Medical Student Education

The goal of the UIC Department of Surgery Education program is to provide medical students with an understanding of the field of surgery as a discipline and as a possible career. The educational program provides experiences for all levels of medical students from the first day of medical school to the last. Please take a moment to review the exciting opportunities offered by the department to future physicians. We look forward to assisting you on your medical school journey and welcome you to participate in these enriching opportunities.


Amelia Bartholomew, MD, MPH, FACS
Director, Medical Student Education and Curriculum
Professor and Chief
Division of Translational Research

For additional information, please contact Tricia Harvat,, 312-996-9609 or Amelia Bartholomew,, 312-996-9609.


Opportunities for M1’s and M2’s

The UIC Department of Surgery offers several early experiences for the first and second year medical student. If you are thinking about a career in surgery, we recommend you find a surgeon faculty mentor in a field which interests you as soon as possible.

Experiences can range from attending clinical activities, participating in research, or simply obtaining career advice. Mentors can help you best if they get to know you, so please set up times to meet with them on a regular basis.

Division Faculty Mentor
Cardiothoracic Surgery Malek G. Masad
Colon and Rectal Surgery Anders Mellgren

Johan Nordenstam

Herand Abcarian

Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery Pier Giulianotti

Francesco Bianco

Enrique Fernando Elli

Antonio Gangemi

Pediatric Surgery Bob Arensman
Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery Mimis Cohen

David Morris

Pravin Patel

Surgical Oncology Tapas DasGupta

Michael Warso

Ajay Maker

Transplant Surgery Enrico Benedetti

Hoonbae Jeon

Jose Oberholzer

Translational Research Amelia Bartholomew
Vascular surgery and Wound Care Martin Borhani

William Ennis

Some questions to discuss with your mentors as you plan your career:

  • University based or independent medical center program?
  • Fellowship or straight practice when finished?
  • Urban or rural?
    • Developing nation or missionary work?
  • Need for remaining in a specific geographic location
  • Where to do “Audition” Electives?
  • How to strengthen your Academic Track Record if you are an M1 or M2 and if M3 or M4 where your academic record will place you as a competitive applicant  (An important resource to review,

2011 Main Residency Match 4th Edition

Society of Prospective Surgeons- The Chance to Cut is the Chance to Cure

Getting involved with a group of students with like-minded interests is always a great way to network experiences and opportunities. The Society of Prospective Surgeons organizes information sessions, discussion groups, and dinner meetings with surgical faculty. Consider participating for more information about surgery as a career.

Getting involved

Perhaps the best way of really understanding surgery is to be involved, up close and personal, scrubbed in, watching the excitement. The best way to do this is through the resident and faculty shadow program. Students are paired with either resident or faculty mentors to experience surgery during their time off from class. This is highly individualized, generally requires initiative on the student’s part, and students find it highly rewarding. To get paired up with a resident or faculty member, please contact Tricia Harvat,, 312-996-9609, or Amelia Bartholomew, MD, MPH,


Every two months or so, we run an afternoon suturing lab for M1s and M2s. Here you have the opportunity to suture.  There are surgical residents available for direct supervision and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. These labs usually run every two months and are organized by the Society of Prospective Surgeons and held in Dr Bartholomew’s Laboratory, 5060 COMRB.


Research is an important aspect of the practice of surgery. We urge every student interested in surgery to seek a mentored research experience which can begin as early as the M1 year and continue until graduation.  Many students opt for a research experience in the summer between the M1 and M2 years.  Programs to consider are:

  • Hispanic Center for Excellence- qualified minorities and outstanding students for a research experience between M1-M2 year
  • Craig Felllowship- between M1-M2 year
  • James Scholar Program- chosen after M1 year for three years
  • Summer programs at NIH

For more information and  list of  research areas, please visit the Division of Translational Research.

Other Opportunities

Would you like to start a program called StreetDoctors, teaching young offenders what happens after a stab wound or gunshot wound and how to minimize blood loss? Would you like to work with a surgeon in an underserved community in a developing country? Perhaps you would like to work with the robot? We welcome your ideas, applaud your initiative,  and encourage you to seek the best and most interesting learning opportunities available. We are happy to assist you in all your endeavors as you explore surgery as a career and facilitate these unique experiences.

Additional Resources:

American College of Surgeons Website

Association for Academic Surgery

Essentials for Medical Students and PGY1 Residents

Redefining Surgery

So You Want to Be A Surgeon

Getting Into a Residency by Kenneth V Iserson, 6th Edition; great advice for M1s planning their medical school course for the next four years

For videos and in depth surgical information, please use the library portal to gain entry to McGraw-Hill Access Surgery


The inaugural Surgical Exploration and Discovery (SEAD) program at the University of Illinois took place in May of 2014.   With thanks for the guidance of James T Rutka, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, and  Nada Gawad, University of Toronto medical student, who initiated this program in Toronto, UIC Department of Surgery initiated the UIC version of SEAD under the direction of Drs Antonio Gangemi and Amelia Bartholomew. For additional information and application, please contact Tricia Harvat, MS, or (312) 996-9609.

Practicing vascular anastomosis

Trying out laparoscopic skills

Practicing z-plastics

In this experience, twenty rising M2s are selected to participate in a program designed to introduce them to surgery. Occurring the first 10 days after the close of the M1 year, students enjoy comprehensive observerships in  different surgical specialty areas, informal discussions with lead surgeons, and hands-on workshops where they learn basic surgical skills and techniques in preparation  for the years ahead in medical school.

Learning robotic skills with Dr. Antonio Gangemi

Best of all, we want you to have fun and enjoy yourselves!  Surgery remains a highly motivating and gratifying specialty in medicine, and our long term goal is to encourage the best and brightest medical students at UIC to consider surgery as a life long career.

Getting up close and personal with minimally
invasive instruments in the simulation lab.

SEAD class of 2014

M3 Surgery

Simulation lab: identifying the right
diagnosis and delivering treatment as a team

The M3 Clerkship is 8 weeks of exciting but demanding clinical activities. The M3 student is expected to chronicle their journey through the rotation using the Field Journal. In it, a list of operative cases and procedural competencies guide the student to fully engage in a wide variety of surgical experiences. In addition, the student participates in simulation exercises to gain competencies in trauma as well as advanced  surgical procedures and management strategies.

The Golden Scalpel Award

The Golden Scalpel Award is awarded to the attending by the students for being an inspiring role model and outstanding teacher. Three awards per academic year are given. Please email recommendations to Amelia Bartholomew, MD, MPH, FACS, and Tricia Harvat,

2013 Golden Scalpel Award Winners

  • Michael Warso, MD Surgical Oncology, UIH
  • Alejandra Perez-Tamayo, Surgical Oncology, Mercy Hospital
  • Michael Prendergast, Vascular Surgery, St. Francis Hospital

2014 Golden Scalpel Award Winners

  • Francesco Bianco, General Surgery, UIH
  • Anngell Jones, Trauma/Critical Care Surgery, Mt. Sinai Hospital
  • Joseph Brosnan, General Surgery, Advocate Christ Hospital

M3 Silver Scalpel Award

The Silver Scalpel Award is awarded to the M3 Student who has achieved an outstanding evaluation clinically and has scored >90 on the Shelf Exam. All students can qualify for this award. This award includes a certificate of excellence, a monetary prize, and an outstanding recommendation by the Clerkship Director or Department Chair to the residency program (s) of your choice (if requested) as a student who has displayed mastery for their level in the field of surgery. This award is bestowed on the first Friday of June during the Annual Olga Jonasson Symposium, held at the University Club, 76 East Monroe, Chicago.

2012 Silver Scalpel Winners 2013 Silver Scalpel Winners 2014 Silver Scalpel Winners 2015 Silver Scalpel Winners
Daniel Choi Neha Agnihotri Natalie Bodmer Your name here!!
Thomas Caradonna Michael Blasco* Ann Bruno
Stephanie Gallitano Abdulrahman Dia Michael Ferrera*
Ahmad Parvinian * Sumanth Kidambi David Fuller
Nathan Stackhouse Girish Mohan Maria Gomez
Gillian Treadwell Keerthi Ranganath Puja Gopal
Thomas Wubben Tyler Surma* Leland Gossett
Lindsay Zak Sergey Turin* Ryan Harold
Melody Lee
Irene Lewnard
Mengyuan Liu
Nicole Lopez
Steven Pearson
James Roring

* denotes a score of 99 on the exam

The M4 Experience

M4 year is filled with rotations in your chosen field, investigating other programs in away rotations. For students choosing surgery as their career, specific rotations in cardiopulmonary medicine, radiology, and anesthesia are highly recommended. It is also highly recommended that sub-specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, and gynecology are explored depending on which interfaces with the student’s surgical interests, since this is the last time the student has the opportunity to explore other facets of medical care.

Radiology, Surgery, Anatomy

For those students seeking highly specialized education in radiology with a surgical twist, the Department of surgery along with the Departments of Radiology and Anatomy offer the RSA course, a 4 week course integrating surgical cases with radiology case interpretation and cadaveric surgical dissection. The Course Director is Dr Norm Lieska,, Department of Anatomy, along with Drs Ejaz Shamim,, from the Department of Radiology, and Hoonbae Jeon,,  from the Department of Surgery. We look forward to welcoming dedicated M4s to this exciting course where they will have a chance to envision the anatomy through a surgical approach on cadavers, discuss surgical cases with extensive radiologic findings, and spend time viewing the radiologic images to hone their skills in diagnostic interpretation.

Gustav W. Giebelhausen M.D. Scholarship for Class of 2015

This scholarship is given to an outstanding fourth year medical student pursuing a career in general surgery. Candidates should be committed to the deliverance of compassionate, high quality patient care and display a comprehensive surgical knowledge base.  Additional considerations will include outstanding performance on the M3 surgery clerkship rotation and financial need.

Class of 2013 – Chris Eden

Class of 2014 – James Hendele

Applying to Residency

We hope every student desiring a career in surgery will successfully obtain the right training program that fits their needs. It is best to begin as early as possible in preparing for this career.


  • M1- Put into place a Part I boards studying program, consider research opportunity, shadow surgeons, identify a surgical faculty mentor, see resources under M1/M2
  • Summer between M1/M2 year- SEAD, consider a research opportunity
  • M2- complete research projects, study for Part I boards
  • M3- formalize mentor in surgical field, Plan 4th year elective schedule, schedule away rotations
  • M4, summer- secure letters of recommendation, take Step II, USMLE

We recommend that the student completes the materials  for the surgical application by mid-July including the personal statement and selection of faculty who will furnish letters of recommendation.  This permits the student and faculty mentor ample time to complete a well-prepared application to residency program directors.

The Warren Cole Society

We invite  students who have matched into a surgery residency  to become members in training in the Warren Cole Society. This society, spanning practicing surgeons for nearly 100 years, is  a rich legacy of outstanding surgeon alumni of the University of Illinois.

We always welcome news from our alumni and look forward to learning about all your amazing accomplishments- from the first whipple to your first child to your first partnership position. Please email us with your news and we will put it in our newsletter!!