The Department of Surgery’s mission is to provide the best possible surgical care to all patients, including the most vulnerable; to conduct research that will improve outcomes for surgical patients everywhere; and to provide state-of-the-art training to prepare tomorrow’s surgeons and surgical subspecialists to meet the challenges of the future.
With a long, proud history spanning more than 150 years, the Department of Surgery is dedicated to providing high-quality surgical care and transforming health and healthcare through a commitment to community, collaboration, and discovery.
The department comprises 14 divisions or sections. As part of Boston Medical Center (BMC), the largest safety-net hospital in New England, we provide a full spectrum of high-quality adult and pediatric care services, including advanced surgical specialty care. In addition to our full-time faculty members at BMC, the department has a well-established relationship with Boston Children’s Hospital, which provides shared faculty in pediatric general surgery and critical care, as well as training in pediatric surgery for residents.
Department faculty are dedicated to educating and training medical students, general surgeons, podiatric surgeons, and surgical fellows. BMC offers students and residents exposure to the variety and volume of cases typical at a major urban medical center. Longtime collaborations with the Veterans Administration (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Roger Williams Medical Center, Cape Cod Hospital, and, more recently, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, provide training opportunities in environments that serve different patient populations. Additional affiliations with MetroWest Medical Center and Berkshire Medical Center, both in Massachusetts, and California’s Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center offer Chobanian & Avedisian SOM medical students third-year clerkship options that expand and enrich their experience.
The department’s faculty and trainees are engaged in all aspects of research, from explorations at the basic science level to translating discoveries into treatments that improve human health. Our faculty place a high value on the opportunity to shape the next generation of surgeons and surgeon-researchers.
Drawing on their strength across the range of surgical specialties, Department of Surgery faculty deliver compassionate, expert care that draws patients from all walks of life and from throughout the region. In fiscal year 2022, more than 6,200 operations were performed, and more than 62,000 outpatient visits took place. The Department of Surgery has consistently been recognized as a high outlier for quality in national measurements, including the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. A robust program focused on quality and safety that spans inpatient and outpatient care has been recognized for improving patient outcomes. Department of Surgery areas of expertise include:
- Acute Care/Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
- Breast Cancer Surgery
- Cardiac Surgery
- Colon and Rectal Surgery
- Endocrine Surgery
- Kidney Transplant Surgery
- Minimally Invasive and Weight Loss Surgery
- Pediatric Surgery
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Podiatric Surgery
- Surgical Oncology
- Transgender Surgery
- Thoracic Surgery
- Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
The department offers a highly competitive, five-year Surgery Residency Program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The program provides residents with the range and depth of experience and academic exposure to develop superior surgical skills and to make mature, informed, independent judgments. Graduates of the program are well prepared to become outstanding general surgeons or surgical specialists. The majority of residents pursue additional fellowship training after graduation, and many have gone on to assume leadership positions in academic surgery.
Our program leads to American Board of Surgery Certification within an environment designed to encourage clinical and basic scientific research experience. Residents interested in careers in academic surgery are encouraged to develop the necessary skills in research, education, and/or administration through a broad range of research fellowship opportunities.
Residents have the option to spend two years conducting laboratory or translational research, typically after their second or third year, to pursue their academic development. Often this research is done in collaboration with other departments at Boston Medical Center and other schools at Boston University, as well as other institutions, providing residents with a wealth of opportunities to pursue their interests, develop as academic surgeons, and make significant contributions. Clinical research is also encouraged among residents during their clinical years of training.
The department also offers two surgical fellowship programs—in Surgical Critical Care and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery—as well as a three-year Podiatry Surgery Residency Program.
The Department of Surgery plays an important role in educating students throughout the four-year Chobanian & Avedisian SOM curriculum, and has developed numerous innovative programs to introduce medical students to a career in surgery. The Surgery clerkship is a top-rated clerkship by Chobanian & Avedisian SOM students.
Chobanian & Avedisian SOM students who are interested in surgical research are linked with resident mentors, who connect the students with faculty members conducting research in the students’ areas of interest. This program provides residents with mentoring experience and has led to numerous award-winning presentations by medical students.
Research is an integral part of the Department of Surgery, reflecting a major commitment to advancing knowledge and improving patient care and outcomes.
Ongoing work in the department includes basic and translational research in diverse areas that include the following:
- Cancer biomarkers
- Nutritional needs of trauma and critically ill patients
- Venous thromboembolism prevention and risk assessment
- Endovascular versus surgical therapy for chronic limb-threatening ischemia
- Cellular senescence in delayed wound healing
- Surgical quality improvement
- Impact of race and sociodemographic factors on surgical care and healthcare disparities
- Surgical education
- Violence- and accident-related injury and epidemiology
- Global surgery and access to surgical care
- Wound management of chronic neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers
Collaborations with colleagues at the Boston University schools of medicine, engineering, public health, and business enhance projects in the clinical, health services, and education research arenas. Our investigators also increasingly collaborate on projects with researchers at other academic institutions around the region and the nation.
The Department of Surgery research program is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, and foundations and nongovernmental organizations. Currently, there are approximately 100 open clinical research protocols in the department. Research conducted by faculty and trainees of the department is influential and published widely in leading journals and textbooks.