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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, hepatobiliary, general surgery, surgical critical care, pediatric surgery, emergency general 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, Mission Hospital 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. No phone calls please.
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. 
  • Meet all UCI GME requirements for appointment. Found here

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 program is fortunate to have a designated Director of Education, Dr. Jill Endres and Associate Director of Education, Dr. Dorna Jafari 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 Associate Program Director, Dr. Maki Yamamoto  has dedicated her role 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 »


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. 

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, lectures, 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

2018-2019 Chief Residents »

Colette Inaba, MD was raised in Kent, Washington. She earned a BS in Biology and BA in French at the University of Washington in Seattle, and then moved to Japan to teach English. After returning to Seattle, she developed Continuous Medical Education courses at Swedish Medical Center prior to earning her medical degree at the University of Washington. She is currently a resident in General Surgery at the University of California Irvine, where she also completed a research year in Minimally Invasive Surgery. Next year, she will return to the University of Washington for fellowship training in Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Eugene T. Kahn, MD was born and raised in New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from New York University. Afterwards he attended the University of Medicine and Dentistry at New Jersey Medical School where he earned his medical degree. He initially started his surgical residency at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City where he completed his PGY 1-3 years. Afterwards, he transferred to the University of California Irvine Surgery Residency to finish his surgical training. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, reading, playing the piano and spending time with his wife, daughter and dog.

Christina Koh, MD – Administrative Chief, Scheduling
Christina Koh, MD completed high school in Southern California before enrolling at UC Berkeley for her undergraduate studies.  She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Integrative Biology.  She then moved back to Southern California for medical school at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.  After receiving her MD, she began General Surgery Residency at the University of California, Irvine.  Between her third and fourth years of residency training, she completed a year long research fellowship focusing on outcomes research in Colorectal Surgery and Minimally Invasive/Bariatric Surgery.  Following residency, she plans to pursue General Surgery in private practice.  Outside of work, she enjoys going to concerts, cooking, and spending time with her husband, family, co-residents, and her cat. 

Luke Putnam, MD was born and raised in Southern California. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science at Vanderbilt University. As a senior undergraduate student, he founded an international nonprofit service organization, which led him to work in Latin America prior to attending medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he graduated as the valedictorian. He began general surgery residency at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he completed three years of clinical training. He also dedicated three years to clinical research at the University of Texas at Houston where he obtained a Masters in Clinical Research and published over two dozen, peer-reviewed manuscripts. He transferred to the University of California, Irvine, to complete the final two years of clinical training. Following residency, he will complete a Minimally Invasive Surgery fellowship at the University of Southern California. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.

Sarath Sujatha-Bhaskar, MD – Administrative Chief, Education

Eugene Won, 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


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
Samuel Chen, MD 2018 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Vascular Surgery
John Gahagan, MD 2018 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Jennifer Nishimura, MD 2018 Fellowship- The Ohio State University Thoracic Oncology
Alliya Qazi, MD 2018 Fellowship- Stanford University Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Andrew Wang, MD 2018 Fellowship - Cedars Sinai Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Matthew Whealon, MD 2018 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Colon and Rectal Surgery
Claire Chavez, MD 2017 Practice - LBMMC 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 Foregut/Bariatrics
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 Foregut/Bariatrics
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 Foregut/Bariatrics
Timothy Feldmann, MD 2015 Fellowship - USC Colon and Rectal Surgery
Caitlin Houghton, MD 2015 Fellowship - UC San Diego MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Mehraneh "Dorna" Jafari, MD 2015 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Thai Lan Tran, MD 2015 Fellowship - Jackson Memorial Trauma/Surgical 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/Critical Care Surgery
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, MPH 2012 Fellowship - University of California, Irvine Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
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 Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
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  MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
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 Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Brian Lugo, MD 2009 Fellowship - University of California, Irvine Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
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  MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Ramy Awad, MD 2008 Fellowship - University of Florida MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Trung Bui, MD 2008 Fellowship - University of Arizona Vascular Surgery
Allen Kong, MD 2008 Fellowship - University of California, Irvine Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
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


Zot Spot - UCI Residency News »

October 2018:

The Irvine Incredibles will be ACS Clinical Congress' "So You Think You Can Operate? Skills Competition"! Catch them and our Surgical Jeopardy participants at the conference!  

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 »

Twitter  @UCIrvineSurgery
Instagram @ucisurgery
Facebook @ucisurgery

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

UC Irvine Health:   
University of California, Irvine:

Program Coordinator:
Stephanie Watson