Professional Development

For Applicants

For Residents

“Surgical training is intense, and sometimes one can get a bit lost during the process and forget the original motivations for signing up in the first place. Professional development time allows trainees to refocus, take a breath, and remember what a blessing and a privilege it is to be a surgeon and how many different ways we have to help people.”

— Dr. Tom Weiser, Co-Director of PD

Surgical residents in our standard 5+2 track spend two years focusing on their professional development (PD) after their third clinical year. An expansion of the traditional “research years,” residents in our program may choose from several paths that expands their knowledge and advances the fields of surgery and patient care. Past residents have pursued bench work in a wet lab, outcomes fellowships and earning additional degrees. Meet our current PD residents.

Each resident will prepare for their PD time through a comprehensive three-year curriculum designed by Stanford Surgery residents, for Stanford Surgery residents. The program includes time to explore opportunities, find mentors, and learn the finer points of grant writing, all during protected education time. Furthermore, residents receive personal mentorship from one of two Directors of PD so that each plan is personalized to meet their individual goals.

bootcamp—operated by S-SPIRE Center—welcomes residents to this unique time in their academic career. Following this six-week intensive course, PD residents attend leadership seminars hosted by Vice Chair of Education Dr. Jim Korndorffer to further the residents’ growth while also keeping them connected with the Stanford community.

We believe that the knowledge and skillsets obtained during PD time helps our surgical residents to differentiate themselves amongst the other 1200 outstanding graduates in surgery every year.

Extended PD Interviews

Dr. John Farag
Worked in a Cardiothoracic Surgery basic science lab.

Dr. Fari Ngongoni
Focused her research on HPB readmission rates and healthcare fragmentation.

Dr. Jeff Choi
Earned Master's Degrees in Epidemiology and Bioinformatics 

Dr. Charlotte Rajasingh
Earned an MPH while conducting health services research.

Dr. Carlie Arbaugh
says her PD time can be summed up in three distinct areas nutrition, health disparities (and within that global health), and DEI.

Dr. Beatrice Sun
Completed an MPH while pursuing a number of surgical oncology research projects.

Dr. Kathryn Taylor
National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Michigan

PD Research in the News

Surgery Team Wins 2023 SHC Sustainability Ambassador Award

Dr. Jaclyn Wu was part of a quality improvement team that won the SHC sustainability award for a project that reduced labor costs and eliminated waste by adjusting OR preference cards. Read the story.

Post-surgical abdominal adhesions: A potential cause and possible treatment

Abdominal adhesions frequently occur after abdominal surgery. Stanford researchers, including General Surgery Resident Dr. Deshka Foster, prevented their formation in mice by blocking a molecular pathway. Read her story.

Understanding and Treating Rib Fractures

General Surgery Resident Dr. Jeff Choi’s talks about how rib fractures have transformed his professional development time from studies on intravenous lidocaine for pain management to learning how to use artificial intelligence in medical imaging. Read his story.