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Educational Curriculum

Clinical and Scientific Surgery (CASS)

  • Photo CASS ConferenceThe required basic sciences conferences are held on Friday mornings to allow for maximal participation by residents on night float rotations. This is considered protected time and residents are released from all clinical duties during the hours of 7-8:30 am each Friday.
  • The curriculum is designed to follow the ‘This Week In SCORE’ curriculum with minor deviations. Curriculum materials are derived from a variety of sources including basic surgical texts and reference journal articles for the basic science (CASS) series. 

Grand Rounds

  • Residents are required to participate in a weekly Grand Rounds. The format of this conference varies between case discussions, debates, and invited speakers. This is a departmental conference, attended by all faculty, residents and medical students.
  • There are four named lectures (Wheeler, Bednarz, Ellinwood and Cataldo Lectureships) and frequent visiting professors over the course of the academic year with state of the art lectures.
  • Quality Improvement Sessions, which house combined sessions with ED, GI, Anesthesia and Urology, all aimed at optimizing quality and the multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
  • The Grand Rounds case presentations are led by PGY-3 and 4 residents and are typically held in a “Stump the Professor” format. This allows for lively discussion of management options. In addition, the discussion is followed by an extensive review of the literature by the resident.
  • The Resident Debate Series is held during Grand Rounds on a quarterly basis. The PGY-4 and 5 residents debate each other on topics selected by a small group of faculty. This series allows for education in evidence-based medicine, Systems-Based Practice and Communication Skills and are attended by the faculty as a whole.

Photo of Intern Knot Tying
    Intern Knot Tying

Morbidity and Mortality

  • A Morbidity & Mortality conference is held at each campus on a weekly basis and attendance is required of all residents. During Morbidity & Mortality, the residents present the case and they are expected to have reviewed appropriate literature for discussion after reviewing the case with the attending of record. Faculty members are present at all M&M conferences.

Rotation Specific Education Sessions

Photo of Residents looking at monitor

  • Each individual rotation provides required conferences that are specialty-specific and led by an expert in that specialty. Examples include Vascular Surgery, Trauma Surgery and Transplantation.
  • In order to provide more opportunity for education in Systems-Based Practice and Patient Care, a Morning Report conference was instituted at the University Campus led by the Vice Chair of Education, Dr. Anne Larkin. It is also attended by a member of the UMass Medical School library staff. The format is structured case discussions and allows for resident self-assessment of Systems-Based Practice and Patient Care. It also allows for the addition of evidence-based learning in real time through the skills of the library staff. This conference is currently run by the Program Director and is required for all Night Float, Haidak, and Acute Care Surgery residents.
  • Journal clubs are held by nearly every rotation.

Educational Resources

  • Residents have access (remote and institutional) to all on-line texts and journals provided by the extensive medical library at the University of Massachusetts as well as other texts in the Department of Surgery Resident Library.
  • Residents have 24 hour access to this library, which has recently been completely reviewed and restocked with up to date editions of all textbooks. The Resident Library at the University Campus and the resident offices at the Memorial Campus are fully equipped with new computers, and the residents are encouraged to use on-line sources for learning.

Exam Pass Rates 2013-2017

  • Qualifying Exam on first attempt: 89%
  • Certifying Exam on first attempt: 100%

National Average 2012-2016

  • First time pass QE 88%
  • First time pass CE: 83%

Graduating Chiefs Case Load

Graduation Year Average Major Cases
2015 954
2016 924
2017 1050
2018 1262
2019 1217
Rolling 5-year average 1081








  • At the completion of the PGY-2 year, residents will have logged approximately 350 cases.