General Surgery Residency Program | Department of Surgery

About the program

The general surgery residency program at OHSU is one of the nation’s largest, graduating 13 residents per year. In addition to its size, the program is unique because it offers a breadth of diversity in training via rotations at eight different hospitals in the Portland metropolitan area, and one in southern Oregon. The hospitals include a University-based medical center, a VA medical center, an HMO, and community-based hospitals. Residents are exposed to a wide variety of teaching and practice models.

The curriculum includes skills labs for residents at all levels, from instruction in laparoscopic technique to round-table discussion regarding medical ethics and professionalism. Skills labs take place in our new state-of-the-art surgical simulation center, VirtuOHSU, a highly versatile space supporting open, laparoscopic, endoscopic and microscopic technical skills training using task trainers, virtual reality, and synthetic, animal, or cadaveric tissues.

The residency also includes an optional year of clinical research (granted through an application process in the resident’s third clinical year of training) or a year of rural surgery training in the Oregon towns of Grants Pass and Coos Bay. The rural surgery year is counted as a clinical year of training by the American Board of Surgery. Two residents are eligible each academic year, as selected by the Program Director. Residents participate in cases with urologists, orthopedic surgeons, and obstetrician-gynecologists, along with general surgeons.

Most general surgery residents elect to do one year of clinical research between their third and fourth years of training. After their proposal is reviewed and accepted by the Department of Surgery Research Committee, residents begin their research year on July 1. In addition to research, residents in their research year take occasional call when necessary, participate on a variety of OHSU Committees, and assist with the general surgery residency interview process.

Upon completion of the residency training program, many residents opt to do specialty fellowships. Recent graduates have obtained fellowships in such institutions as Johns Hopkins, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Cleveland Clinic. However, residents are well prepared to enter the independent practice of general surgery if they decide to forego additional training. Learn more about our ACS Mastery in General Surgery Program.

For further information regarding the general surgery residency program at OHSU, please contact us.

OHSU is an institutional member of the Association of Women Surgeons and The Society of Black Academic Surgeons.

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Program director

Headshot of Dr. Karen Brasel in the Department of Surgery

Karen Brasel, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., Professor of Surgery, is the General Surgery Residency Program Director, Vice-Chair for Education and Assistant Dean for GME at OHSU. She is also a member of the Educational Scholars Collaborative. She received her BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and her MD from the University of Iowa. She completed her surgical residency and her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and her Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She comes to OHSU from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she was given a dual appointment as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and as an Assistant Professor in the Health Policy Institute in 1999. At MCW, Dr. Brasel served as a Clerkship Director, member of the Curriculum and Evaluation Committee, Director of Resident Research, Director of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program for eight years, and as a member of the Society of Teaching Scholars. She is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the Association of Surgical Education’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2006. 

Dr. Brasel is a nationally renowned leader in many aspects of surgery, including her role as Contributing Author and Sub-Committee Chair for the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP®) for many years and as the prior ACS Committee on Trauma ATLS® Sub-Committee Chair and international director of ATLS®. She served two years as Chair of the Curriculum Committee for the Association of Surgical Education and has served on several committees for the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, including currently chair of the Critical Care Committee and member of the Board of Managers. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the American College of Surgeons Board of Governors and is a Director of the American Board of Surgery. She currently leads the American Board of Surgery's pilot program on establishing Enstrustable Professional Activities in General Surgery.

Dr. Brasel’s clinical practice is trauma/critical care and emergency general surgery. Her research focuses on surgical palliative care, ethics, education, and quality of life after trauma.

ACS Mastery in General Surgery Program

The OHSU Department of Surgery offers the American College of Surgeons Mastery in General Surgery Program: an opportunity to transition directly from residency to independent surgical practice. 

Visit the ACS website for a complete description and overview of our program.

To request an application, contact the American College of Surgeons at (312) 202-5653 or e-mail

Where our graduates go


  • Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, UCLA
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, University of Utah
  • Colorectal Surgery Fellowship, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Colorectal Surgery Fellowship, University of Texas, Houston
  • General Surgery Practice
  • MIS Fellowship, Case Western Reserve University
  • MIS Fellowship, Penn State University
  • MIS Fellowship, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.
  • Trauma/Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
  • Vascular Surgery Fellowship, OHSU


  • Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery Fellowship, University of Michigan
  • Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Burn/Critical Care Fellowship, Cornell Medical Center, NY
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, OHSU
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, University of Michigan
  • General Surgeon, Portland Surgeons group and the Oregon Clinic, Portland, OR
  • Minimally Invasive and Advanced Endoscopic Surgery Fellowship, Providence Portland Medical Center
  • Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, University of Chicago
  • Rural General Surgeon, Arizona White Mountains
  • Surgical Oncology Fellowship, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY
  • Surgical Oncology Fellowship, University of Chicago
  • Vascular Surgery Fellowship, OHSU


  • Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship, Houston, TX
  • Colorectal Surgery Fellowship, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA
  • General Surgeon, Meridian Park Hospital, Portland, OR
  • General Surgeon, OHSU and Tuality Healthcare, OR
  • General Surgeon, Portland Surgical Specialists
  • Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Fellowship, OHSU
  • Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Fellowship, Stanford University, CA
  • Minimally Invasive Surgeon, Oregon Clinic GMIS Department, Portland, OR
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, OHSU
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, OHSU
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Vascular Surgery Fellowship, University of Florida


  • Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • Fleet Surgical Team 3, U.S.S. Boxer, San Diego, CA
  • General Surgeon, Asante Physician Partners, Grants Pass, OR
  • General Surgeon, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Waimes, HI
  • Private Practice, Riverbend Hospital, Eugene, OR
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, OHSU
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Surgical Oncology Fellowship, John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, CA
  • Trauma and Acute Care Surgeon, Salem Health, Salem, OR
  • Vascular Fellowship, OHSU


  • Assistant Professor, Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
  • Breast Oncology Fellowship, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Fellowship, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • General Surgeon, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, AK
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • Rural Surgery Private Practice, El Centro, CA
  • Surgical Oncology and Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics dual Fellowships, University of Chicago, IL
  • Trauma and Critical Care Fellowship, LA County and USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Trauma and Critical Care Fellowship, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD
  • Vascular Surgery Fellowship, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC


  • Burn Surgery and Critical Care Fellowship, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA
  • Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship, LA County/University of Southern California Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • Colorectal Surgery Fellowship, Colon & Rectal Clinic of Houston, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX
  • Endocrine Surgery Fellowship, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
  • Minimally Invasive Complex Gastrointestinal Surgery Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
  • Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • Thoracic Surgery Fellowship, OHSU, Portland, OR
  • Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Fellowship, Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics, Palo Alto, CA
  • Vascular Surgery Fellowship, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA