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Surgery Chief Resident's Message

On behalf of the graduating class of 2016 I’d like to thank you for your interest in the Baystate Medical Center surgical training program and congratulate you on your decision to join the surgical community.   This is an exciting time in your career, as finding a program that is the right fit for you is essential in shaping who you are professionally and personally.   I’d like to share some of the strengths I’ve found of our surgical training program, and how the Department of Surgery and Baystate Medical Center facilities are equipped to educate the best and brightest in our field.

The Hospital

Baystate Medical Center is a tertiary referral and level one trauma center located in beautiful western Massachusetts.  Our 716-bed hospital serves as the regional campus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  With a large catchment area, and one of the busiest emergency departments in the country, we care for the region’s sickest and most complex patients on a daily basis.   With the opening of the Davis Family Heart and Vascular Center, inclusive of an entirely new operating suite, and over 38,000 hospital admissions annually, the exposure to surgical disease and operative experience continues to grow. 

The Training Program

Our 5-year, non-pyramidal training program offers exceptional experience in all aspects of the care of surgical patients in general surgery and related fields.   Your technical skills will build from day one in the operating room with our superb teaching faculty and in our simulation laboratory, one of the first accredited surgical simulation centers in the country.   All PGY-1 residents undergo “Boot Camp,” an 8 week curriculum initiated in 2007 to aid in preparation for the perioperative care of surgical patients.  In addition to our core rotations in general surgery and related fields, we have excellent relationships with obstetrics and gynecology, otolaryngology, urology, orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, all of whom contribute to our education.

Research pursuits are highly encouraged and opportunities are easily accessible to all residents. Some residents choose to dedicate extra time to research beyond the 5 years of general surgery training and this is supported and facilitated by the department.

As a university-affiliated program in a high-volume operative center, Baystate residents get the best of both worlds.  By chief resident year, we are truly running our services, teaching junior residents and medical students, scrubbing complex cases that might be scrubbed by a fellow elsewhere, and working closely with the attendings regarding clinical issues in our patients.  Graduates of this program have the skill, experience, and clinical acumen to pursue advanced subspecialty training or launch into the community as general surgeons. Our residents are viewed as competitive within fellowship and job applicant pools, and have matched fellowships in colorectal, surgical oncology, minimally-invasive surgery, cardiothoracic, pediatric surgery, breast, transplant, hand, critical care, plastics, and endocrine surgery at places like Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Duke, McGill, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic. Still others have immediately joined academic or private practice general surgery groups, started a general surgery practice in the military, pursued research interests, or done international work for Doctors without Borders.

The People

The true strength of our residency lies in its people. Although we all came from different backgrounds and with different experiences, we support, guide, instruct, encourage, congratulate, and console each other through the rigors of the training process. It is this close-knit family environment that draws many of our own graduates to come back to practice surgery at Baystate.

Baystate offers the personal and professional development, training, research, and subspecialty exposure that will lay a strong foundation for the rest of your career. At the heart of all of this, however, the surgical administration, surgeons, physician-assistants, nurses, and fellow residents are what really make Baystate special. The friendships and memories you develop here will stay with you for the rest of your life. 

Wishing you the best in your pursuits,

Kristina Potanos, MD