Program Leadership


Karen Brasel, M.D., Residency Program Director

Dr. Karen Brasel, Professor of Surgery, is the General Surgery Residency Program Director, Vice-Chair for Education and Assistant Dean for GME at Oregon Health and Science University. 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 (MCW), 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 Entrustable 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.

Karen Kwong, M.D., Associate Program Director

Karen Kwong, M.D., is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, an Associate Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program and Global Surgery Director. She maintains a clinical appointment and is Chief of General Surgery at the Portland VA Medical Center (PVAMC). She is a faculty advisor and Chair of the Clinical Competency Committee which enacts the General Surgery Milestones. Dr. Kwong also teaches the Ethics and Professionalism Skills Lab and supports Clerkship Director Mackenzie Cook M.D. in the advisement of students desiring to train in general surgery. Dr. Kwong is very interested in global health initiatives and travels to Haiti twice each year with residents and students to provide medical and surgical care, as well as promoting other educational and communication health activities.  She is faculty for the Medical Student Elective Surgery and Inequalities course

Erin Maynard, M.D., Department of Surgery

Erin Maynard, M.D., is an Associate Program Director for the general surgery residency. Dr. Maynard received her M.D. from The Ohio State University and completed a surgical residency at Maine Medical Center. She went on to complete a Hepatobiliary and Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She maintains a clinical appointment as an Associate Professor in the Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation at OHSU.

Her clinical interests include the surgical treatment of benign and malignant disease of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas in addition to abdominal organ transplantation. Dr. Maynard is the faculty leader for our bi-annual mock oral examinations for residents in the 4th and final years of clinical training and she provides post-graduation board preparation for residents who have completed training. She is an outstanding educator and has received teaching awards for her work with medical students, residents and fellows.

Nicholas Hamilton, M.D., Associate Program Director

Nicholas Hamilton, M.D. is an Assistant Program Director for the general surgery residency. Dr. Hamilton received his medical degree from the University of Texas in Houston. He then completed a surgical residency at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, during which time he was also a surgical education research fellow through the Association for Surgical Education. He then came to OHSU to finish his formal training in pediatric surgery. He maintains a clinical appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at OHSU.

His clinical interests include minimal access surgery in infants and children as well as pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders. Dr. Hamilton is the faculty leader for our resident educational conferences. He has received teaching awards for his work with medical students and residents, and spends his free time enjoying the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two daughters.

Phil Van, M.D., Department of Surgery

Philbert Van, M.D., was named Assistant Program Director/Advisor for Military Residents in August 2020. Dr. Van received his M.D. from Drexel University College of Medicine, and completed his training in General Surgery at OHSU in 2012. Dr. Van remained at OHSU for his fellowship in Surgical Critical Care. In July 2013 he accepted a faculty position in the OHSU Department of Surgery/Division of Trauma, Critical Care, and Acute Care Surgery. Dr. Van maintains an Associate Professorship of Surgery at OHSU and is also a surgical intensivist at the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System. He is dually Board-certified by the American Board of Surgery in Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

In 2019 Dr. Van was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps, US Army Reserve. He is a member of the 915 Forward Surgical Team, based in Vancouver, Washington. He has served our country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

His research interests included coagulation, venous thromboembolism prophylaxis, and fluid resuscitation.

Dr. Van has received numerous military honors and awards and frequently provides instruction at OHSU and beyond regarding trauma, combat casualty care, and resuscitation.

In his spare time, amongst other community service endeavors, he has volunteered with the TSA at Portland International Airport as a passenger screening canine volunteer.

Erin Gilbert, M.D., Department of Surgery

Erin Gilbert, M.D., M.C.R., is the Simulation Education Director for the general surgery residency and Associate Professor of surgery within the division of general surgery. She received her medical degree from Louisiana State University in New Orleans and completed a General Surgery Residency at the University of Washington. In 2010, she arrived at OHSU to pursue a two-year Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive Fellowship with a strong focus on clinical research. Following the completion of her fellowship, she joined the Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery at OHSU. She went on to receive a Master’s in Clinical Research from the Human Investigations Program at OHSU.

Dr. Gilbert specializes in minimally invasive solid organ surgery with a particular focus on the surgical management of pancreatic disease including cancer. She is an active collaborator in the Brendan-Colson Center for Pancreatic Health and has received funding to investigate the use of Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI in both pancreatic cancer screening and the assessment of response to treatment of pancreatic cancer following systemic therapy. She is also a specialist in cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for the management of intraperitoneal carcinomatosis in certain types of cancer like appendiceal mucinous carcinoma or isolated colorectal cancer. Additionally, she has a strong interest in surgical outcomes research and the integration of the electronic health record seamlessly into clinical research.

John Stowers, D.O., Department of Surgery

John Stowers, D.O., joined the OHSU Department of Surgery in 2018 as Assistant Professor of Surgery within the Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery.  He is a full time general and minimally invasive surgeon at the Portland VA Medical Center and was named the Director of the Robotics Curriculum in 2020.  His interests include development of standardized robotics training and evaluation to enhance technical skills through simulation and clinical practice.

Dr. Stowers’ residency training and military experience allowed him to continue a broad-based practice in general surgery with a focus on minimally invasive techniques for gastrointestinal and hernia surgery, including complex abdominal wall reconstruction and colorectal procedures.  His educational focus is on post graduate education and teaching through simulation and clinical evaluation of resident performance.  This has led to the development of a novel robotics training curriculum to enhance resident’s robotics experience and performance to prepare them for future practice and fellowship. 

Dr. Stowers is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons and of the American College of Surgeons. 

Administrative Team

Erin Anderson joined the Department of Surgery education team in 1999. She has served as Education Manager overseeing the general surgery residency program since 2017. Erin has been witness to major programmatic developments over the years and has supported more than 200 graduating residents during her tenure at OHSU. She is an incredible asset to our program, understanding the ins and outs of every aspect of resident life and training.

Rachel Bassett joined the Department of Surgery as our Education Coordinator in 2019. She received her Master’s degree in English from California Polytechnic Institute, Pomona in 2012, and then taught both overseas and domestically at the collegiate level. From there, Rachel moved into academic administration in Los Angeles before accepting her position here at OHSU. Outside of work, Rachel's interests include her dog (named Subaru, which she has been assured is a perfect name for Portland), automotive interests (including autocross and rally cross), video games, and reading.

Molly Barron, Department of Surgery

Molly is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota with a background in Psychology. She came to Portland in 2008 to study at Multnomah University and has since called Portland home. Her hobbies include exploring the Pacific Northwest, collaborative board games, and trying new local coffee shops.