Residents in skills lab.

Our curriculum will help you fully develop your clinical care abilities, research expertise, professionalism, leadership skills and knowledge about the full spectrum of conditions you will encounter as a specialist in surgery.

First Year

First-year trainees rotate through Buffalo General Medical Center, Gates Vascular Institute, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Erie County Medical Center and Oishei Children's Hospital. Each resident functions as a member of the surgical care team.

The PGY-1 residents are responsible for patient care on the floors, although it is also a busy operative year, with residents typically doing 150-200 cases.

Responsibilities include evaluation and planning for treatment of patients, attendance at rounds, clinics and conferences and operating experience.

The PGY-1 year exposes resident to experiences in general surgery, vascular, transplant, pediatric, trauma, trauma ICU and bariatric surgery.

Second Year

The second year of the program has an integrated curriculum that includes:

  • general surgery
  • ICU/critical care
  • vascular/endovascular surgery
  • breast surgery
  • soft tissue melanoma
  • head & neck surgery

The second-year resident achieves an increasing amount of clinical independence.


Research opportunities following the PGY-2 year are available to residents. These positions will be selected on a competitive basis. Residents may be allowed to spend 1-2 years in a laboratory setting.

Third Year

The PGY-3 year transitions to the senior program and is a critical year in the program - PGY-3 residents are challenged with making the transition to supervisor and team leader.

In this year, the experience is broadened. The schedule includes experiences in pediatric surgery, burn and trauma.

The resident cares for more complicated patients and achieves increasing amounts of clinical independence.

Fourth Year

Fourth year assignments include general, vascular/endovascular and thoracic surgery.

The resident achieves increasing amounts of clinical independence.

The assignments are designed to provide the clinical experiences needed to become a Chief Resident.

Fifth Year

The fifth year is designed to provide increasing senior-level experience. Chief Residents are expected to fine-tune their decision making judgments as well as their operative technique on major elective procedures with emphasis on complex gastroenterologic, endocrine, and trauma cases.

The Chief Resident runs the service, prepares and presents at conferences and Grand Rounds and teachers junior residents and medical students.

This final year completes the comprehensive training as required by the American Board of Surgery.

Conferences and Didactics

Every Thursday there is one hour designated for department-wide Grand Rounds, followed by three additional hours for resident level specific education, simulation, skills training, mock oral examinations, ABSITE preparation conferences, operative case conferences, wellness sessions to support resident mental/physical well being, quality improvement conferences, Town Halls with the Program Director, and many other great sessions.

Surgical residents in a skills lab.

Research Year

Residents who are interested in a dedicated research experience are encouraged to spend 1-2 years in a basic science or clinical research program. Each residents salary is supported by the program. Residents usually enter the lab after completing their PGY-2 year. Participation in the research is voluntary.

Career Preparation

At the time of graduation, most residents pursue a fellowship, but those interested in a career in general surgery are comfortable, confident and competent in their ability to directly enter surgical practice.