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General Surgery Residency

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The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) General Surgery Residency Program is in collaboration with Mission Hospital. During the five-year residency, residents will complete a number of surgical rotations including rural hospital surgery, wound, breast, burn, acute care surgery, pediatric surgery, trauma surgery, vascular surgery, endocrine surgery, minimally invasive surgery, oncology and colorectal surgery, and hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery.

  • Mission Hospital is licensed for 815 beds with 47 operating rooms and a new critical care tower
  • Mission Children’s Hospital includes 130 beds with 60 board-certified pediatric subspecialists providing care in 23 different specialties
  • Mission Hospital's emergency department has 100,000 patient visits per year, the trauma center admits 3,400 patients per year, and the helicopter transports more than 1,000 patients per year
  • Faculty includes 12 critical-care-certified acute care surgeons, 8 subspecialty surgeons, 2 pediatric surgeons and 5 vascular surgeons
  • At more than 35,000 surgical procedures each year, Mission Hospital is one of the busiest surgical hospitals in the state of North Carolina

Our Team

Courtney Sommer, MD, FACS Courtney Sommer, MD, FACS
Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Trauma Surgery Faculty

Sean O’Connor, MD, FACS Sean O’Connor, MD, FACS
Associate Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Subspecialty Surgery Faculty

Scott John, MD, FACS Scott John, MD, FACS

Surgical Simulation Center Director
Trauma Surgery Faculty


Contact

Jenna Hunter, MEd, C-TAGME Jenna Hunter, MEd, C-TAGME
Program Administrator
email jenna.hunter@mahec.net
phone (828) 771-4229

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The NC AHEC Program provides and supports educational activities and services with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train, and retain the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina. Located in Asheville, MAHEC is one of nine centers in the NC AHEC Program and serves the western part of our state.

MAHEC was established in 1974 and serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. MAHEC is the largest Area Health Education Center in North Carolina and evolved to address national and state concerns with the supply, retention, and quality of healthcare professionals. MAHEC’s approach to caring for patients is based on an advanced care team model. Our general surgery residency program is located on the same campus with family medicine, internal medicine, transitional year, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, pharmacy, and dental residencies.

MAHEC’s Biltmore campus is also home to UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, an academic health center in partnership with UNC Chapel Hill that includes programs from the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Asheville, and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.


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Tracing its roots back nearly 120 years and based in Asheville, NC, Mission Health is the tertiary care referral center for the western part of the state and the adjoining region. Mission Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics. Mission Health is the only health system in the nation to receive this recognition four years in a row, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve Top 15 recognition.

Our mission is to improve the health of the people of Western North Carolina and the surrounding region.

Our core values, “MERIT,” are the foundation of our workplace and culture:

  • Mercy: We work to create a caring and compassionate environment responsive to the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of all persons.
  • Excellence: We strive to meet and exceed our patients’ and consumers’ needs, and work collectively to improve every aspect of our care and services.
  • Respect: We value the innate dignity of all persons, respect their uniqueness and diversity, and enable the development of each person’s full potential.
  • Integrity: We are consistently open, honest, and ethical. We abide by our Corporate Compliance Program and integrity statement to always do the right thing by being honest in our interactions with one another, our patients, and our business contacts.
  • Trust/Teamwork: We say what we mean and do what we say, and work collectively to improve every aspect of our care and services.

4th Year Medical Student Rotations

MAHEC offers a variety of student rotations in Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Rural Medicine, and Psychiatry for both in-state and out-of-state students interested in our residency programs. Learn more about our 4th year medical student rotations

Values Statement

  • Excellence: We deliver quality activities and services that our customers and partners value.
  • Diversity: We promote equity and inclusivity.
  • Integrity: We act with fairness, transparency, and the highest level of ethics.
  • Collaboration: We value partnerships and support interprofessional approaches.
  • Improvement: We continuously innovate and improve our work.

Foundational Principles

  • Civility: We treat all people with respect and kindness, all the time.
  • Inclusivity: We value the contribution of people different than ourselves and the merits of an organization that reflects differences in our teams and our community.
  • Empowerment: We value engagement, commitment, and ownership of MAHEC’s mission, work, and budget.

Our Commitment

MAHEC is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive place to work, learn, and receive care. We actively recruit physicians, staff, and students from underrepresented minorities, and we strive to implement policies and procedures that value and support diverse backgrounds and experiences. MAHEC does not discriminate on the basis of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, spiritual practice, geography, disability, or age.


PGY1 Mission EGSI (Blue Service) Mission Subspecialty Surgery (HBP) Mission Subspecialty Surgery (MIS) Mission Trauma Surgery/Wound Clinic Mission NeuroTrauma ICU/ED Trauma Consult
Site 1 1 1 1 1
% Outpatient 20 75 75 20 0
% Research 5 5 5 5 5

PGY2 Mission NeuroTrauma ICU/ED Trauma Consult Mission Vascular Surgery II Mission EGSII (Blue Service) VAMC Vascular Surgery Mission Subspecialty Surgery (Abdominal Wall)
Site 1 1 1 3 1
% Outpatient 0 20 20 50 75
% Research 5 5 5 0 5

PGY3 Mission Breast Surgery Haywood General Surgery III Mission Pediatric Surgery UNC Burn/Transplant Rotation VAMC Endoscopy
Site 1 5 1 2 3
% Outpatient 75 20 40 0 100
% Research 0 0 0 0 0

PGY4 VAMC General Surgery IV Mission Subspecialty Surgery (MIS) Mission Vascular Surgery IV Pardee General Surgery IV Mission EGS IV (Blue Service)
Site 3 1 1 4 1
% Outpatient 30 75 20 30 20
% Research 0 5 5 0 5

PGY5 Mission Subspecialty Surgery (MIS) Mission Subspecialty Surgery (HPB) Mission EGS V (Blue Service Mission Vascular Surgery V VAMC General Surgery V
Site 1 1 1 1 3
% Outpatient 30 30 20 1 30
% Research 5 5 5 20 0

Publications

In addition to surgical rotations, all residents are expected to participate in meaningful and relevant research as part of UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC. Please visit our General Surgery Library Guide for a current listing of our research publications. If you have a publication not listed on our guide, please contact surgeryres@mahec.net.

General Surgery Residency Program Library Guide


Presentations

Names in bold indicate authors affilated with our General Surgery residency program and UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC. Please see the key at the bottom of the page for affiliation details.

  • Hoffman MRGS. Fighting Opioid Addiction and Managing Surgical Pain. Presented at the Joint annual meeting of the North and South Carolina Chapters of the American College of Surgeons. July 2019. Pinehurst, NC.

  • Morris RGSr, Hoffman MRGS, Smith T, Schurr MGS. Early comfort care following operative intervention for traumatic injury. Presented at the Joint annual meeting of the North and South Carolina Chapters of the American College of Surgeons. July 2019. Pinehurst, NC.

  • Taylor R, Hoffman MRGS, Large TM, Shulman K, Gosnell J, Smith T. Multifocal infarctions with potential for full recovery. Presented at the American Association of Neurology Annual Meeting, May 2019. Philadelphia, PA.

  • Mastriani KGS, Lafitte E, Schurr MGS. Creating a Morbidity and Mortality Conference in a Previously Non-Academic Hospital: a Two-Year Evolution. Presented at Surgical Education Week of the Association for Surgical Education. April 2019. Chicago, IL.

  • O’Neill, AMGSr & Yancey KHGS. A Unique Case of a Ventral Incisional Hernia Following Mesh Disruption during Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. Presented at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons National Conference. April 2019. Baltimore, MD.

  • Duverseau MOGSr, Suma DGSr, Galvin SLOB, Conquest AMGS, Schurr MGS. Severely Injured Trauma Patients Can Be Managed On a General Care Ward. Presented at the Association for Academic Surgery Annual Academic Surgical Conference. February 2019. Houston, TX.

  • Morris, REGSr & Schurr MJGS. Colonic Hemorrhage Associated with Splenic Vein Thrombosis. Presented at the Southeastern Surgical Conference, February 2019. Charlotte, NC.

  • Schurr MJGS. Perspectives of an ‘Academic’ Level II Program. Presented at the Southeastern Surgical Conference, February 2019. Charlotte, NC.

  • Waterman Manning, SJGSr & Schurr MJGS. The use of Microlyte AG Bioresorbable Wound Matrix as a Surgical Implant to Prevent Postoperative Surgical Site Infection. Presented at the Southeastern Surgical Conference, February 2019. Charlotte, NC.

  • Henretta JPGS, Wagner MAGSr, Kirby LBGS, Douglas MGGS, MacMillan DJGS, Duverseau MOGSr, Williamson WKGS. Balloon-Assisted Remote External Iliac Artery Endarterectomy - A Safe and Durable Technique for the Treatment of Iliac Artery Occlusive Disease. Presented at the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery Annual Meeting. January 2019. Boca Raton, FL.

  • Yancey KGS. Remnant stomach perforation: a unique presentation of obstructed internal hernia after gastric bypass. Presented at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons National Conference. April 2018. Seattle, WA.

  • Hoffman MRGS. Opioid Crisis: North Carolina and Beyond. Annual Conference of North Carolina Child Support Council. August 2018. Asheville, NC.

  • Hoffman MRGS. Mindfulness in Surgery. Ninth Annual Women in Surgery Career Symposium. February 2018. Clearwater, FL.

  • Hoffman MRGS. Stopping the Epidemic of Opioid Addiction and Death: Knowledge is Power. Buncombe County Commissioners Town Hall. November 2017. Black Mountain, NC.

  • Sommer CGS. Discussant: Geriatric and Palliative Care. American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress. October 2017. San Diego, CA.

Faculty

Residents PGY5

Residents PGY4

Residents PGY3

Residents PGY2

Residents PGY1

MAHEC Biltmore Campus

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Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was established in 1974 and serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. MAHEC is the largest Area Health Education Center in North Carolina and evolved to address national and state concerns with the supply, retention, and quality of healthcare professionals. MAHEC’s approach to caring for patients is based on an advanced care team model. MAHEC's Biltmore campus houses residency training programs in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, pharmacy, and dentistry.

MAHEC's Biltmore campus is also home to UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, an academic health center in partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill that includes programs from the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.


Mission Hospital

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Mission Hospital is licensed for 815 beds. The emergency department has 100,000 patient visits per year, the level II trauma center admits 3,400 patients per year, and the helicopter transports more than 1,000 patients per year. Mission Children’s Hospital includes 130 beds with 60 board-certified pediatric subspecialists providing care in 23 different specialties. Mission Hospital surgery services includes eight critical-care-certified acute care surgeons, 11 subspecialty surgeons, two pediatric surgeons, and five vascular surgeons that provide the entire spectrum of patient care and surgical procedures. At more than 35,000 surgical procedures each year, Mission Hospital is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina.


The Charles George VA Medical Center

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The Charles George VA Medical Center is a Joint Commission-accredited, tertiary referral, 1C facility that provides a full spectrum of health services to Veterans residing in a 23-county area of Western North Carolina. The medical center has 119 authorized acute care beds (including a 16-bed inpatient psychiatric unit), two state-of-the-art ICUs, 120 authorized community living center (CLC) beds, and 18 beds authorized for a substance use residential rehabilitation treatment program. The medical center also operates community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) in Franklin, Rutherford County, and Hickory, NC. The VA Medical Center currently has the resident spots available and the clinical volume to support four full-time surgical residents from our MAHEC program. Regarding colorectal cases, the VA Medical Center will provide the resident a valuable learning opportunity with four general surgeons performing approximately 100 colectomy cases per year.


Haywood Regional Medical Center

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Located in Waynesville, NC, only 29 miles from Asheville, sits Haywood Regional Medical Center. It will provide residents with additional experience in the skills needed to be a community-based surgeon.


Pardee Hospital

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Located in Hendersonville, NC, only 26 miles from Asheville, is Pardee Hospital, part of Pardee UNC Health Care. Pardee Hospital serves a smaller and more rural community than Mission Hospital and has the GME infrastructure and faculty with demonstrated teaching interest and skills that will help ensure our residents receive the best training possible.


University of North Carolina Hospitals

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200 miles east of Asheville is the University of North Carolina Hospitals System. Provided with the opportunity to work closely with the residents of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, our residents will perform their required burn and transplant rotation at this site.

Application Requirements

We invite you to apply to our program via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We will review your application and contact you if we wish to invite you for an interview. Typically, our interview season runs from mid-October through mid-December.

A complete ERAS application is required, including:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty who have directly supervised clinical performance (at least one letter should be from a surgeon)
  • Medical school transcript(s)
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
  • USMLE, COMLEX, or Canadian licensing exam scores (Step 1 required, Step 2 preferred)

Board Certification in General Surgery

Residents who complete the MAHEC General Surgery Residency are eligible to pursue board certification in general surgery through the American Board of Surgery. Please visit the ABS website for certification requirements.


Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs will select from among eligible applicants on the basis of residency program-related criteria such as their preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity.

Minimum Requirements

An applicant must meet or exceed the following minimum qualification(s) to be eligible for selection and appointment to MAHEC’s GME residency programs:

  • Be a graduate of a medical school in the United States or Canada, accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME); or
  • Be a graduate of a college of osteopathic medicine in the United States, accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA); or
  • Be a graduate of a non-LCME- or AOA-approved medical school who also meets one of the following additional qualifications:
    • holds a currently-valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) prior to appointment; or
    • holds a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a United States licensing jurisdiction in his or her current ACGME specialty/subspecialty program; or
    • has graduated from a medical school outside the United States and has completed a Fifth Pathway program provided by a LCME-accredited medical school.
  • Passed USMLE Steps 1 and 2 or COMLEX 1 and 2 within three attempts, as required by the North Carolina Medical Board.
  • Be eligible for a NC resident training license.
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S. (citizen, permanent resident, eligible visa including J1). MAHEC does not sponsor H1B or other visas.

International Medical Graduates

Special laws and regulations apply to international medical graduates who wish to enter the United States to undertake graduate medical education. MAHEC's policies and procedures regarding graduates of international medical schools comply with federal and state laws and regulations and MAHEC's commitment to graduate medical education.

Graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada must have a currently valid certificate from ECFMG. Applicants must successfully pass both Step 1 (basic medical) and Step 2 (clinical knowledge and skills) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

While MAHEC does not sponsor a visa, the international medical graduate applicant must also possess a current/valid visa option or other status governed by the U.S. Immigration Regulations to participate in a GME program.

Finally, the North Carolina Medical Board requires that physicians who are graduates of schools that are not accredited by the LCME or the AOA (foreign medical schools) must be individually certified by ECFMG, have successfully completed at least three years of accredited graduate medical training, and have passed the USMLE or its equivalent to be eligible for application for full licensure. An international medical graduate must complete all other application requirements required by MAHEC and the GME program.


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