Welcome to the website for the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program at the University of Colorado. Our two-year fellowship was established in 1993. Our mission is to provide a well-rounded pediatric surgical education in all facets of our specialty. Our global objective is to prepare the graduates of our program to step into their careers prepared to meet the challenges of the profession, regardless of their ultimate career goals.
During the two-year curriculum, fellows work exclusively at the Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora. During the first year, the fellow rotates a month each on Neonatology, Critical Care, and Urology. The rotations provide a focused, in-depth experience in each of these subspecialty areas which are important aspects of pediatric surgical practice. The other nine months are spent on Pediatric Surgery where the trainee will develop expertise in the diagnostic, operative, and perioperative surgical care of patients, from prenatal diagnosis through adolescence, with congenital and acquired anomalies and diseases. As Chief, the second year is designed to prepare the fellow for independent practice, to broaden his/her experience in all areas of pediatric surgery, and to provide greater depth of knowledge in neonatal surgical problems, oncology, trauma management, and surgical disorders of the chest and abdomen. The fellowship is organized to ensure that the trainee is prepared for the American Board of Surgery – Pediatric Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Examinations. Regardless of a fellow's ultimate career goal, the faculty is absolutely committed to helping all fellows achieve their goals.
The graduates of our program have established very successful careers across the country. Our fellows are in both academic medical centers and private practice. Regardless of the area of clinical focus, the graduates of our programs have consistently provided feedback that they were more than ready to function independently upon completion of the fellowship program.
Thank you for your interest in our program.
David A. Partrick, MD
Professor of Surgery,
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Director of Surgical Endoscopy,
Children's Hospital Colorado
The global objective of the Pediatric Surgery program is to teach fellows the skills necessary to become well-rounded pediatric surgeons. In addition, it is our interest to align our training program with modern career objectives. Throughout the fellowship, the resident is given graded responsibility, both in and outside the operating room. The rotation schedule for the fellowship is designed to achieve this global objective, while at the same time permitting some flexibility.
Length of Program: 2 Years
Number of Positions: 1 per year
During the first year, the fellow's time will be divided between the Pediatric Surgery, one month each in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and on Pediatric Urology. There is also the opportunity to do an elective rotation on another service; cardiothoracic surgery, gynecology, neurological surgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, anesthesia, vascular surgery, transplant surgery, urology, and the management of burns.
The Pediatric Surgery service is divided into two teams, trauma and acute care surgery (TACS) and pediatric specialty surgery (PSS). The TACS service includes trauma and burn patients but also patients with acute surgical problems like appendicitis, cholecystitis, bowel obstructions, foreign bodies, etc. and manages all surgical patients in the PICU. The PSS service includes neonatal surgical patients, children with solid tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, thoracic disorders (e.g., pectus, lung lesions, empyema) and a variety of non-urgent pediatric surgical problems. The fellow will be responsible for the preoperative evaluation of patients and will learn the risks and benefits of the operations and how to counsel patients appropriately. Primary responsibility for postoperative care will be provided by the fellow with the supervisory oversight of the attending pediatric surgeon. Over the course of the fellowship, the fellows will acquire graded responsibilities as primary surgeon.
The fellow will rotate in the NICU for one month where he/she will participate in multispecialty team to manage babies in the neonatal intensive care unit following surgical procedures and with non-surgical problems. Specifically, the fellow will acquire competence in the surgical care of the critically-ill infant or child requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation, fluid and inotrope management, nutritional support (parenteral and enteral), ventilator management and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The fellow will function as an integral member in the care team especially for critically ill neonatal surgical patients in order to acquire knowledge, skills, and competence in the pre-, intra-, and post-operative care of infants. The fellow must document care of at least 20 neonatal surgical patients.
The fellow will rotate in the PICU for one month where he/she will develop competence in the management of surgical, trauma, and other intensive care patients. The Pediatric Surgery fellow will be integral members of the patient care/rounding team, making decisions about patient care, and in particular, the surgical care of the patient. The fellow should develop competence in their knowledge of invasive and non-invasive monitoring techniques and interpretation. The fellow will acquire the medical knowledge and experience required to manage pediatric surgery patients who require TPN, ECMO, fluids/vasopressors, and ventilators. The fellow must document the care of at least 10 critically-ill pediatric surgical patients.
The fellow will rotate for one month on the pediatric urology service. The objective is to develop knowledge and understanding of the basic principles applicable to pediatric urology; including pre-operative evaluation, making provisional diagnoses, initiation of diagnostic procedures, formation of preliminary treatment plans, and recommendations for outpatient follow-up care of pediatric urologic surgical patients. The fellow will participate in clinic, on the wards and in the operating room under the supervision of the pediatric urology attending.
By the end of the first year, it is the expected that the fellow is fully capable of performing straightforward pediatric surgery procedures with minimal assistance. Virtually all general pediatric surgery cases are performed by the fellow with faculty assistance.
The second-year fellow will function as a chief fellow and serve as leader of the pediatric surgery service. He/she will lead the team of fellows, residents, interns and students. It is the senior fellow's responsibility to organize and participate in the formal pediatric surgery conferences, including quality improvement and/or patient safety conferences. Additionally, the fellow has a responsibility for teaching junior residents and medical students. The senior fellow should provide consultative role for the pediatric surgery service to primary pediatric patient care teams, multispecialty teams in the Emergency Department and to neonatologists and intensivists. The fellows will have a leadership role in patient care, under the supervision of pediatric surgery faculty members, including the pre-, intra-, and post-operative care of such patients. The fellow must acquire an appropriate breadth, volume, and balance of operative experience graded responsibilities for more complex pediatric surgical problems. When the fellow's operative experience justifies, he/she should function as primary surgeon; including at least 50 cases as teaching assistant.
It is our ultimate goal to prepare our fellows not only to satisfactorily pass the ABS certification examination, but to excel beyond that to a level of expertise that will allow the fellow to become a future leader in their area of specialty. To assist in this endeavor, we have many educational activities which include:
Applications should be made through the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) by completing the appropriate forms and submitting the required supporting material. After review of this material, candidates are selected for in-person interview. Our interview season runs from February through March. Candidates will be contacted by e-mail regarding their application status. Pediatric Surgery then matches with one fellow candidate each May, who will begin a two-year fellowship rotation the following August.
Candidates must have successfully completed an ACGME-accredited General Surgery Residency. We have no minimum USMLE Step I score requirement; however, scores above the 220 level are advantageous. We require three letters of recommendation and accept no more than four.
Fellows in our program must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to train at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Questions about the fellowship program can be directed to Michael Benge, Fellowships Coordinator for the Division of Pediatric Surgery:
Michael J. Benge, MHA