University of Toronto, Department of Surgery, Annual Report

Postgraduate Education

Dr. John M.A. Bohnen, Vice-Chair, Education

Dr. John M. A. Bohnen

The Department of Surgery’s residents, fellows and faculty members contributed to another year of accomplishments, challenges and milestones in 2003-2004.

Surgery entry level programs filled all of our first year positions in July 2003, through the Canadian resident match. In 2003-2004, 213 trainees participated in our 11 programs (Cardiac Surgery, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery residencies; and Colorectal Surgery, Paediatric General Surgery and Surgical Oncology fellowship programs). In addition to those residency positions, 166 clinical fellows and 29 elective residents came from many countries to seek further clinical training. Our Thoracic Surgery program has been changed back to a specialty level program by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), no longer taking residents in their first year of training. Thirty residents received research training within the Surgeon Scientist Program, led by Dr. Ori Rotstein.

Residents finishing Core Surgery (years one and two) and senior residents were highly successful in RCPSC in-training and fellowship exams. Twenty-five of 28 residents passed their Royal College fellowship examinations.

Surgery residents participated in numerous educational offerings that complemented their involvement in patient care. Besides the large number of specialty sessions provided by the surgical faculty in each division, the department sponsors educational series and events for Core Surgery residents. Dr. Bob Mustard continues to run the highly rated Principles of Surgery (POS) Lecture series and provides a practice POS exam from questions he and POS lecturers have created around the lectures and from the surgical literature. Twice yearly, Core Surgery residents participate in the Residents’ Forum, in which they give feedback to Dr. Stan Hamstra and me about issues such as work conditions. On July 11, 2003, Core Surgery residents attended the annual half-day program “The Surgeon in Society;” this year’s theme was risk management and its relation to surgical education. First year residents attended in July, an orientation day that provided them a chance to meet education providers in a relaxed setting with good food, the most valued resident attractant. Several resident volunteers, enticed by more food and a chance to promote their specialities, participated last fall in a career night for senior year medical students interested in Surgery. In the summer, residents in their third year of clinical training attended a “residents as teachers” workshop, led by Drs. John Murnaghan and Stan Hamstra; this was rated highly by residents and supports residents’ triple mission, of providing patient care, achieving their own education and helping to train medical students and junior residents. Last but not least, Dr. Jameel Ali led the department’s provision of Advanced Trauma Life Support training, for Core Surgery residents.

Dr. Helen MacRae continued to direct the Surgical Skills Centre (SSC) including training Core Surgery residents in basic operating room skills and theory in a controlled setting, under the supervision of master teachers of surgical technique. Besides Core Surgery training, the SSC provides advanced skills training for surgical divisions and the Departments of Otolaryngology and Obstetrics/Gynecology.

The divisional Program Directors do an outstanding job taking care of their residents’ needs and organizing divisional educational and social events. Thanks for a great year to: Drs. Gail Darling (Thoracic Surgery); Doug Hedden (Orthopaedic Surgery); Ron Kodama (Urology); Jack Langer (Paediatric General Surgery); David Latter (Cardiovascular Surgery); Ron Levine (Plastic Surgery); Tom Lindsay (Vascular Surgery); Lorne Rotstein (General Surgery); Carol Swallow (General Surgical Oncology); and Chris Wallace (Neurosurgery) and their tireless assistants: Liz Doherty, Karen Hodgson, Antonella Iannaccio, Eddy De Oliveira, Willa Hart, Gayle Burke, Leah Gabriel, Jan McEvoy, Jane Hanes and Sandi Amaral, respectively.

Each year, hospitals, surgical divisions and the Department of Surgery, award faculty members and residents awards for excellence in postgraduate teaching. Among the key departmental awards, Dr. Ted Ross won the Tovee Postgraduate Award for sustained, outstanding contributions to postgraduate training and Dr. Andrew Kader, won the D. R. Wilson Education Prize for outstanding teaching of medical students by a surgical resident. Congratulations to both for these significant accomplishments.

In September of 2003, our department joined others in engaging staff and residents in online evaluations of residents and teachers, sponsored by the faculty Postgraduate Medicine office. We encountered challenges and glitches, found causes and solutions, and enter the 2004-2005 year with expectations that the system will run more smoothly. We thank the Program Directors, their assistants, teachers and residents for their patience in this start-up year.

The department’s education offices have undergone changes this year. The Postgraduate office has merged with the Undergraduate Education office in January 2004 and moved into new quarters on the second floor of the Banting Institute. Undergraduate portfolios have changed but in postgraduate education, I continue as Director, and have assumed the role of departmental Vice Chair, Education.

Two of our divisions have undergone reviews this year. In a five year review of the Neurosurgery division, their educational programs were commended under the leadership of Dr. Chris Wallace and Division Chair, Dr. Jim Rutka. General Surgery came under review as a result of four residents leaving the program this year. This situation is not isolated to Toronto: a disappointing incidence of attrition from General Surgery programs, has occurred across North America over the last few years. A proactive approach this year has brought an outside review, the recommendations of which are not available as of this writing. Division and department leaders are committed to consider the findings of the review and work to reverse this trend.

Residents, fellows and surgeon-teachers have received outstanding help from the administrative support team of Tess Weber, Miriam Rotman and Jean DeFazio. We look forward to another great year in 2004-2005!

[ back to top ]
Copyright © 2005 University of Toronto, Department of Surgery.