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Welcome!

University of California, Irvine Medical Center

Our program places strong emphasis on provision of excellent clinical care, establishing new horizons in minimally invasive surgery, education of residents and medical students in all aspects of surgery, and high-level surgical research.  Our program trains and prepares some of the finest young surgeons in the country for the rigors of academic or private practice as well as subsequent fellowship training.

Our general surgery residency program’s integrated and affiliated training sites include rotations in surgical oncology, cardiothoracic, vascular, gastrointestinal, colorectal, hepatobilliary, general surgery, surgical critical care, pediatric surgery, and trauma/acute care surgery. UC Irvine’s faculty and volunteer faculty, as well as that of our affiliate institutions, are committed to teaching and provide residents with a variety of resources and opportunities to engage their surgical knowledge. Surgical residents perform clinical rotations at our University Medical Center, the Veteran’s Affairs – Long Beach Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Residents interested in research will find a broad range of resources and mentors. While not required, research during residency imbues critical skills and exposes the resident to the an additional  dimension of academic surgery. Options for one or two years of dedicated research outside of the clinical track are available.

We wish you the best of luck in your surgical pursuits!

Brian R. Smith, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Associate Professor and Director
General Surgery Residency Program

To view Dr. Smith's faculty profile, please click here

Program Overview »


The UC Irvine Department of Surgery emphasizes six competence areas identified by the ACGME for organization of educational objectives and assessment methods:

  1. Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  2. Medical knowledge about established and evolving surgical sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  3. Practice-based learning and improvement that involves the investigation and evaluation of care for patients.
  4. Interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and other health professionals.
  5. Professionalism, as manifested in a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adhering to ethical principles and demonstrating sensitivity to patients of diverse backgrounds.
  6. Systems-based practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of healthcare, as well as the ability to draw effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

For further eligibility requirements and resident information, please visit our Graduate Medical Education site. 

Applying to our Program »

Resident applications are accepted entirely through ERAS and determined via the NRMP process.
Matching applicants will begin their residency the following June.

Requirements for application:

  • ERAS Application
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • MSPE (Dean’s Letter)
  • Grades/transcripts
  • USMLE transcript
  • Applicants from international medical schools must have a valid California post-graduate training authorization letter (PTAL) and be ECFMG certified at time of application. 

Applications for the 2018-2019 interview season will be reviewed in September with invitations sent in October for the following interview dates:

November 15, 2018
November 29,2018
December 13,2018

In addition, we invite selected applicants to join our residents in an informal meet and greet on the evening before their scheduled interview. 
For more information, please visit our Graduate Medical Education page. 

About Us »


In 2006, UC Irvine became one of the first educational institutions in the United States to be accredited by the American College of Surgeons for simulation training. As a Level I accredited state-of the art simulation center, UC Irvine offers residents the means to learn novel techniques to supplement their curriculum in both open and minimally invasive surgery.

At UC Irvine, residents receive exposure to all core components of surgery, as well as specialized training in surgical oncology, vascular surgery, minimally invasive surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, trauma and acute surgery, and transplantation.

Our education division is headed by our Director of Education, Dr. Jill Endres,  whose focus is to develop and implement novel curricula and enhance the surgical skills of our residents. Aside from didactics, residents are exposed to a wide variety of knowledge and skill building activities such as labs, FLS, oral board practice, pre-op rounds, professionalism and practice lectures and journal club.

Additionally, our program has the added benefit of an Associate Program Director, Dr. Maki Yamamoto and an Assistant Program Director, Dr. Dawn Elfenbein - both of whom have dedicated their roles to furthering education and research within the program. 

The UC Irvine, School of Medicine mission: Discover. Teach. Heal
Learn more about how the  UC Irvine Medical Center is living its mission through the  UCI Irvine Health Magazine and Helping You Live Well .

Teaching Hospitals »


UC Irvine Medical Center

UC Irvine Medical Center is an academic medical center and principal clinical facility for the School of Medicine’s teaching and research programs. The following services are provided: medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, family medicine, pathology, radiology, ophthalmology, neurology, anesthesiology, and pain management and rehabilitation. The medical center has cardiac, neonatal, respiratory, burn, and medical-surgical intensive care units. It is the designated countywide Level I tertiary trauma referral center.

  • 424 bed tertiary referral center
  • ACS Level I Trauma Center & Burn Center
  • Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center (CDDC)
  • Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care Center (C4)
  • Aesthetic Institute and Beckman Laser Institute 
  • ACS Certified Surgical Skills Training Center
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Skills Test Center (FLS)

The UC Irvine Medical Center is located in the city of Orange and the university itself is nestled in Irvine (15 minutes away). 

Affiliate Teaching Hospitals
As part of our philosophy of training, UCI surgical residency includes exposure to all practice types (Academic, private practice, VA, multispecialty HMO) with the below training sites. 

Resident Curriculum/Training Philosophy »

Curriculum:

The residency curriculum is a two-year cycle with teaching conferences oriented to the curriculum. It includes standardized readings and a review of surgical text, basic science, surgical decision-making, SCORE, AccessSurgery and the American College of Surgeons’ Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program. 

In 2013, we moved to an iPad based curriculum featuring educational apps and tools aimed at improving didactic knowledge, study skills and help to maintain cohesive organization.  

Residents have a 4-hour protected time block to attend core conferences each Thursday.
Weekly core conferences consist of:

6:30 am to 7:30 am:    Didactics/Basic Science
7:30 am to 8:30 am:    Grand Rounds
8:30 am to 9:30 am:    Morbidity and Mortality Conference (M&M)
9:30 am to 10:30 am:  Resident Education (labs, journal club, pre-op rounds, town hall etc.)

Education and Core Conferences »

UC Irvine's Department of Surgery prides itself on its dedication to furthering knowledge. Core Conferences are held weekly for the department and feature resident didactics, grand rounds, morbidity and mortality conference and a resident education hour. In addition, each division meets to discuss its specific patient assessments and education. 
  • Core Conferences –  Thursday mornings (Didactics/Core Curriculum, Grand Rounds, M&M, Resident Education Hour), 6:30 am to 10:30 am
  • Hepatobiliary Tumor Board – First Monday of each month from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
  • Transplant Conference (includes journal club) – Fourth Monday of each month from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Breast Conference – Second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 12 to 1 p.m
  • Integrated GI/Med/Surg Conference – First Wednesday of each month from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • GI/Colorectal Conference –  Wednesdays (except the first Wednesday of each month) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Vascular Conference Weekly –  Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Trauma/Critical Care Conference –  Thursdays from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Burn Journal Club - 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 pm 
Orange County: Recreational, Cultural, and Social  »


With a climate that ranges from 50 to 75 degrees in the winter and 60 to 90 degrees in the summer, and close proximity to the mountains and the ocean, Orange County, California offers a wide variety of activities from skiing and snowboarding to surfing, sailing and other water sports. In fact, swimming, boating, surfing, skin diving and fishing are year-round sports. Orange County boasts expansive parks, scenic hiking, biking and jogging trails as well as public golf courses and tennis courts.

Hard core sports fans will enjoy frequent professional sporting events, including Angels’ baseball, the Anaheim Ducks for hockey and horseracing at the Santa Anita and Del Mar tracks.

Orange County is home to the nationally renowned South Coast Repertory, the Discovery Science Center, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, art museums, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, as well as numerous performance and sports venues.

Visitors to nearby Los Angeles will find some of the best entertainment facilities in the country including:  the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, the Geffen Playhouse, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater and the Hollywood Bowl. A variety of smaller stage productions are also available in Hollywood and the nearby Melrose Avenue district. Extensive art collections are on view at the Los Angeles County, Norton Simon and Getty art museums, as well as at the Huntington Library, which is home to a world-class arboretum. There are also numerous smaller art galleries throughout the region.

The region’s extensive freeway system makes all of these activities readily accessible. San Diego, with Sea World, the prestigious San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, and the U.S./Mexican border are only a two-hour drive away.

View: Like a Local - Irvine

2017-2018 Chief Residents »

Samuel Chen, MD was born and raised in Torrance, California. Following high school, he completed his BA with Honors in Human Biology at Stanford University, where he was a sportswriter and editor for the Stanford Daily newspaper and conducted research in the Zarins Vascular Research Laboratory. He then returned to Southern California for medical school at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, where he was a UC Regent’s Scholar and William J. von Liebig Vascular Surgery Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School in 2009. After receiving his MD, he began his surgical residency at the University of California, Irvine, and participated in a year-long post-doctoral research fellowship in Vascular Surgery between his third and fourth clinical years publishing numerous peer-reviewed articles on surgical outcomes and innovative techniques in vascular and endovascular surgery in the field’s leading journals. Following residency, he will be headed to Philadelphia, PA to complete a Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 

John Gahagan, MD was born and raised in Southern California. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and was a commencement speaker. He earned his medical degree from Wake Forest University. He began his General Surgery residency at the University of California, Irvine. During residency, he has been involved in a number of committees and teaching activities. In 2016, he received the Outstanding Resident Award from the Office of Graduate Medical Education. After his third clinical year, he completed a research fellowship, which led to multiple presentations at local and national surgical meetings as well as numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals.  He is currently pursuing a fellowship in Colorectal Surgery. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and two dogs.

Jennifer Nishimura, MD

Alliya Qazi, MD
Alliya completed her medical degree at the University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry where she was the URSMD Dean's Merit Scholarship. Following residency, Alliya will begin her fellowship in Trauma/Critical Care at Stanford University. 

Andrew Wang, MD completed high school in Southern California before enrolling at UC Berkeley for his undergraduate studies.  At Cal he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbial Biology and remained in Northern California to be a supervisor at a pain management clinic.  He then moved east to start his graduate medical studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia.  During medical school, Andrew spent his clerkship years at VCU's affiliate campus, Inova Fairfax, in Northern Virginia.  He then returned to California for his surgical intern year at Riverside County Regional Medical center before joining UC Irvine.  Andrew is now completing his general surgery residency and will begin his fellowship in Trauma Critical Care following graduation.  

Matthew Whealon, MD

Resident Perspectives »


"There is so much support from the level of the attending physicians, to my co-residents, to the mid-level practitioners. I feel incredibly fortunate to be at UC Irvine and I couldn't imagine doing residency anywhere else."

"The best part of the program so far has been the people. My co-residents are easy to get along with, I feel comfortable discussing cases with my seniors and even the attendings. We get exposure to a lot of cases and as interns have a decent amount of time in the OR. The stereotypical surgical program (hierarchical in nature) does not exist here for the most part. You are among colleagues who will listen to you and help you improve on a daily basis."

"I was first interested in UCI Surgery because it is an academic center with a diverse patient population, a moderate sized residency class and is in a great location.  After working here for 3 years, I now know that the best part of UCI is the people.  The residents, attendings, students and staff truly work as a team.  We help each other, teach each other and support each other.  This is unique and not something that can be found in most surgical residencies.  The training is also excellent because we work at a University Center, VA, Kaiser and a private practice hospital."

"UCI surgery is different because it is not a program --it is a family. I first realized this as a Sub-I, and it becomes more solidified every day. An as a family, we want everyone to excel, we expect the best from each other, and we are always there for each other."

"The most important part of our program is the diversity that it provides its resident. We are a university program that experiences opportunities at multitude of different community programs. Our operating experience is diverse and extensive. We have the opportunity to operate with the world experts, and at the same time be able to experience the community, private surgeon’s point of view."

UC Irvine Surgery Residency - Alumni »


Department of Surgery -  Graduating/Graduated Residents

UCI Surgery Graduates 2017


Our graduates have forged different paths based on their surgical passions. Some have pursued subspeciality fellowships in academic institutions while others have moved towards private, group or HMO practice organizations. 


Below is a list of recent graduates and their post-graduate destinations:

Resident
Graduation Year
Post-Graduate
Specialty
Claire Chavez, MD
2017
Practice
General Surgery
Mark Hanna, MD
2017
Fellowship - Cornell University
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Vivian Le-Tran, DO
2017
Fellowship- USC
Breast Surgery
Steven Maximus, MD
2017
Fellowship - University of Chicago
Vascular Surgery
Michael Morell, MD
2017
Fellowship - Gunderson Medical Center
MIS
Alexis Plasencia, MD
2017
Fellowship - University of Miami 
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Jennifer Foe-Parker, MD, MBA
2016
Kaiser Permanente - Woodland Hills
General Surgery
Michael Li, MD
2016
Fellowship - Scripps, San Diego
MIS
Hossein Masoomi, MD
2016
Fellowship - University of Texas
Plastic Surgery
Michael Sgroi, MD
2016
Fellowship - Stanford University
Vascular Surgery
Monica Young, MD
2016
Fellowship - University of Washington 
MIS
Timothy Feldmann, MD
2015
Fellowship - USC
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Caitlin Houghton, MD
2015
Fellowship - UC San Diego
MIS  
Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, MD
2015
Fellowship - Cornell University
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Thai Lan Tran, MD
2015
Fellowship - Jackson Memorial
Trauma and Critical Care
Fredrick Che, MD
2014
Fellowship - UCSF Fresno
MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Molly Deane, MD
2014
Fellowship- University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma
Trauma and Critical Care
Kelly Huynh, MD
2014
Fellowship - John Wayne Cancer Center
Surgical Oncology
Celeste Kang, MD
2014
Fellowship - Florida Hospital (Orlando)
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Kristelle Lusby, MD
2014
Fellowship - Indiana University
Plastic Surgery
Gregory Thom, MD
2014
Fellowship - University of Arizona
Vascular Surgery
Joseph Chen, MD
2013
Fellowship - Method Hospital System in Houston 
Plastic Surgery
Nicole Datrice-Hill, MD
2013
Kasier Permanente - Northern California
General Surgery
Patrick Rudersdorf, MD
2013
Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Christopher Washington, MD
2013
Kaiser Permanente - Orange County 
General Surgery
Boris Borazjani, MD
2012
Fellowship - University of California, Irvine
Surgical Critical Care/Trauma Surgery
Brian Buchberg, MD
2012
Fellowship -  Oregon Health Science University
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Justin Galovich, MD
2012
Fellowship- Harbor UCLA
Vascular Surgery
Meghann Kaiser, MD
2012
Fellowship- University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma
Surgical Critical Care/Trauma Surgery
Erwin Ong, MD
2012
Private Practice - Kaiser Permanente
General Surgery
Andrew Barleben, MD
2011
Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles
Vascular Surgery
Brian Mailey, MD
2011
Fellowship - University of California, San Diego
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Maki Yamamoto, MD
2011
Fellowship - Moffit Cancer Institute
Surgical Oncology
Jonathan Slone, MD
2011
Fellowship - Cleveland Clinic, Weston, FL
MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Marcelo Hinojosa, MD
2011
Fellowship - University of Washington 
Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery
Michael Pharon, MD
2010
Fellowship- University of Virginia
Plastic Surgery
Hubert Kim, MD
2010
Fellowship - University of California, Irvine
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Raman Menon, MD
2010
Fellowship- Swedish Hospital; Seattle, WA
Colon and Rectal Surgery
 Gabriel Herscu, MD
2010
Fellowship - University of Southern California
Vascular Surgery
Navrose Grewal, MD
2009
Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Michael Hayashi, MD
2009
Fellowship - University of Hawaii
Surgical Critical Care/Trauma Surgery
Brian Lugo, MD
2009
Fellowship - University of California, Irvine
Surgical Critical Care/Trauma
Tien Nguyen, MD
2009
Fellowship - Harbor UCLA
Vascular Surgery
Jeffrey Root, MD
2009
Private Practice - San Luis Obispo County
General Surgery
Paul Suding, MD
2009
Alta Bates Summit Hospital, Berkeley, CA 
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Ramy Awa, MD
2008
Fellowship - University of Florida
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Trung Bui, MD
2008
Fellowship - University of Arizona
Vascular Surgery
Allen Kong, MD
2008
Fellowship - University of California, Irvine
Surgical Critical Care/Trauma Surgery
Christopher Marrocco, MD
2008
Fellowship - Texas A&M
Vascular Surgery
 Nichole Meissner, MD
2008
Orange County
Private Practice
 Darin Saltzman, MD
2008
UCLA, Olive View Medical Center
General Surgery
 Bardia Anvar, MD
2007
Private Practice - Los Angeles County
Private Practice
John Carson, MD
2007
Fellowship - University of Chicago
Vascular Surgery
Michael Chow, MD
2007
Fellowship - Baylor College of Medicine
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Timothy Fairbanks, MD
2007
Fellowship - St. Christopher's Hospital for Children 
Pediatric Surgery
 Dmitri Gelfand, MD
2007
Fellowship- SUNY Stony Brook
Vascular Surgery
B. Mark Palmer,  MD
2007
Fellowship - Baylor College of Medicine
Colon and Rectal Surgery


 

Zot Spot - UCI Residency News »

March 2017:
UC Irvine is proud to have partcipated in Orange County's United Way Workforce Readiness Program. Residents, Sarath Sujatha-Bhaskar, Colette Inaba, and Christina Koh gracoiusly presented their paths to medicine among students at Savanna High School in Anaheim. 

OC United Way - Workforce Readiness

February 2017:

UC Irvine is proud to have participated in the Pacific Coast Surgical Association 2017!

Below are our resident contributions:

Abstract Title: Hospital Teaching Status Does Not Affect Outcomes of Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery  
Author: Colette Inaba, MD

Abstract Title: "Does high CMS Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating correlate with improved outcomes in advanced laparoscopic abdominal surgery?"
Author: Christina Koh, MD

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 2017:

Congratulations to John Gahagan and Sarath Sujatha-Bhaskar for AGAIN bringing home the Dowden Cup as the 2017 SoCal ACS Surgical Jeopardy champions!!!


Go Anteaters!!! ZOT ZOT! 

sccacs jeopardy

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 2016:

UC Irvine is proud to have participated in the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2016!!

Below are our resident contributions:

Forum Session: General Surgery
Title: The Clean/Contaminated Appendectomy: Misclassification of Wound Class for Acute Appendicitis
Presenter: John Gahagan MD

Forum Session: Colon and Rectal Surgery V
Title: Management of Emergent Diverticulitis: A Comparison of Operative Approaches
Presenter: John Gahagan MD

Forum Session: Bariatric/Foregut I
Title: Outcomes of Esophagectomy by General vs. Thoracic Surgeon - Data from the 2011-2014 NSQIP Database
Presenter: Matthew Whealon MD

Forum Session: Bariatric/Foregut I
Title: Perioperative Outcomes of African American Patients Undergoing Bariatric Surgery
Presenter: Matthew Whealon MD

Forum Session: Vascular Surgery
Title: Comparative Outcomes of Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) and Carotid Artery Stenting (CAS): Analysis of the ACS-NSQIP Targeted Vascular Database                                                                                                                                                      Presenter: Samuel Chen MD

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 2016:

Congratulations to John Gahagan and Sarath Sujatha-Bhaskar for bringing home the Dowden Cup as the 2016 SoCal ACS Surgical Jeopardy champions!!!
We're very proud of our team! Zot zot! 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 2015:

UC Irvine is proud to have participated in the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2015!!

Below are our resident contributions:

Forum Session: Bariatric/Foregut I
Abstract Title: Reoperation After Bariatric Surgery: Still a Devastating Complication
Presenter: Matthew Whealon MD

Forum Session: Hepatobiliary and Pancreas I
Abstract Title: Readmission After Pancreaticoduodenectomy: An Analysis Of Risk Factors And Timing Of Complications
Presenter: John Gahagan MD

Forum Session: Bariatric/Foregut II
Date And Time: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 9:45 am - 11:15 am Abstract Title: A Decade Analysis of Trends and Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery in Male Compared to Female Patients
Presenter: Monica T Young, MD

Forum Session: Colon and Rectal Surgery II
Abstract Title: Laparoscopic Ultra Low Anterior Resection with Colonic J-Pouch: Techniques for a Difficult Oncologic Resection (Video)
Presenter: Monica T Young, MD

Forum Session: Colon and Rectal Surgery V
Abstract Title: Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Epidural to Conventional Analgesia After Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery
Presenter: Mark Hanna MD, University of California Irvine

Forum Session: General Surgery IV
Abstract Title: Discharge Destination After High-Risk Surgery: Impact On Readmission And Mortality
Presenter: Mark Hanna MD

Forum Session: General Surgery IV
Abstract Title: Never Events And Hospital Acquired Conditions After Surgery: Lessons From the ACS-NSQIP Database
Presenter: Mark Hanna MD

Contact Us »


General Surgery Residency Program
University of California, Irvine
333 City Blvd West, Suite 1600 | Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 456-5532

UC Irvine Health: ucirvinehealth.org   
University of California, Irvine: uci.edu


Program Coordinator:
Stephanie Watson
skwatson@uci.edu