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Welcome to the WellSpan York Hospital Surgical Residency Website
Richard Damewood, M.D., F.A.C.S.The WellSpan York Hospital Surgery Residency has a proud tradition of producing clinically and technically excellent, broad-based general surgeons.

We seek to build on this tradition today with first rate facilities for didactic and simulation training. In addition, York provides ample clinical material in a supportive environment with a faculty dedicated to the training of surgical residents, along with opportunities for clinical research, mission trips and training in the most advanced techniques available to the modern surgeon

We hope you will join us as you embark on your own journey to professional excellence.
 

Experience That Lasts A Lifetime

Operating RoomWellSpan York Hospital's General Surgery Residency is a fully accredited, five-year educational program leading to eligibility for certification by the American Board of Surgery. Our program offers four categorical positions at each post-graduate year level of training. Surgical residents not only receive training in general surgery, but also receive extensive experience in the surgical sub-specialties.

WellSpan York Hospital has had a surgery residency program since 1944.  Since our inception, we have enjoyed continuous accreditation.  We obtained a full five-year (next cycle 2016) accreditation in July 2011 as well as an expansion of our program to four graduating residents per year.

Why WellSpan York Hospital?

Top reasons WellSpan York Hospital Surgery residents have chosen this program:

  1. Diversity and volume of surgery (overall 80th percentile total procedures performed as surgeon)
  2. Operating room experience starts early in the training program
  3. Second busiest Level l Trauma Center in Pennsylvania
  4. Surgical Grand Rounds from national speakers
  5. Surgical sub-specialty experience
  6. Only two outside rotations (transplant and pediatric surgery) with an option for a rural surgery rotation 
  7. Strong emphasis on education; full academic schedule on Friday mornings 
  8. Research and quality improvement opportunities
  9. Excellent record of fellowship matriculation
  10. Great location for easy access to cultural events and recreational opportunities
  11. Strong history of departmental missions

Clinical Experience: Our Cornerstone

Clinical experienceWellSpan York Hospital is a 572-bed community teaching hospital that serves as a regional referral center and Level I Trauma Center.  Fully accredited residencies in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Orthopedics and Obstetrics and Gynecology complement our own. 

We have 19 operating rooms and perform over 7,500 inpatient surgeries and over 7,200 outpatient surgeries annually.  An additional 11,000 outpatient surgeries are performed at our Apple Hill Outpatient Surgery Center. Surgeries are also performed in the vascular lab at the WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital. The Emergency Department delivers care to over 68,100 patients annually.  Our program is clinically oriented and affords the resident-progressive supervised patient care responsibilities at all post-graduate levels of training. Operative experience is a strong component of the residency and begins in the junior years of training. Our recent graduates have reported total case experience as surgeon in the 80th percentile nationwide. Resident-run clinic sees 3,000 patient visits and 300 hospital procedures.

Inpatient Services

Acute care services are located strategically to provide optimal trauma and emergency resuscitation.  These include radiology services, the emergency department, the operating room, the surgical intensive care unit, the post-anesthesia care unit, the cardiac diagnostic lab and the pulmonary function lab. 

Teaching conferenceAcute care facilities include a 40-bed intensive care unit. This includes a 10-bed Trauma/Surgical ICU.  Another 20 ICU beds are shared between surgical and medical patients. Post-operative cardiac patients are cared for in a separate Open Heart/Medical ICU. Step-down units allow for an intermediate level of care.  There are 19 operating rooms in WellSpan York Hospital and an additional 10 operating rooms are located at our outpatient facility, Apple Hill Surgical Center. WellSpan York Hospital also operates a separate endoscopy suite in which both outpatient and inpatient procedures are performed. The hospital has a 24-hour laboratory, blood bank and radiology services as well as 24-hour IV teams. Prompt delivery of support services aids in the delivery of excellent patient care and efficient utilization of resident time. Radiology services are available at any hour and our PACS system facilitates review of these studies.

One of our chief residents is assigned to our ward service which provides care to our uninsured and under-insured population.  This service is always staffed by a faculty member who provides immediate and direct supervision, but allows for autonomy where safe and applicable.  Our operating schedule is divided into “blocks” and the chief resident on the ward service has two blocks per week (about 9 hours) in which to schedule elective operative cases.

Education

Surgical grand roundsOur curriculum is structured around the six core competencies and allows for progressive experience and responsibility during the five-year program.  Each clinical rotation has a set of educational goals and objectives which are constructed to obtain an optimal educational experience.  Residents’ performance is evaluated in the outpatient setting, the OR, in the ED and trauma resuscitation area and on ward rounds.  Residents participate actively in our weekly conferences including Morbidity and Mortality conferences, Multidisciplinary conference and Tumor Board.  Residents prepare presentations for our monthly Journal Club which is based on the American College of Surgeons Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery.  Technical skills are taught with a separate curriculum in our Medical Simulation Center.

Every Friday morning, all residents participate in a series of lectures and educational experiences during protected time.  During these periods they are excused from all clinical responsibilities.  Nurse practitioners and faculty are responsible for clinical concerns during this time.  These mornings include our weekly M&M conference, Grand Rounds, basic science lecture series and skills lab.  In addition, a series of lectures is delivered to cover such topics as ethics, informed consent, cultural diversity and coding & billing. Additional educational opportunities include basic and advanced laparoscopic surgery courses, national and regional surgical meeting attendance, the Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM) course and ATLS courses. We participate in mock oral examinations at Johns Hopkins Hospital twice per academic year.

All residents are expected to participate in research projects and our quality curriculum during their five years at WellSpan York Hospital. Residents are required to submit material to national and peer-reviewed venues. The expectation is that residents will participate in at least one research and one quality improvement project by the time of graduation. There is opportunity for residents to participate in system-wide quality projects after completion of the quality curriculum. The Emig Research Center facilitates and encourages our faculty and residents in their research endeavors.

Residents from other departments including Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine and Orthopedics rotate on our surgical services. Orthopedic residents from Memorial Hospital of York rotate on our Plastic Surgery service.

Our surgery residency program enjoys visiting medical students from the Pennsylvania State University at Hershey, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Well Seasoned Leadership

Richard Damewood, M.D., F.A.S.C. Program Director
Richard Damewood, M.D., F.A.C.S., comes to York after 25 years of practice in Baltimore and Chief of Division of General Surgery at Northwest Hospital.  His practice expertise include Breast Surgery, Laparoscopy, plus General Surgery and Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Dr. Damewood also serves as the chair of the WellSpan York Hospital Department of Surgery.
John J. Castronuovo, M.D., F.A.S.C. Associate Program Director
Vanita Ahuja, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S. is board certified in general surgery.  She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins residency program and is the clinical lead of the quality and research program in surgery.   Dr. Ahuja is the York Hospital Director of Surgical Quality and currently serves as the President of the Pennsylvania Consortium of the American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP).

In addition, we have a supportive voluntary faculty of teaching general surgeons.  Many of our faculty are graduates of our program who chose to practice in our community.

Our surgery education committee oversees the curriculum, educational program and performance improvement activities for the residency program. It is comprised of the department chairman, the program director, faculty members and a chief resident. Individually, as well as collectively, residents contribute significantly to the program’s organization, evaluation and development. Our objective is to train general surgeons who are not only responsible and competent practitioners, but also will be leaders in the organizations in which they work.