Educational Conferences

The goal of the educational conferences of the USA General Surgery Residency is to provide the opportunity for residents to learn in depth the fundamentals of basic and applied sciences as applied to clinical surgery. Conferences are designed to enhance the residents' knowledge base that one must acquire to be a competent surgeon.

  • Monday Q month – Journal club
  • Tuesday - Burn Management Conference
  • Tuesday - Trauma Conference
  • Wednesday - Neuroanatomical Correlation Conference
  • Thursday - Tumor Board
  • Thursday - Basic Science Conference
  • Thursday – Case conference
  • Thursday - Surgical Audit/Quality Improvement Conference
  • Wednesday - monthly from September until June Anatomical Dissection Trauma Conference
  • Friday - Surgical Grand Rounds
  • Simulation labs held on the last Thursday each month


Journal Club

Time: 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Monthly
Location: USA Mastin Bldg.  2nd floor, Room 218 with refreshments

Conference Director: Dr. Jon D. Simmons

The topics and articles follow the Selected Readings in General Surgery (SRGS) that is developed and maintained by the American College of Surgeons. Residents of all PGY levels present the articles. Dr. Simmons leads the discussion to facilitate active learning. This journal club format is designed to allow the residents to understand the study-design, statistical analysis, and impact of the manuscript. The assigned resident reviews the article and discusses its impact on our current management of patients within the realm of the topic being discussed. One resident from each PGY level presents an article at each journal club.


Burn Management Conference

Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Tuesday Afternoons
Location: USAMC, 4th floor, Burn Unit Conference Room

Attendance by residents is mandatory when on the Burn Rotation.


Trauma Conference

This conference involves the multidisciplinary approach to care for the trauma patients. Representatives that are in attendance to this conference are the Trauma Team (attendings, residents, medical students, nurse practitioners) Social work, Nursing, Orthopedics, Physical therapy, Respiratory therapy, Dietitians, and Trauma registry.

Time: 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, Tuesday Afternoons
Location: USAMC 10th floor, Eichold Room


Interdepartmental Neurosurgical Correlation Conference

Activity Schedule: Wednesdays, 8:00 am - 9:00 am, USAMC Conference Center

This conference reviews neuro-radiological images to plan the neurological and/or neurosurgical management of patients with neuroanatomical pathology.


Tumor Board

Time:1st & 2nd Thursday GENERAL Tumor Board, 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location:USAMC 10th Floor Physician Dining Room

Contact: Ms. Yolanda Topin, USAMC 471-7747 (Mon, Thur, Fri), USAMCI 445-9837 (Tues & Wed)


Basic Science Conference

Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Mastin 218

The purpose of the conference is to strengthen the fund of knowledge of surgical residents in preparation for in-service exams and the boards, with an emphasis on interactive learning.


Case Conference

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Mastin 218

Residents present cases from the weekly case-list that is randomly selected by Drs. Rodning, Simmons (Associate Program Director) or Richards (Program Director). There are typically 4-5 cases that are randomly selected. Since the cases are randomly chosen, this conference requires -active preparation as the residents are expected to have reviewed all cases in which they were involved over the past week. This also requires the resident to know the associated literature from each case the previous week and be prepared to defend and discuss the management decisions. The resident presents the patient’s symptoms, diagnostic investigations, operative planning/management, and postoperative course. This conference is designed to create an active learning environment which residents learn presentation skills and patient management in a variety of scenarios.


Morbidity and Mortality Conference

Time: 5:00 pm - 6:00pm, Thursday Afternoons
Location: Mastin 218

This conference reviews weekly morbidities and mortalities in the Department of Surgery, with an emphasis on understanding potential pitfalls and preventing future complications.


Surgical Grand Rounds

Time: 7:00 am - 8:00 am, Friday Mornings
Location: USAMC Conference Center

Conference Director: Charles B. Rodning, M.D., PhD

This is a formal conference featuring visiting professors, local faculty, as well as Chief Residents on topics of educational value in the training of Surgical Residents.


Simulation Lab Sessions

Time: 1 - 5pm Thursday afternoon Q Month
Location: USA COM Simlab Conference Center

The simulation program at USA started with a major grant from the USA Foundation. This Foundation is the body that manages the University of South Alabama Endowments. Simulation centers were created as 3 sites and programs instituted for the College of Medicine, College of Nursing, and College of Pharmacology. This is a major commitment on the part of the University. The Department of Surgery has developed targeted programs in basic surgical skills, stapling techniques, basic laparoscopy, advanced laparoscopy, and in surgical anatomy.


Laparoscopic and Open Skills Lab Sessions

We provide multiple skills labs/sessions for all residents in a variety of venues. Each intern class is given a rigorous technical workshop at the beginning of the PGY-1 year.  This workshop is provided by the faculty and Administrative Chief Residents.

Plastic surgeons from the McCullough institute of Plastic Surgery to provide a tissue-reconstruction workshop for one day each year to all the residents. This occurs in July or August of each year.

We secured a grant to provide 4 animate labs during the 2012-2013 academic year. This will predominately encompass learning laparoscopic techniques and procedures. However, there are also open skills such as hand-sewn intestinal anastomosis techniques as well. The animate labs are assigned based on resident class. The specific operation performed is determined based on the PGY level of the resident. PGY-1 &2= Laparoscopic Appendectomy & Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy & open Small bowel resection. PGY-3= Laparoscopic Nephrectomy, Splenectomy & Laparoscopic Colectomy.  PGY-4&5= Laparoscopic Colectomy, Gastric bypass, Heller Myotomy & Nissen Fundoplication. The goals and objectives of these labs have been written and are accessible on the resident drive and will be integrated into USAonline.

We also provide a laparoscopic skills lab which consists of human cadaver torsos to provide training in laparoscopic colectomy, laparoscopic low anterior resection, and laparoscopic foregut operations. The cadaver labs will also be used to teach open hernia inguinal repair, proper techniques for laparotomy, and open gastric, small bowel and colon operations. There are four of these labs scheduled each calendar year.

We provide an anatomical dissection each month at the Medical School Cadaver Lab. Residents are placed in teams of five people. This begins with a lecture given by the team and is followed by a surgical dissection of the topic on a cadaver. This is video-recorded and also transmitted to the medical center “live” so the residents covering the Trauma service are allowed to participate. There is strong faculty support with the lectures and preparation of the cadaver before the actual dissection. This skills lab session is held monthly and is video-recorded so the Night Float Team can watch the dissection.

Competency and skills acquisition is determined through several mechanisms. Laparoscopic skills are accessed through the Fundamental of laparoscopic Surgery testing that we put each resident through. All of the PGY 4-5 residents have passed this fundamental test. In order to measure basic surgical skills the faculty administers a standardized skills test for basic skills in knot tying, and suturing to the residents. This is the ACS/APDS Surgical Skills curriculum for residents – Phase I. In this test the faculty watch the resident perform basic tasks in surgical skills and they are rated on a 5 point scale from (1) Many unnecessary/disorganized movements to (5) Maximum economy of movement and efficiency. These 2 tests are designed to measure competence in the basics of laparoscopic and open surgery. Additionally residents are evaluated during each rotation as to the acquisition of surgical skills.


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