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Medical Student Overview

Welcome to the Department of Anesthesiology’s Medical Student web page. Our department offers resources for medical students rotating in our department, which includes 3rd- and 4th-year medical students and visiting students. For more information, please click on the tabs below, and also take a look at the Department of Surgery's Third Year Course for more information.

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3rd - Year Medical Students

The Clinical Core Curriculum (Phase III) consists of required and elective clinical clerkships and incorporates many disciplines of medicine.

During implementation of a new integrated curriculum in 2004, the third year, six-week surgical clerkship and 1-2 week anesthesiology electives were replaced by a combined 8-week Operative and Perioperative Care Block.

In 2018, this was modified again so all students completed a two-week anesthesiology rotation, a two-week surgical subspecialty rotation and a four-week general surgery rotation.

In 2020, COVID-19 related PPE shortages and restrictions forced us to make the difficult decision to change anesthesiology to an elective rotation. Acceptance to the rotation is based on constantly changing student quotas for each site, which allow us to provide of meaningful and education experience based on the unique COVID-19 environment in which we now work.

The clerkship is a patient-centered model where students follow patients from admission to discharge, on the surgical wards, in pre-op, the operating room, post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), critical care, etc.

During the anesthesiology rotation, students receive an understanding of anesthesiology principles and procedures.

Sites of student rotations while on anesthesiology include: main OR, chronic pain clinic and procedure suite, acute pain rounding service, acute pain regional block team and the pre-operative clinic.

End of block activities include an OSCE, PBLD and written evaluation. 

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4th - Year Medical Students


ANES 8000 Clinical Anesthesia

Students will work one-on-one with anesthesia faculty and residents to gain further practical experience in all aspects of peri-operative care; improving skills gained in the third year and developing a deeper understanding of the breadth of anesthetic practice. Course is completed at Children's Hospital Colorado and Denver Health.

Students will be expected to perform pre-operative assessment, formulate basic anesthetic plan, and see that plan carried out through the peri-operative period. Students will be under direct supervision by Anesthesiology residents as well as Faculty attendings.

Course Director Information

Mario Villasenor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Site Contact Information Denver Health: Aaron Murray, MD 

Children's Hospital Colorado: Joan Strong, MD


ANES 8001 - Surgery Intensive Care (SICU) Sub-I

Surgical Trauma Intensive Care 8001 is a 4th year rotation as an Acting Intern, Externship or Elective, prior to which an Anesthesia rotation is required.

The STICU typically experiences significant patient volume, high acuity & complexity and is staffed by attendings, advanced practice providers, fellows, surgery & anesthesia residents.

Daily rounding follows a family-oriented, multi disciplinary/specialty manner.

AI's present on rounds, follow residents' call schedules to help prepare for PGY1 year, participate in procedures, consults, daily didactics and direct teaching.

Compliance with UCDSOM graduation requires Communication & Quality Improvement Projects to be completed during the 4 weeks.

The rotation may help for those for whom anesthesia, surgery, emergency medicine, ENT or other acute specialties are being considered.

Written materials, orientation, mid-point and exit feedback are provided. Opportunity for honoring exists.


Course Director Information

Fareed Azam, MD ChB Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care


ANES 8002 - Subspecialties

Course exposes students to subspecialty areas in Anesthesiology. Students will attain additional experience in selected areas of anesthetic practice. Options include Acute and Chronic Pain, OB, Cardiothoracic, Neurosurgery, Transplant and General OR.

Students will be expected to perform pre-operative assessment, formulate basic anesthetic plan, and see that plan carried out through the peri-operative period. Students will be under direct supervision by Anesthesiology residents as well as Faculty attendings.

Course Director Information

Mario Villasenor, MD Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the mean Step 1 and Step 2 score for incoming Anesthesiology residents? 232/241
  • How many incoming residents are members of AOA? 10%
  • Do I need to do research to successfully match to an Anesthesiology Residency program? There is a moderate importance placed on research experiences. Overall, the mean number of research experiences reported by matched applicants was 2.7. The mean number of abstracts, presentation, and publications was 4
  • Should I do an Anesthesia elective at an outside institution? The short answer for this question is: it depends. If there is a particular program that you must match to for whatever reason (geographic necessity, academic interest, deciding between two different programs, etc.), it may be good to complete an elective at this institution. This would give you the opportunity to put your best foot forward and show that you deserve to be at this particular program. Many programs also automatically offer interviews to students who perform away rotations at their institution. If you have a concern about your overall application being sufficiently qualified to be offered an interview at a particular program, this situation may benefit you. Many times, too, programs feel more comfortable ranking applicants higher if they know the student already. On the other hand, you must make sure that you excel beyond the other students at the program you are visiting. You will likely be scrutinized more intensely than other students because you are a visiting student. You will need to learn a new hospital and system very quickly. You will have to hit the ground running from day one with no letting up for the entire month.
  • How many Anesthesiology residency programs are there throughout the US? 132
  • How many programs should I apply to? The average number of programs that successfully matched applicants applied to was 34.4.
  • How many letters of recommendation do I need? You will need 3-4 letters. You should have at least one letter from an Anesthesiology faculty member. Another letter submitted on your behalf will be a combined letter from the CU Anesthesiology program director and chair of the department. 3 other letters can be from faculty of your choosing from any specialty. When choosing letter writers, make sure they can speak highly to your ability to work in a hospital setting, work hard, and work with a team.
  • What type of Sub-I should I do? What if the SICU elective is full? Will this hurt my changes of a successful match if I don't complete a Sub-I by interview time? The only Anesthesia-specific Sub-I is the SICU, ANES 8001 elective. It is by no means a requirement for matching to an Anesthesiology residency. You will learn a lot, but a MICU Sub-I elective is equally educational. You can always select this elective if the SICU elective is full. In reality, it may even be more beneficial if you are planning on doing a medicine intern year. If you don't complete your Sub-I by the time you start interviewing, that is okay. Programs will not require that you complete a Sub-I by this point. However, in terms of scheduling, you may find it easier to get time away from this demanding elective if your interviews are either before or after your Sub-I.
  • Which electives are better? This is entirely student-dependent. Many students enjoy the SICU elective, and it fulfills your Sub-I requirement, but you will not be doing much "actual anesthesia" during this time. In the subspecialty elective, ANES 8002, you will have the opportunity to participate in the specialties of OB Anesthesia, Chronic and Acute Pain management or Cardiothoracic Anesthesia. You will have a continuous week during this elective, likely working with the same resident and attending for a continuous period of time. If you are aiming to secure a letter of recommendation during this rotation, it could help to participate in an elective where you work with a single faculty member more than just a handful of times. The clinical Anesthesiology elective, ANES 8000, is also very well received by students. This is completed at Children's Hospital and Denver Health.
  • Is it okay that I am deciding between Anesthesiology and another specialty? Yes
  • Is it okay that I was the interest group president for another medical specialty or if I completed a lot of research in something totally unrelated to Anesthesiology? Yes, that is okay. Many students do not choose to pursue a career in Anesthesiology until later in medical school. By this time, students may have entertained the idea of pursuing many different specialties. The important thing here is that you have experience in a leadership role or completing work that you spent a significant amount of time on. This speaks highly to your work ethic, organization skills, and ability to lead others.
  • What other electives should I consider during my fourth year besides the Anesthesiology electives? An ECG elective course will be helpful throughout your career, and you can't review this enough. The applied clinical pharmacology course is helpful as you will be dosing drugs throughout your entire career. Other subspecialty electives are also beneficial as an Anesthesiologist deals with all body systems. Basically, use your fourth-year elective time to fill in gaps in your knowledge or enroll in courses that you may never have the chance to do again as you progress through residency.

Education Links

CU library website (Anesthesiology e-Books & Books):

Maps: University Hospital, Denver Health, and Children's Hospital.

Externs and Visiting Students

To Apply for An Externship
Medical, osteopathic or international students who are interested in taking fourth year electives at CU, please visit, as well as the Externship Application to complete our supplementary application.

What to Bring
Bring your school ID, white jacket, pager, driver's license, a small padlock, and any hard copies of your school’s evaluation form. You will be issued a photo UCH ID to use for identification while you are here. The hospital will issue you two sets of scrubs at a time. You will be expected to dress professionally several times a week for clinics, grand rounds, etc.

The UCD Student Assistance Office has listings for housing.

The Anschutz Medical Campus Parking Office has maps, rates, and other information about parking. Time is allowed during orientation for you to purchase a parking pass. You will need your car registration information, payment (check, credit card, or cash), and campus ID to obtain parking. The first day of the course, park at the Cheyenne Wells Parking Lot ($5 for 12 hours).

Residency Links



Timeline for Application:



3rd - Year Medical Student Co-Clerkship Director
Jason Papazian, MD


3rd - Year Medical Student Co-Clerkship Director 
Scott Vogel, DO

David Douin

4th – Year Medical Student Course Director (Course ANES 8001)
David J Douin, MD


4th – Year Medical Student Course Director (Courses ANES 8000, 8002, 8100 & 8600)
Mario Villasenor, MD

Lauren Testa

Medical Student Program Coordinator
Lauren Testa 
Phone: 303.724.1765
Academic Office 1, Room 2001
12631 E. 17th Avenue. Mail Stop 8202, 
Aurora, CO 80045