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 four-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. Raja Narayan
Cancer Research at Sloan Kettering

Dr. Sue Fu
Earned her MPH, conducted health services research, and helped reimagine our Pre-PD curriculum

Dr. Deshka Foster
Earned her PhD researching post-surgical abdominal adhesions

Dr. Kirbi Yelorda
Earned her MPH, conducted health disparities research, and directed a pipeline program for URM high school students

PD Research in the News

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.

ACA helps trauma patients avoid financial catastrophe, but more is needed

Dr. Charles Liu spent his PD years in the National Clinician Scholars Program and doing research on the Affordable Care Act. Read his story.

Reducing surgical site infections in low-resource settings

During a stint in Ethiopia, Stanford surgical resident Dr. Jared Forrester worked on a surgical infection prevention plan for low- and middle-income countries. Read his 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.