General Surgery Residency Program

Academic faculty Slate Wilson, M.D.The general surgery residency program at Oregon Health & Science University 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.

Academic faculty Donn Spight, M.D. with residentMost 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. Find out more about research opportunities in the Department of Surgery.

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 Transition to Practice Program.

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

Program Director

Karen J. Brasel, M.D.Karen Brasel, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., Professor of Surgery, is the General Surgery Residency Program Director. 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 currently as the 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.  She serves on the Executive Committee of the American College of Surgeons Board of Governors and is a Director of the American Board of 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. 

Association of Women Surgeons

We welcome our female residents to join OHSU's Medical School Chapter of the Association of Women Surgeons. The Association of Women Surgeons is committed to supporting women surgeons at various stages in their career – from medical school through retirement. 

Association of Women Surgeons