Message from the Program Director

Kareem AbdelFattah, MD
Kareem AbdelFattah, M.D.

On behalf of the Department of Surgery, I want to express my appreciation for your interest in a career in surgery and for the surgical residency program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. It is our goal to prepare our residents for careers in community surgical practice, research, academic surgery, and post-surgery fellowship training. We have a long track record of providing each of these pathways to our trainees, based on a well-rounded education that balances clinical training, structured didactic and skills training, and excellent opportunities in clinical and basic research. At our last visit by the Residency Review Committee we received full 5-year accreditation with no citations.

Our residents receive wide exposure to all aspects of general surgery. This extensive clinical experience is provided by our five integrated hospitals: Parkland Memorial Hospital, Children’s Health℠, UT Southwestern University Hospitals, and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Residents graduate from the program with excellent exposure to all of the key areas of general surgery. Their operative caseloads are remarkable in their depth and breadth of experience.

The surgical curriculum has a solid didactic program to teach basic science, clinical science, patient management, and literature review. Technical skills training for both open and minimally invasive surgery are an integral part of the curriculum. To accomplish this, we have organized a half-day of educational conferences and technical skills training. This has moved the teaching of basic skills from the operating room to a more structured laboratory environment.

Research opportunities exist both within the department and in other departments, usually through collaborations closely linking a career scientist with a surgical scientist. The optional two-year research experience is not mandatory; usually two to three residents each year pursue this opportunity in basic science or clinical research.

Department programs include a well-established research program in burn, trauma, and inflammation, which has been continuously funded for 38 years, and a T-32 training grant. A number of other programs are rapidly growing, including breast cancer screening and genetics of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and angiogenesis, mechanisms of increased permeability in the lung after inflammatory insults, minimally invasive surgery, metabolic effects of bariatric surgery, pathophysiology of renovascular hypertension, the role of inflammation in perfusion/reperfusion injury, pathogenesis of the development of Barrett’s esophagus, and research of outcomes after colorectal surgery.

In addition, each year a surgical resident interested in cardiovascular disease has spent productive time in a NIH-funded laboratory in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. We are truly blessed to be part of a nationally recognized university for its endeavors in basic science. The University faculty has included six Nobel Prize winners. Extensive opportunities exist for unique research experiences with leading basic scientists in conjunction with one of our collaborating surgical scientists.

In addition to a strong general surgery program, we have outstanding and comprehensive programs in surgical critical care and trauma, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, bariatric surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric surgery, and vascular surgery. These fellowships do not detract, but rather complement, our surgical residency program.

A large full-time faculty with wide interests and well-honed teaching skills provides exceptional training. Of equal importance, a spirit of cooperation, camaraderie, and tradition makes the residency an enjoyable educational experience.

We are proud of our residents and our programs. I believe you will be impressed when you visit UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Kareem AbdelFattah, M.D.
Program Director, General Surgery Residency