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Program Overview

Prospective Applicants: Please refer to our Selection Criteria for Program Selection and Application information.



Contact: Kelly Liberati, Residency Program Administrator
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Department of Surgery/General Surgery
750 E. Adams Street, Syracuse, New York 13210
Phone: 315 464-7261
Email:  [email protected]

Surgical Residency Training

The main focus of a resident's education is exposure to a broad variety of clinical conditions and operations, but as surgical educators, we should not rely on "random opportunity" to define the surgical curriculum. 

We should instead strive to enhance the educational value of rotations through informal teaching sessions, rounds, and clinic time with special attention to learning opportunities presented by patients.

Our Program

The Department of Surgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University offers a traditional, comprehensive, fully ACGME-accredited general surgery residency program with a curriculum emphasizing supervised experience in both traditional, open surgical procedures and newer, laparoscopic, minimally invasive and robotic techniques.

Since 2018 we were approved by the General Surgery Residency Review Committee for 6 categorical residents per year. Elective opportunities for basic and clinical research are also available as part of the residency program. We offer research positions within our institution, but some of our residents choose to get research experience at other universities across the United States.

Upstate University Hospital (Downtown Campus)  is a 409-bed, Level I Trauma Center, and Golisano Children's Hospital.

Upstate Community Hospital (UCH) is a 326 bed hospital that provides exposure to busy general surgery services.

Our hospitals serve 17 counties in the Upstate and Central New York area.

Our surgical services include the following: Acute Care Surgery (ACS), Bariatric, Breast, Burns, Cardiac, Colorectal, Endocrine, General, Hepatobiliary, Surgical Oncology, Pediatric, Plastic, Thoracic, Trauma, Transplant, and Vascular, as well as the non-OR services of Consults and SICU.

University Hospital Operating Rooms

The downtown campus 5th floor (5E) OR includes 13 adult rooms and our 3rd floor (3N) OR includes five pediatric rooms.

The Community campus includes 10 OR rooms with in it's Surgical Center.

Affiliated Hospitals

Resident teams also rotate through the general surgery teaching services at affiliated community hospitals. This broadens the exposure to different health-care delivery models by training with a wide variety of surgeons in all types of practices. In addition, it helps to provides a balanced and complete educational experience. 

Crouse Hospital: A 570+ bed community hospital, that's physically connected to University Hospital, provides a wide range of surgical services including Colorectal, General, Hernia, Gallbladder, and Thyroid Surgery.

Syracuse Veterans' Affairs (VA) Hospital: A 106 bed, full-service hospital that provides surgical rotations encompassing General, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery for a unique patient population.

Accreditation Council

The Accreditation Council in Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) specifies, in considerable detail, what clinical experiences must be included in a general surgery residency program.  The rotations in all five clinical years of our residency program conform to that "blueprint."

Residents are assigned progressive responsibility for patient care by the supervising attending physician and the surgery Program Director/Chair, based on faculty evaluations of clinical competence, including:

  • Patient care
  • Medical knowledge
  • Evidence of practice-based learning and improvement
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • The surgical resident's demonstrated awareness of the system-based practice of medicine

As a PGY-5, each chief resident, while working along side of the attending surgeons, is in charge of his/her own service, exercising major independent responsibility.

Rotation Schedules

The schedules of the Residents in their first two years of training is devoted to the following surgical services:  ACS, Burns, Colorectal, Endoscopy, Hepatobiliary, Thoracic, Transplant, Trauma, and Vascular, as well as day Consults, SICU and surgical services at UCH, Crouse, and the VA.

The schedules of the residents in the third through fifth years is largely devoted to working on the same services as the PGY 1's and PGY 2's, with the addition of Bariatric, Breast, and night Consults. Additionally, chief residents may choose to do an electives at St. Joseph's Hospital or General Surgery at our sister campus in Binghamton, NY.

PGY 1 Categorical vs. All other PGY1 Surgical Interns

For the categorical residents, the rotations, while slightly different from resident to resident, provide an equivalent experience during each year of training.

For the non-designated preliminary residents, the rotations are similar to the categorical general surgery residents unless specific requirements are necessary for continued training in different specialties.

For the intern residents in Anesthesiology, ENT, Orthopedics, and Urology, the rotations have been tailored to fit within the requirements established by the specialty boards governing those training programs.

Work-life Balance

It is not difficult to imagine the challenges of five or more years of clinical training, but they need not, and should not, be all-consuming. Friends and family, rest and recreation, enjoyment of the arts, and service to the community are no less important because you are a resident. Indeed, during this portion of your career, when time is perhaps your most precious commodity, it is vital that you strike a balance in your life that will allow you to progress toward professional, as well as, personal goals.

To that end, we have developed a robust wellness curriculum, led by Dr. Jennifer Stanger, who has undergone additional training on the subject of wellness. This wellness curriculum has been integrated the into the core didactics. 

Upstate University Hospital