Welcome from the Program Director
Congratulations on finding the best General Surgery residency program in the Midwest! We serve large numbers of patients, both in general surgical and subspecialty care. We serve as the major referring center in the western region of Michigan and draw patients from all over the state, as well as from the rest of the United States. In some areas of subspecialty care, we provide not only tertiary care but also quaternary care. Our residents routinely operate on, and take care of, patients that fellows would be doing at other institutions. This translates into a rich and diverse educational experience and pathology.
We are privileged to provide you with the benefits of both a community and academic residency program in one location – a hybrid program. This will allow you to pursue a variety of options upon your graduation. All of our residents feel confident to go into general practice without pursuing a fellowship, if they choose to do so. Others have pursued fellowships (60%) and have matched into training programs without difficulty – often matching with their top choices. And still others have pursued rural and/or mission based general surgical practices. All of this is possible in 5 years of training at our institution.
Our program provides you with exciting opportunities to make a difference locally and regionally. You will hone your teaching skills by interacting with Michigan State University medical students during their surgical clerkships and senior electives. You will be invited to participate on a variety of hospital committees, both at a resident level and at a hospital executive setting. This will provide you with the opportunity to productively engage with hospital systems and their leadership effectively in the future.
Residents in our program are scholars as well. Our program requires that each resident be engaged, as a primary investigator, on two research projects during their training. Often, many residents manage to do much more than what is required of them. One of our recent graduates, who has successfully matched in Surgical Oncology fellowship at one of the premier programs in the nation, was able to publish almost 20 peer-reviewed papers during his time here as a resident! Our residents are great teachers as well. They often win “best resident teacher” awards from Michigan State University Grand Rapids medical students. We are a very academic, university affiliated residency program that exists to support the health care of the state of Michigan!
We are, perhaps above all else, committed to providing the educational integrity of your residency experience while providing a warm and supportive teaching atmosphere. We have regularly scheduled teaching conferences and rounds (and multiple multidisciplinary tumor boards and care teams) and surgeons who are in the hospital twenty-four hours a day to help, teach and mentor young surgeons in training in an evidence-based and compassionate fashion. Our weekly academic, didactic conferences are often resident driven/centric experience with significant participation by both the resident and faculty complement. I, along with all faculty, am fully dedicated to providing you an outstanding training experience in a family atmosphere. We want to create a well-rounded, “complete” surgeon who is not only competent in clinical arena but also very comfortable in communicating and deeply caring for his/her patients and community at large.
When you visit us, you will undoubtedly join the countless other people who tell us that we are one of the best, if not the best, program they have ever seen. Our unique position of offering “hybrid” program curriculum that is academically based but community friendly should appeal to you. Come take a look at what we have to offer. You will be glad you did. We are very eager to meet you and look forward to such an opportunity.
Mathew H Chung, MD, FACS
Program Director, Professor of Surgery
Letter from the Chiefs
Thanks for checking out our webpage, and on behalf of the General Surgery Residency, welcome to Grand Rapids! We hope that the information on this website does justice as to why we think it is such a special place to train and live. Our hospitals (Spectrum Health hospitals and Saint Mary’s hospital) have trained multitude of outstanding residents since 2000. We are a regional referral center that provides tertiary, and at times quaternary, care to adult populations in West Michigan and beyond. Our general surgery residency program provides a unique opportunity to care for a wide range of disease processes/pathologies that can span from common surgical problems (i.e.appendicitis) to complex oncologic scenarios (i.e., pseudomyxoma patients needing cytoreduction and HIPEC procedures). Our flagship hospital, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, also serves as a Level 1 Trauma Center for the region. Helen Devos Children’s Hospital is co-located with Butterworth Hospital where we have an opportunity to see and care for infants, children, and adolescents with various surgical problems. Most of us graduate with well over 1000 major cases upon graduation. We have a long tradition of obtaining great jobs and/or matching into a competitive fellowship, if desired, as well. We are able to do all of this in a great, fun city with supportive faculty who understand what it truly means to be a compassionate, competent and caring surgeon.
We hope you will have a chance to rotate with us and/or interview with our program during your application process. It simply is the best training program in the Midwest, if not in the nation. Come say hello!
Residents progress through a rotation schedule over five years carefully planned to provide operative experience with progressive responsibility in all areas of general surgery as well as endoscopy, critical care, and trauma. An outstanding experience in endocrine, oncologic, and vascular surgery is offered along with exceptional opportunities in the colorectal, thoracic, and pediatric surgical sub-specialties.
Every effort is made to maximize resident education, not service needs. Goals and objectives are provided at the onset of every rotation. The program director, assistant directors, and surgical teaching faculty regularly review each residents performance and the overall educational experience of the program. Exceptional training is the result, in a humane academic environment that maintains the safety, successful outcome, and compassionate care of the patient as its central focus. Graduating residents completing the residency perform around 1100 cases, with nearly 300 of those during their 5th year as the chief surgical resident