Rural Surgery

Three Rivers Medical CenterOHSU has a long-standing interest in training general surgeons to serve in rural communities. To that end, two rotations exist for senior-level residents to better prepare them for rural surgery. The first of these rotations was established in 2003 in Grants Pass, Oregon at the Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. Each year, two residents in their clinical fourth year have the opportunity to spend twelve months in Grants Pass, working with general surgeons and gaining exposure to a wide range of surgical disease, including general, vascular, urology, OB/GYN, and orthopedics cases. The Grants Pass community, with a population of 80,000, is located in Southern Oregon and provides residents with the experience of small town life and work as a rural surgeon. Residents continue to participate in educational activities via remote access to didactic lectures, and gain valuable operative experience, often accruing over 1,000 cases in one year.

In 2014, a second rotation was established in the coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon. Based on the success of the Grants Pass rotation, and with growing resident interest in rural surgical training, two fourth-year residents rotate at the Bay Area Hospital for six-month rotations. Serving primarily the neighboring towns of Coos Bay and North Bend, with a joint population of 25,500, the hospital also serves as a referral center for the entire rural South Coast. At their time there, residents gain extensive exposure to general surgery, endoscopy, minimally invasive surgery, and other surgical subspecialties.

Coos Bay Residency Rotation

The View From The (Surgical) Bay
New GME track in Coos Bay widens potential pipeline of rural general surgeons

Rural Surgery Rotation: Bridging the Gap

OHSU Chief Resident Vicente Undurraga, M.D., in a recent study published by The American Journal of Surgery, addresses whether surgery residency prepares residents to work at critical access hospitals.

"This comprehensive analysis of surgical procedures shows striking differences among the procedures general surgery residents are exposed to during training and procedures they might be doing in a general surgery practice at CAHs in the same state. The addition of a rural surgery track, although not entirely bridging this gap, allows for a greater number of cases in some of the same categories where the gap exists, such as endoscopy, breast, and cholecystectomy/common bile duct procedures..."  Read the full article here