A Message from Amy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS
Chair and Professor of Surgery
Surgeon-in-Chief of Temple University Health System
General Surgery Residency Program Director
To provide the highest quality care for every patient, and to provide the highest quality education and training for every surgical resident--these are the top priorities of every member of our teaching faculty at Temple. This departmental mission distinguishes us from many other competitive surgical residency programs. It also creates the unique camaraderie that characterizes our surgical training program, and binds our faculty and residents together with the mutual respect and understanding long characteristic of our great profession.
We achieve excellence in patient care and resident education by adhering to our departmental core values. These are the principles that motivate the people in our organization. Since it is important for a leader to help define and articulate these tenets, please permit me as Interim Chairperson to reiterate these fundamental principles of the Temple Department of Surgery. They are quality, respect, safety, teamwork, trust, and integrity. These are the core values that our faculty, residents, and support staff will not compromise. They define who we are. They energize us and make work fun.
In addition to our departmental core values, the six ACGME core competencies help us achieve clinical excellence because they define what we do and help us to measure it. In essence, the six core competencies (patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice) help us recognize and measure clinical excellence. An excellent surgeon is someone who is better than most of their peers in all of the core competencies. At Temple, our finishing chief residents excel in all the core competencies. This requires ongoing constructive but rigorous assessment and feedback between faculty and residents (i.e. faculty evaluate the residents and residents evaluate the faculty), which we take seriously.
Over the last several years there have been several important changes that have improved the already strong educational milieu for our residents. Clinically, the surgical volume in the Temple University Health System continues to grow yearly, providing our surgical residents an outstanding breadth and depth of experience in the primary and secondary areas of general surgery. There is an emphasis on new technology, including minimally invasive surgery, and evidence-based practice. Over the past several years, our department at Temple University Hospital (TUH) has grown from 17 to 32 full time faculty. These full time attendings and our surgical residents care for all the surgical patients seen by our department at TUH and Jeanes Hospital. These hospitals are owned and operated by Temple University Health System. In addition, a comparable number of dedicated private practice surgeons teach and supervise our residents at our closely integrated and affiliated institutions.
Educationally, we have improved our formal didactic program by both consolidating the mandatory teaching conferences on Wednesday morning, and freeing our residents from clinical responsibilities during this time. We take the 80-hour workweek seriously, and have essentially been in compliance with this important ACGME guideline for the last several years. Over the past 5 years, we have developed and refined a surgical skills curriculum that is delivered every Wednesday afternoon to 4-6 residents in our state-of-the-art skills lab/simulation center. These residents are free of clinical responsibility for these 3 hours and receive personalized hands-on level-appropriate instruction from a faculty member.
Academically, we have improved the elective research experience available to our junior residents. We continue to be committed to providing high quality research training for one or two years to any resident who desires it (this is not mandatory). We anticipate that at any given time we will have 2, 3, or 4 residents in the laboratory for a one- or two-year elective research experience. Currently, all research residents are working with NIH-funded investigators; some are supported by a recently obtained NIH T32 training grant in the Department of Surgery.
Next year, two of our categorical residents will begin a 2-year research hiatus at the end of which they will receive an M.S. in Clinical and Translational Research. We are very excited about this new high quality research experience and anticipate two to three of our seven categorical residents entering this track per year at the end of their second year.
I am frequently asked what we are looking for in applicants to our surgical residency. We are looking for people who share our department's core values, and who have demonstrated by their prior performance that they have the potential to master the core competencies that define in large part the art and science of surgery. Thank you for visiting our web site. We welcome your inquiries and your application.