About the Program


The General Surgery Training Program is designed to provide residents with a comprehensive knowledge of basic and clinical surgical science, excellent patient assessment, patient management, and operative skills and experience. The operative experience of Cottage's surgical residents places the program in the top 10th percentile in the country.

Each resident’s activities are supervised by the full-time director of surgical education, and by the teaching faculty, consisting of members of the surgical staff of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The teaching faculty comprises distinguished surgical specialists, each of whom has extensive experience and outstanding credentials and training.

Participatory and interactive resident education is emphasized throughout the program. Residents gain extensive experience in teaching, research, and group presentation. Residents completing this program have an exceptional record of achieving board certification. Upon completion of the program, a number of graduates have entered general surgical practice directly. The majority of the past decade’s graduates have elected to obtain further specialty training, and have successfully completed outstanding programs in trauma and critical care, thoracic, colorectal, plastic, and vascular surgery.


Program Plan

Year One (R1)
The first year of training is based at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH). Emphasis is placed on pre- and post-operative care and the performance of operative procedures. R1 residents rotate through the general surgical services, vascular surgery, and surgical critical care. There is extensive subspecialty experience. R1 residents gain substantial operative experience.

Year Two (R2)
Second-year residents spend 11 months at SBCH, assigned either to the general surgical services or to the Trauma/ICU service. Emphasis is placed on increasing operative experience and caring for more critically ill and injured patients. One month is spent at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in transplantation.

Year Three (R3)
Third-year residents spend 10 months at SBCH, concentrating on general surgery, trauma, and surgical critical care, with increasing operative experience on more complex cases. Two months are spent at LA County-USC Hospital on the trauma service.

Year Four (R4)
The fourth year is spent on the general surgical, vascular, and specialty services at SBCH. Emphasis is on technical and cognitive proficiency and increasingly independent patient and operating responsibility.

Year Five (R5)
The R5 or Chief Residency year is one of great responsibility. Chief residents assume overall clinical responsibility for pre-, intra-, and postoperative care in the surgical services at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Chief residents also have major administrative and teaching roles, in collaboration with the Director of Surgical Education. Leadership skills are emphasized.