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Medical Students

Message from our Director Heading link

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:

Opportunities for Medical Students Heading link

Below, you’ll discover the opportunities available for medical students interested in surgery.

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.

DivisionFaculty Mentor
Cardiothoracic SurgeryMalek G. Masad (
Colon and Rectal SurgeryAnders Mellgren (
Johan Nordenstam (
Herand Abcarian (
Minimally Invasive and Robotic SurgeryPier Giulianotti (
Francesco Bianco (
Enrique Fernando Elli (
Antonio Gangemi (
Pediatric SurgeryBob Arensman (
Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive SurgeryMimis Cohen (
David Morris (
Pravin Patel (
Surgical OncologyTapas DasGupta (
Michael Warso (
Ajay Maker (
Transplant SurgeryEnrico Benedetti (
Hoonbae Jeon (
Jose Oberholzer (
Translational ResearchAmelia Bartholomew (
Vascular surgery and Wound CareMartin Borhani (
William Ennis (

Surgical Exploration and Discovery (SEAD) Program

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.

Some of the activities that were done by students during this program were:

  • 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.

For additional information and application, please contact Tricia Harvat, MS, or (312) 996-9609.

Surgery Clerkship

The third year Clerkship is 8 weeks of exciting but demanding clinical activities. The third year 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.

Fourth 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 fourth years 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.

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.


  • First year – 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 first and second year- SEAD, consider a research opportunity
  • Second year – complete research projects, study for Part I boards
  • Third year- formalize mentor in surgical field, Plan 4th year elective schedule, schedule away rotations
  • Fourth year, 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!!