Educational Program Overview

Enhanced Educational Experience

Prerequisites for Life: Technical and Cognitive Skills

We believe that our graduates have a firm cognitive basis to practice today and incorporate the advances in medical knowledge of tomorrow. We intend to instill balance into the life of a resident as an important quality to creating a fulfilling life. Balance implies that there is sufficient time to incorporate our own family values into daily life. Residency has been a time of sacrifice due to the demands of patient care. Yet, many of the "old school" were not able to make a transition to a normal lifestyle at the end of their residency, and, in fact, the "workaholic" or dysfunctional surgeon has become a stereotype. We believe that this incorporation of balance must begin at the beginning of residency to become part of one’s lifelong value system. Well-Being has been incorporated into the curriculum and into many facets of the program.

Diversity of Experiences: Different Cultures, Different Styles

Prior to 1990, there were independent surgical residencies at Hartford Hospital, New Britain General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. These four programs contained over 70 residents in total. By selecting the best elements of each program and eliminating redundancies, we have been able to diminish the total number of residents to approximately 44; of these 30 are categorical residents, six in each year.

Diversity in Research

The research program is designed to expose residents to surgical research, generate a publication, and give the resident an option to pursue additional dedicated time doing research if desired. All residents are exposed to the research curriculum that occurs during the PGY1 and 2 years. The curriculum covers the basics of research including IRB submission, statistics, and understanding how to critically review the literature. All residents are assigned a research mentor and are expected to develop and complete a research project that results in a publication and/or presentation at a national meeting by the PGY5 year. Residents who have interest in additional exposure to research have the opportunity to spend two years after the PGY2 year doing dedicated research. Residents can spend this time doing basic science research at the University of Connecticut or doing outcomes research at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Additionally there is an option to spend the research years at other academic centers. We make every effort to accommodate each individual resident's plans and aspirations and indeed, many of our residents have participated in some of the finest research laboratories in the country.

Diversity of Education in Different Hospitals

At each hospital, there are separate conferences including the required mortality and morbidity, grand rounds, and basic science reviews. In addition, there are chief resident grand rounds given for the entire program as well as a visiting professor program. Each of the five hospitals (Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, UConn John Dempsey Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital) offers a unique educational experience. All of the rotations are focused on the education of the residents. There are a limited number of fellows at each of the hospitals in the University of Connecticut program. This enhances the resident experience and exposure to complex cases. View the Block Diagram.

Diversity of Education

Our core curriculum occurs every Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. This curriculum includes a diverse exposure to core surgical knowledge and follows the SCORE curriculum. The majority of sessions are interactive, case-based, and include a robust discussion. Further, the weekly curriculum includes modules covering leadership training, quality and safety education, and ethics. Well-Being is incorporated into the curriculum with quarterly sessions that have included exercise sessions, cooking (and eating), and free time. See more on Well-Being.

Once a month the curriculum is dedicated to simulation. The simulation sessions occur in the state-of-the-art Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation at Hartford Hospital. Simulation sessions have included fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery, fundamentals of endoscopic surgery, bowel and vascular anastomosis workshops, trauma and critical care scenarios, and animate labs.