Welcome to the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati, where our honorable missions are:
- To provide comprehensive surgical services for Cincinnati and the surrounding region.
- To train the next generation of surgeon leaders.
- To advance the state-of-the-art and scientific basis of the discipline of surgery.
- To provide leadership in ensuring surgical health care for all members of the Cincinnati community.
Over the years we have built on a progressively stronger foundation of excellence in our clinical service, teaching, and research missions. As we recognize our achievements, I begin my ninth year as Chair with a sense of pride in our prior, ongoing, and future achievements.
First and foremost, our culture is based on a stewardship to our missions. We create value for both our patients and our trainees while discovering the secrets of medicine and nature in advancing the surgical state-of-the-art. I have repeatedly pointed out that those who deliver the highest quality of care have a moral obligation to leverage their superior insight and teach practice standards to their peers and future generations of surgeons. The highest quality clinical education invariably results in probing the limits of state-of-the-art care, thereby discerning the most efficient and logical pathways for clinically relevant discovery and scholarship. The pursuit and achievement of excellence on behalf of a department of surgery ultimately yields this continuum of interdependent missions. I am also proud to say that our faculty and residents have realized the full potential of this continuum as well as any department. Our commitment to this culture is evident in our daily duties and permeates our organizational structure, governance, and decision-making. As a result we have a sense of departmental and personal excellence and destiny on behalf of faculty and residents alike.
We take pride in providing a superior surgical education. Our faculty participates in training over 185 medical students each year, while our clinical divisions sponsor 12 graduate medical education resident and fellow programs that encompass 116 residents and fellows, including 4 clinical fellows and 1 research fellow. We have over 190 faculty who work hard to advance the art and science of surgery, supported by over 220 support staff. Our trainees regularly attain the most competitive fellowships and jobs, perhaps the most important indicator of our training success.
Dr. Jeffrey Sussman, our Vice Chair for Education, is assisted by an outstanding team of associate directors and staff. This team has worked with the faculty to make our education mission impactful and current. Because surgical education is more complex than ever, it now requires the flexibility to provide for a variety of styles of learning and technical skills. Great contemporary surgical training emphasizes a paradigm of surgical education principles which recognize the following:
- The historical model of case based proficiency is now inadequate to meet the needs of every resident.
- A more varied learning style requires a more individually tailored curriculum for clinical skills acquisition.
- Surgical education can no longer be “accidental” but must become “deliberate” and progress along a series of targeted milestones.
- More formal skills assessment tools are now required.
We believe our faculty and senior residents lead the way in surgical education. This confidence in our contemporary success is based on both our historical success and our willingness to adopt more effective models of training. For example, we provide a rich learning environment outside of the operating room, including the Center for Surgical Innovation and the Edward Woliver Laboratory for Simulation and Education in Surgery, as well as Acting Intern/Intern “boot camps” where technical skills assessment is formalized into modules. These instructional and technical skills assessment labs prepare the residents and medical students to enter the operating room with the technical skills needed for efficient learning. We are also conducting funded research into what additional factors must be addressed for success in residency.
In addition to myself, the Office of the Chair comprises the Vice Chair for Education (Jeffrey Sussman, MD), the Vice Chair for Research (Alex Lentsch, PhD), the Vice Chair for Finance and Compensation (Timothy Pritts, MD, PhD), and the Executive Director of Business Affairs (Tal Richards, MHA). Coupled with the wisdom of our Section Chiefs and Division Directors and faculty, we have grown and succeeded significantly over recent years. I urge you the reader to review each sectional report contained herein to get a sense of our core strengths. The Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget for the Department of Surgery was approximately $56 million. Of our total budget, $45 million was committed to serving our patient care mission. More than 24,000 new patients sought the care of our surgical specialists during this past year, resulting in nearly 14,000 surgical procedures. Approximately $7.5 million (13%) of our annual budget was dedicated to our research activities.
And finally I ask you the reader to remember this. I take great personal pride in the opportunity to coach the most gifted of trainees and faculty. Each one is unique in their own way with their strengths and weaknesses, just as I am. To be able to counsel, encourage, and sometimes gently prod our residents and faculty so that they are transformed into leading academic surgeons is the most enjoyable aspect of my position.