Advanced Practice Provider Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program

The Advanced Practice Provider Surgical Critical Care Fellowship is dedicated to educating, training, and recruiting APPs in surgery and critical care in order to successfully integrate them into a career in surgery or critical care, while improving the life of every patient now and in the future. The fellowship has two tracks:

Surgical Track

The focus of this APP fellowship program is to provide surgical didactic and clinical experience across the continuum of care for surgical patients. Didactic education will include a comprehensive orientation, a variety of skill labs, case presentations, and weekly education lectures. Clinical rotations will occur in a variety of specialties, including trauma and acute care, surgical oncology, breast, endocrine, urology, transplant, intensive care, and a variety of other surgical specialty teams. This fellowship will provide opportunities for APP fellows to engage in research and quality-improvement initiatives within the hospital with the support of UCHealth and University of Colorado Department of Surgery (DoS) faculty and staff.

The program is designed for both Physician Assistants and Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioners who are interested in a career in general surgery or surgical subspecialty. The fellowship is ideal for new graduates who wish to pursue a career in surgery or practicing APPs who wish to change career focus. The goal of the fellowship is to help APPs smoothly transition into a career in surgery. Rotations will occur across a variety of clinic settings both at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado.

Surgical Critical Care Track

The Advanced Practice Surgical Fellowship-Critical Care track is dedicated to training and recruiting APPs for a career in surgical critical care specialties. The focus of the APP Surgical Fellowship - Critical Care Track is to provide a foundation in surgical critical care through a didactic curriculum and clinical experience in the Surgical- Trauma ICU and the Cardiothoracic ICU, as well as rotations in the MICU, NeuroICU, and General Surgery/Trauma Surgery. In parallel with the APP Surgical Fellowship, didactic education will include a comprehensive orientation, skills labs, case presentation and weekly education lectures with a focus on critical care. The fellowship will also provide opportunities for APP fellows to engage in research and quality improvement initiatives within the critical care setting.  Similarly, this program is designed for both Physician Assistants and Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioners who are interested in a career in critical care, specifically surgical critical care specialties. Rotations for the Surgical Critical Care Track will occur at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.


The Advanced Practice Surgical Critical Care Fellowship is dedicated to educating, training and recruiting APPs in surgery as to successfully integrate them into a career in surgery, while improving the life of every surgical patient now and in the future.

Program Goals

The goals for both the APP Surgical and Critical Care Fellowship programs are to educate and train the APP Fellows to be a qualified, well-prepared practitioner of surgery or critical care who is able to practice at a high level of autonomy and in parallel with standard of care following graduation from the fellowship. The education program at UCHealth encompasses training across a variety of surgical departments, through development of education in clinical management, technical operative skills, quality improvement initiatives and surgical decision making skills.

Over the course of 12 months, fundamentals of education will include a comprehensive 3-week orientation, weekly didactic education, skills labs (including knot tying, training in laparoscopic techniques, tissue labs, along with several other skills labs specialized for the surgical APP) and a range of rotational experiences, including acute care surgery, trauma surgery, critical care, surgical oncology, breast surgery, colorectal surgery, and cardiothoracic.

APP Fellows will have the opportunity to engage in quality improvement and research opportunities with the support from UCHealth and University of Colorado Department of Surgery (DOS) faculty and staff. Fellows are encouraged to participate in national and local surgical conferences. Furthermore, with the help of assigned mentors, they are encouraged to present research and poster presentations.

Benefits and Compensation

A competitive salary in comparison with other APP fellowship programs will be provided to all fellows over the course of 1 year.

Additional benefits include medical insurance, dental insurance, and eye insurance.

Paid time off: To request vacation time, you must send your request to the program director at the start of the fellowship year. Requests will be granted to the extent possible with the surgical residency schedule. You can expect 2 weeks of vacation each year.

Holidays: As an APP fellow, you are not guaranteed holidays, but will be dependent on the needs of your clinical team. Holidays will be discussed on an individual basis and determined prior to the start of your clinical year.

Unplanned absences: Unplanned absences should be kept to a minimum. If you are unable to make it to work for personal circumstances, it is your responsibility to immediately notify the program director on your service as soon as possible.

Continuing Medical Education: Graduates can be expected 50+ hours of CME at the completion of their APP fellowship. APP fellows are also encouraged to attend local and national surgical conferences as available.

Didactic Curriculum

Didactic curriculum will be incorporated throughout the year and alongside clinical curriculum. During the initial 3-week orientation, there will be an emphasis on didactic curriculum, including talks on fluid management, electrolyte replacement, acid/base balance, acute abdomen, surgical emergencies, common surgical complications, need to know anatomy and basics of operating room equipment.

Additional didactic curriculum throughout the clinical year will include weekly Department of Surgery grand rounds, Morbidity and Mortality Presentations, Excellence in Communication Training, monthly journal club and a variety of other conferences as organized by the Department of Surgery and APP Surgical Fellowship Program.

Over the course of the year, with the help of an assigned mentor, fellows will be responsible for identifying and developing quality improvement and research projects. At the end of each year, fellows will be responsible for presenting their cumulative end of year projects to faculty and staff of the fellowship program and department of surgery.

Clinical Curriculum

During the course of the 12-month clinical year, APP Fellows will work alongside surgical residents, including first year interns and chief residents. Duties and experience of the APP Fellow will include obtaining an accurate history and physical examination, presenting a concise HPI, writing orders, reviewing patient records, developing a differential diagnosis for a host of common surgical conditions, assisting in the operative room, ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies, and performing a variety of procedures with the supervising physician. Day and night shifts are to be expected over the course of the year.

Clinical rotations for the Surgical Track will occur at two locations across the UCHealth System, including in Aurora, Colorado at the Anschutz Medical Campus and in Loveland, Colorado at Medical Center of the Rockies. Clinical rotations for the Critical Care Track will occur only at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

During the clinical year, fellows will gain experience in all areas of surgical care management and critical care, including pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative care. Additional skills fellows can expect to acquire include wound care, removal of surgical drains, phlebotomy and Foley placement. Under approved supervision, fellows may also acquire skills in central line placement, arterial line placement, and chest tube placement.

Rotation Goals and Objectives

Rotation goals and objectives are based on the specific rotation and will be provided to each of the fellows at the start of their rotation. Rotations include acute care surgery, trauma surgery, cardiothoracic, Surgical Oncology, Vascular, Transplant, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Surgical ICU, Cardiothoracic ICU, NeuroICU, and MICU, along with several other surgical rotations based on the APP fellow's interests. Advisors will be identified at each of these specific rotations.

Graduation Requirements

APP Fellows will receive clinical feedback after each of their rotations. Each APP Fellow must receive a passing evaluation from each of their clinical rotations to complete the fellowship. Additional, laboratory, skills and classroom testing will occur throughout the year, which fellows will be expected to pass. Each fellow will also develop and complete an end of year project, poster or presentation as a requirement for graduation. Remediation of each of these requirements will be considered on an as needed basis.

For additional questions regarding the program, please email


All applicants must have graduated from a Physician Assistant or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. Additionally, all applicants must have passed or be eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA) certification exam or National ACNP or AGACNP certification exam.

Class of 2023-2024 Timeline

Spring (March) Cohort — Surgical and Critical Care Track

  • Program Application Open: July 2022
  • Application Deadline: October 31, 2022
  • Interviews: November 2022
  • Candidate Selection: November/December 2022
  • Program Start Date: March 2023

Fall (September) Cohort — Surgical Track Only

  • Program Application Open: February 2023
  • Application Deadline: April 31st, 2023
  • Interviews: May 2023
  • Candidate Selection: May/June 2023
  • Program Start Date: September 1st, 2023

Application Requirements

  • Application
  • CV/Resume
  • Official transcripts from any undergraduate college(s) and PA/ACNP school (electronic transcripts are highly preferred).
  • BLS/ACLS certification cards (if available, not required)
  • A one-page personal statement on why you are interested in the APP Surgical Fellowship Program at UCHealth
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one letter from your PA/ACNP Program)
  • National Certification by Professional Credentialing Body (if certified); certification before January 31 is mandatory

Letters of recommendations can be emailed to

Please email/mail all of the above documents to:

University of Colorado School of Medicine
Office of Education, Department of Surgery
12631 E. 17th Avenue, Mail Stop C-291
Aurora, Colorado 80045


You will receive email notification upon completion of your application.

As always, program admission is contingent upon completion of employee health screening, background check and University of Colorado Hospital credentialing process.


Please request that official, sealed transcripts be e-mailed from your undergraduate college/university and your PA/ACNP school.


Following review of all applications, strong applicants will be invited to interview in person or via Zoom.


All candidates will be notified via email of the admission decision once all applications and interviews are completed. A ranked alternative list will be created for applicants who do not immediately receive an APP fellowship spot. Should an accepted candidate withdraw from the program prior to the start date, candidates on the alternative list will be contacted.

Surgical Track

Cris Cribari, MD

Chris Cribari, MD

Medical Director, Medical Center of the Rockies

Akshay Chauhan, MD, MCh

Akshay Chauhan, MD

Medical Director, UCH-Anschutz Medical Campus

Christan Bartsch, MSHS, PA-C, MPH

Christan Bartsch PA-C, MPH

APP Surgical Fellowship Director

Jason Vance, PA-C

Jason Vance, PA-C

APP Site Coordinator, Medical Center of the Rockies

Jennifer Rodgers, DNP

Jennifer Rodgers, DNP

Vice President of Advanced Practice, University of Colorado Hospital and School of Medicine

Founder, UCHealth APP Surgical Fellowship Program

Surgical Critical Care Track

Franklin Wright, MD

Frank Wright, MD

Medical Director - Critical Care Track, UCH-Anschutz Medical Campus

Sam Gilliland, MD

Sam Gilliland, MD

Assistant Medical Director - Critical Care Track, UCH-Anschutz Medical Campus

Alexis Keyworth, PA-C

Alexis Keyworth, PA-C

APP Coordinator/Educational Lead – Critical Care Track


Kathleen Tuthill

Kathleen Tuthill

Director of the Office of Education, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine

How many applicants are accepted each year? When does each cohort begin?

We will select 3 APP Fellows for the Surgical Track and 4 for the Critical Care Track for the Spring (March) 2023 cohort. We will select an additional 3 APP Fellows for the Surgical Track for the Fall (September) 2023 start date.

When do applications open/end?

Applications for Spring cohort usually open in July each year. Applications for the Fall cohort will usually open in January/February each year. Specific dates will be posted on the website. Please see the "How to Apply" tab on this page for additional dates. Applications are accepted until the positions have been filled.

If I apply, when will I be notified of final acceptance/denial?

We typically aim to notify applicants by November or December at the latest for our Spring cohort and May or June for our Fall cohort.

I’m an FNP, can I still apply and be considered?

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to accept FNPs for the APP Surgical or Critical Care Fellowship due to credential requirements within our hospitals.

Can I apply for a cohort prior to having licensure exam results?

Yes, you can apply and be accepted prior to having your PA or NP licensure. We require you take and pass the test 30-60 days prior to your start date.

Do you have to be credentialed in the state of Colorado to apply?

No. Once applicants are accepted, we will help you navigate the credentialing process prior to the program start date.

Should I submit my documents (including my letter of recommendation, transcript, etc.) online with my application?

You are welcome to submit the letter of recommendation to the job posting, provide by email or send a hard copy.

Can I come and shadow the program to learn more?

Unfortunately at this time, we are unable to allow individuals to shadow the program.

Are there any current or graduated fellows that I can speak with regarding their experience with the fellowship?

Yes, we can put you in touch with either current or past fellows.

What are you looking for in candidates?

We look for candidates who express a high interest in surgery or critical care, including pre-operative, post-operative, and intra-operative management. You do not have to have previous experience in surgery or critical care to apply for the position.