. During this hour, two residents will undergo mock oral examination scenarios by two surgical faculty. Meaningful feedback is given at the conclusion of each simulation, including feedback on examination taking skills and content evaluation.
All applications are processed through the Electronic Resident Application Service. The deadline for applying to the program is October 1 of any calendar year. Minimum USMLE scores are Step 1=230 and Step 2=240, BOTH Step scores must be submitted with original application, in addition, three letters of recommendation are required.
The interview season lasts from November through January. We do not require prior experience to apply to the program. All applicants must possess U.S. work authorization or be eligible for J-1 status.
For more information on our program, contact Karie Hilley
, program coordinator.
All visiting medical student applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program (formerly known as VSAS). The Spectrum Health course catalog for rotation opportunities starting in July for the next academic year will be posted in March. Applications will be accepted starting April 1.
Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our residents, staff and their families. In addition, our program provides educational monies to support your ongoing education. Download our salary and benefits document
to learn more.