General Surgery Residency

General Surgery Residency Header The general surgery residency at Spectrum Health, in partnership with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, is a five-year program carefully planned to provide early operative experience with progressive responsibility in all areas of general surgery including endoscopy, critical care and trauma. We offer an outstanding experience in endocrine, oncologic and vascular surgery. In addition, residents have exceptional opportunities in the colorectal, thoracic, and pediatric surgical sub-specialties.

We make every effort 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 resident’s performance and the overall educational experience of the program. Exceptional training is the result, in a humane academic environment that maintains the safety, successful outcomes, and compassionate care of the patient as its central focus. Graduating residents completing the residency perform around 1,100 cases. Nearly 300 of those cases are performed during their fifth year as the chief surgical resident.

From the Program Director

When you join the general surgery residency program at Spectrum Health, in partnership with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, you will be joining a group of stellar surgeons-in-training who have identified excellence, teamwork, kindness and compassion as core values they strive to achieve. The program recognizes that cultivating these values is our mandate.

The general surgery residency program has a long and rich history of training outstanding surgeons. This website will tell you detailed information about our ACGME- accredited training program and the interview process.

All our dedicated faculty are committed to the successful development of each resident intellectually, professionally and personally.  You will be afforded early operative and leadership experiences.  Our academic curriculum will provide you with the tools to excel in any career path after graduation.  Approximately 60% of our graduates go on to the most prestigious fellowships in the country.  Thirty-five to forty percent of our graduates go on to practice general surgery, whether it be in academic training institutions or in group/private practice.  The remaining five percent of our residents will choose to practice general surgery in underserved community, often in mission-based practice, in and out of United States.

We take seven categorical residents per year through the National Resident Matching Program.  One resident, if desired, will have an opportunity to participate in a research year (or two), upon successful completion of their PGY-2 year. Upon successful completion of your PGY-3 year, you can choose to pursue a surgical critical care fellowship offered at our institution.  During many rotations you will be given the opportunity to serve as “fellow.” This includes surgical oncology, acute care surgery, thoracic surgery, colorectal surgery, pediatric surgery and minimally-invasive surgery.

Our program stands out as the best hybrid program in the country, combining academic and community training. I hope you strongly consider us as you prepare for the upcoming interview season. Contact us if you have any questions, thank you for learning about our program!

Mathew H Chung, MD, FACS
General Surgery Residency Program Director

Karie Hilley
General Surgery Residency Program Coordinator

Courtney Bradley
General Surgery Residency Program Coordinator

Read our program aims.

Diverse Exposure: Residents experience a breadth of surgical experience while rotating at the following four institutions located within a five-mile radius.
  • Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital is a tertiary care facility and Level 1 Trauma Center 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. Due to the high volume and complicated cases encountered on the trauma service, residents learn how to care for complex patients and utilize innovative techniques including, but not limited to, resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) and rib fixation surgery.
  • Spectrum Health 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 more than 300 pediatric physicians in more than 50 pediatric services and programs.
  • 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 Hospital 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.

Educational Excellence: Commitment to education in a stimulating training environment contributes to the 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 five years, all our graduates have passed both the qualifying and certifying examination with 100 percent pass rate on the first attempt.

High Quality Research: 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 to provide 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.

Innovate, Inspire, Impact: We are proud of the relationships our physicians have built with patients and families. Through inspiring stories, Health Beat provides an editorial platform to bring patients and physicians together, sharing information on innovative care and personal journeys. Read about our innovative care and the brave families who inspire us; story of success with the REBOA  and  breathing comfortably after rib fixation surgery.
A structured didactic schedule consists of a weekly core general surgery conference that includes:
  • Morbidity and mortality discussions
  • Advanced certifying examination simulation (mock oral board sessions)
  • Grand rounds, journal club or SCORE curriculum review 
  • Surgical skills lab

All of this occurs during a protected educational time apart from clinical responsibilities. 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.

Simulation and Skills Labs
Skill labs are scheduled in fall of the academic year and the level of training varies between each postgraduate year group.
PGY-1:  Knot Tying, Suturing Labs
PGY-2:  Basic Laparoscopy Labs, (4) Basic Robotic Skills Labs
PGY-3:  Cadaver Lab
PGY-4:  Advanced Laparoscopic/Robotic Skills Labs
PGY-5:  Business of Medicine/Finance Course

All these labs are mentored by at least one dedicated faculty. Resident performance during these labs are graded and recorded. We have laparoscopic and endoscopy simulators and robotic teaching consoles.

Advanced Certifying Examination Simulation (ACES) curriculum is held weekly during our academic conferences. During this hour, two residents will undergo mock oral examination scenarios by two surgical faculty members. Meaningful feedback is given at the end of each simulation, including feedback on examination taking skills and content evaluation.
Residency years are short, but the days can be long. There’s no better people to spend your training years with in a fun family atmosphere when you join Spectrum Health general surgery residency.

Retreat at Warner Camp: All general surgery residents spent the day at Warner Camp for a fun filled day of team building exercises including kick ball, beach volleyball and kayaking.

General surgery residents having fun at annual retreat

Conferences: We are proud to support and cheer each other on during research presentations at local, regional and national conferences!

General surgery residents at conferences
All applications are processed through the Electronic Resident Application Service. The deadline for applying to the program is November 30. Minimum USMLE scores are Step 1=240 and Step 2=250, 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.

American Board of Surgery (ABS) Requirements

Spectrum Health/MSU General Surgery Residency Program Goals

For more information on our program, contact Karie Hilley or Courtney Bradley,  general surgery program coordinators.

All visiting medical student applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program (formerly known as VSAS). For more information on visiting medical student opportunities, please visit our Visiting Learner page.
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.

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