For Applicants

For Residents

Message from the Director

On behalf of the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Stanford, thank you for your interest in our General Surgery Training Program.

We provide an unparalleled opportunity for bright, highly motivated individuals to acquire the skills, knowledge, clinical training and experience required to become future leaders in surgery. Stanford has a long history of educating outstanding clinical surgeons, beginning with our founding chair, Emile Holman, a Halsted-trained surgeon who served as Professor and Chair of the department from 1926 to 1955. 

Our residents get outstanding clinical training at Stanford Hospital and our affiliated training institutions: Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, the Palo Alto VA, Santa Clara County Hospital, and Kaiser Santa Clara.  These institutions provide exposure to all of the modes of practice that residents may choose during their careers. In addition to gaining experience in a wide breadth of general surgery cases, residents also participate in the extremely complex cases that are referred to Stanford Hospital.  As a result, their case numbers in complex surgical oncology, hepatic, biliary and pancreatic surgery are often in the 90th percentile nationwide, as documented by their case logs

The Surgery Training Program is divided into two parts. The first two years provide core training in surgical knowledge, care, and technical skills, not only for the General Surgery residents, but also for those going on to train in surgical subspecialties (orthopedics, otolaryngology and plastic surgery), as well as other specialties such as anesthesia or interventional radiology.

The three years of senior general surgery residency training includes intense experiences in General Surgery, Trauma/Surgical Critical Care, Surgical Oncology, Endocrine Surgery, Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Transplantation, Colorectal Surgery, and Pediatric Surgery. By the completion of the chief resident year, residents have performed more than 1,000 operations and are well qualified to join an academic faculty in Surgery, enter the practice of General Surgery, or pursue a fellowship.

As an integral part of a world-renowned research university, the Training Program provides opportunities to integrate basic and applied research into our clinical training program in preparation for a career in academic surgery.  To facilitate this, individuals spend two years in a period of intense research, which we have termed Professional Development.  Beginning in the first year of clinical training, categorical trainees and their mentors hold discussions designed to culminate in a professional development plan.  The Professional Development time gives residents the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the other 1200 surgery graduates every year.

Achieving anything “insanely great” requires hard work, dedication, great teachers, a supportive environment, and perseverance. At Stanford Surgery, we strive to provide trainees with the environment and tools to be great surgical leaders. 

On behalf of the entire faculty we appreciate your interest in Stanford and look forward to meeting you.

David Spain, MD
Program Director

Our Program Director

David A. Spain, MD
Tel: (650) 725-2181