General Surgery Residency
A Message from Program Director, R. Barry Hird, M.D.
The faculty and I appreciate your interest in surgery and our training program. We are truly excited about Spartanburg Medical Center and the great training program that offers many advantages to surgical trainees. I have personally been part of our teaching program since 2005 and continue to be amazed at the quality of surgeons this program produces. Feel free to compare our objective data with other programs – I think you will agree that we match up well. Our general surgery residency program is fully accredited by the ACGME Residency Review Committee (RRC) with 15 categorical residency positions and two internship preliminary residency positions. Our categorical residents spend five clinical years with us prior to their graduation; our program does not have dedicated lab years.
Our program mission statement is to be the “best community general surgery residency program in the southeast United States.” If the best way to determine the quality of a program is by the surgeons they produce, then I would argue that we have achieved our goal. During this time, our graduates have been in high demand for both fellowships and private practice opportunities. Our residents who choose fellowships do so because they desire that fellowship training, not because they feel inadequately trained or unprepared to practice general surgery. Some recent highlights of fellowships obtained by our graduates include: cardiothoracic surgery at Ohio State University, plastic surgery at Emory and trauma critical care at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
We are equally proud of the private practice opportunities our graduates have found. Two residents from the class of 2018 went into private practice. Both of whom had contracts in hand, ready to sign early in their chief year. One of our current PGY II residents has already signed a contract with a rural practice group in Kansas. I am also very proud of the number of residents we train that subsequently head back to their home town to practice. Jason Dierking a 2007 graduate went back to Storm Lake, Iowa and has built a diverse general surgery practice. He is truly a small town general surgeon doing things such as C-sections and pacemakers. Stephen Phillips a 2012 graduate returned to his hometown of Florence, Ala. and already has a thriving practice. Finally, one of our 2018 graduates, Jacob Holley recently returned to a hospital in his hometown of Donalsonville, Ga. as a general surgeon.
Spartanburg Regional has no subspecialty residents. Thus, our general surgery trainees perform many advanced laparoscopic, vascular and surgical oncology procedures that are typically performed by fellows in other institutions. Additionally, many of our residents spend time with ENT, cardiac and plastic surgeons, doing cases, not just floor work.
We are a Level I Trauma Center that is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons and are among the best and busiest in the state. Our Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute has and continues to achieve national recognition and was enhanced by the 2008 opening of the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health.
Surgical training is more than accumulating a large number of surgical procedures. We pride ourselves in the academic component of our program. Our American Board of Surgery first-time pass rates are excellent. We have eleven full-time faculty members who have completed subspecialty fellowships in breast, trauma/critical care, vascular, cardiothoracic, plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as surgical oncology.
We are obsessive about education and patient care with a foundation in evidence-based surgical practice. We monitor our surgical outcomes and strive for error prevention and continued quality improvement. In addition to academicians (who have faculty appointments from the Medical University of South Carolina), we have many surgeons who have spent their professional lives in private surgical practice. Many of these surgeons trained at Spartanburg Medical Center and are dedicated to fulfilling our residency mission statement of striving to be the best. They are also able to offer a practical approach to the business side of surgical practice.
Spartanburg Medical Center offers many of the advantages of larger academic institutions while giving each resident a more personal experience. We are particularly concerned about the quality of our resident's life, both within and outside of the hospital. Many of our residents are married and some have small children. The program is sincere in adhering to the Residency Review Committee (RRC) work hour regulations in order to allow our residents to maintain a normal work/home life balance. Also, several events are sponsored by our program throughout the year, such as sporting events, family picnics, bike races and other social events.
Spartanburg is a vibrant city of 40,000, within the Greenville-Spartanburg metropolitan area of more than 1 million people. The county is in excellent financial shape; BMW built in the area in 1996 that continues to create excellent job opportunities. Advance America, QS/1 Data Systems, and Denny’s house their corporate headquarters here. Downtown Spartanburg has entered a renaissance and sports a new AC Hotel by Marriott, downtown revitalization, and several upscale restaurants. The Chapman Cultural Center is a 48 million dollar project that enhanced performance arts in the area. Spartanburg is home of several colleges (Wofford, Converse, USC Upstate, Spartanburg Methodist College) and has a strong public school system. Housing is affordable (median home price $120,000) and virtually all of our categorical residents purchase homes during residency. Traffic is minimal – the average commute is only 10 minutes.
Amenities offered to our residents include: Free meals, free parking, gym membership, access to a private golf club (Carolina Country Club). We also purchase surgical loops for our categorical residents and each resident is given a generous yearly book allowance.