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Division of
Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care
and Emergency Surgery
Fellowship Program Overview

Trauma TeamIntroduction
The University of Pennsylvania’s “Surgical Critical Care” fellowship is a fully-accredited ACGME training program within the Department of Surgery.  There are several tracks that will be discussed below under the “duration and scope of training” section.  The fellowship is designed to educate fellows in all phases of care of the critically ill and injured surgical patient.

Our training philosophy can be divided into several discrete areas including clinical training, research, academic framework, and trauma community integration.   The clinical training is focused on cutting-edge, evidenced-based experiences in trauma, emergency general surgery (acute care surgery) & surgical critical care.  Fellows will complete the program with not only top notch technical expertise, but with the strongest command of all care strategies and theory.  Fellows have clearly defined training goals and objectives with the highest attention to their educational experiences.  Roles and responsibilities are clearly differentiated from the resident learners so there is minimal overlap.

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Research opportunities abound at Penn, both within the division and in the very collaborative broader University of Pennsylvania community.  Fellows acquire research mentors early who then ensure milestones are achieved resulting in successful completion of projects by fellowship end.  Beyond the individual projects, all fellows participate in a continual research didactic series that provides all the building blocks to join or initiate a basic science or clinical research program at their next job.

Fellows will also leave our training program with a solid academic framework or understanding of how to establish themselves as an academic surgeon.  This framework includes an understanding of choosing and obtaining growth and leadership opportunities locally and in external national and international societies.  Formal administrative didactics and personalized exposure to our world-renowned faculty facilitates this exposure.

Fellow integration into the broader trauma and critical care community is facilitated by the large network of Penn trained acute care surgeons practicing around the world.  This vast network (see history section below) exposes current and past trainees to the experience and mentoring of this academic faculty along with opportunities to collegially collaborate on a multitude of academic levels.

The Penn trauma training program was founded by C. William Schwab, MD in 1989.  Since that time, over 100 fellows have completed the program and are now practicing around the world.  Among this cohort are leaders in American Medicine including Deans, Chief Executive Officers, Chairs of Departments, Division Chiefs, Trauma Directors, ICU directors, and many other prestigious titles (see section on past fellows.  This legacy of past trainees is a testament to vision and ideals created by Dr. Schwab that are now carried down and instilled in all our trainees.  Of particular note is our strong history and commitment to training military trauma surgeons.  Starting with Dr. Schwab who himself spent many years as a Naval surgeon, there have been over 20 military surgeons in the Penn trauma faculty and fellowship program.

World Renowned Faculty
All of the faculty have been hand-picked for their specific contributions to the Penn trauma platform.  Their expertise covers all aspects of fellow education including clinical training, research, and academia.  Together, this cohesive group forms an academic milieu that provides fellows with a stimulating and invigorating environment that is optimal for training.  The following is a brief overview of the leadership in our division.

C. William Schwab   C. William Schwab - Dr. Schwab is a pioneer of modern trauma care in the world today and continues to be an active member of the faculty.  He is past president of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care.  He has authored over 250 peer-reviewed articles and is a true visionary in trauma theory and practice.  He is a tremendous resource to the fellows, from teaching at morning report to selecting a job that will launch one’s career.
Patrick Reilly   Patrick M. Reilly - Dr. Reilly is the Chief of the Division.  He is past president of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.  He is on a multitude of international committees that shape the way in which we care for injured patients, this includes the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.  Dr. Reilly has received the Master Educator designation by the School of Medicine and instills excellent leadership skills in the fellows.
Niels D. Martin   Niels D. Martin - Dr. Martin is the fellowship program director and is also the Section Chief of Surgical Critical Care.  He has a vested interest in fellow education.  He works closely with the Department of Surgery’s Division of Education and the Health System’s administration to maintain a cutting edge clinical environment within which the fellow education can flourish.
Patrick Kim   Patrick Kim - Dr. Kim is the Trauma Program Medical Director and Section Chief of Trauma.  He is responsible for maintaining the Level one trauma center status.  Fellow involvement and education is paramount in that process.
Benjamin Braslow   Benjamin Braslow -   Dr. Braslow is Section Chief of Emergency General Surgery and runs an extremely busy service line on which the fellow’s rotate.
Carrie Sims   Carrie Sims - Dr. Sims is Section Chief of Research and runs a basic science lab on mitochondrial dysfunction and shock.  She maintains the fellow research didactic series and serves as a research mentor to many.
Please click this link of a complete listing of our faculty.
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) is home to the Pavilion for Advanced Care, a brand new, free standing hospital that houses our Level one trauma center. With 5 oversized trauma bays, 2 dedicated CT scanners, new operating rooms, and a 20 bed Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit, our facility optimizes trauma care delivery.  State of the Art video conferencing and telemedicine further allow for unique and expansive educational opportunities.   Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is a 700 bed tertiary care hospital and the primary teaching institution for the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school.  There is a 56-bed multi-disciplinary Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) that has 2300-2500 admissions yearly.  Fellows care for and learn from the full range of surgical cases including transplant, advanced vascular, complex GI, urologic, and gynecologic to name a few.   Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) provides our fellows with exposure to severely ill and injured children.  CHOP is also home to a Level one pediatric trauma center.   Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia VA Medical Center (PVAMC), located adjacent to HUP, is staffed by Penn faculty and has a 14 bed SICU caring for complex GI and vascular patients.   Philadelphia VA Medical Center
The Reading Hospital Medical Center, located in Reading, PA, is a rural Level Two Trauma Center staffed by University of Pennsylvania faculty.   Reading Hospital
*Note that HUP, PPMC, CHOP, and the PVAMC are all located in the University City section of Philadelphia and are in easy walking distance of each other.
Duration and Scope of Training
2 year Trauma & Surgical Critical Care Fellowship
  • Year One: our traditional critical care year, fulfilling all of the requirements of the American Board of Surgery.  Rotations in our surgical ICUs is complimented by rotations in the neuro, cardiac, and medical ICUs as well.  Extensive, fellow-level, didactic sessions abound.  Two months on the trauma service are also included.
  • Year Two: a graduated trauma and acute care surgery experience where fellows progressively manage the service, the trauma bay, and the OR.  Part way through this year, fellows become “Fellows in Exception” where they are granted attending privileges.  This experience allows fellows to hone their skills with autonomy while still fully supported as needed by the full faculty.
2 year Emergency Medicine Surgical Critical Care Fellowship (ABS approved)
  • Year One: Rotations in general surgery to fulfill the American Board of Surgery’s general surgery training experience.  Rotations include emergency general surgery, thoracic, transplant, vascular, and GI surgery to name a few.
  • Year Two: the traditional critical care year as described above.
1 year Surgical Critical Care Fellowship
  • Year One: the traditional critical care year as described above.
Other Fellow Opportunities
  • Instructor training for ATLS
  • Access to Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM)
  • Access to Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET)
  • Access to Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (FCCS)
  • Access to Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP)
  • Vast Certificate programs from the University of Pennsylvania
  • Collaborations within the greater University community
  • Options for advanced degrees such as MPH and MSCE

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