Surgeons and Residents in Operating Room

General Surgery Residency

We welcome you to apply to our program!

As part of Virtua, a multi-hospital health care organization serving the both the urban and suburban communities of South Jersey, our residency program offers a wealth of educational and experiential opportunities.

Mission Statement
The mission of Virtua Health is "Be Well, Get Well, Stay Well." The mission of Virtua’s General Surgery Residency is to promote this culture within our patients as well as ourselves. 

Our program will produce surgeons who have in-depth experience in the promotion of health and prevention of disease, as well as the evaluation, diagnosis and management of patients who suffer from illness across the broad spectrum of surgery. Our residents will be trained to become compassionate and intellectually oriented surgeons who have an in-depth understanding of the psycho-social and economic impact of disease as well as the role of the patient's personal beliefs and values in their health and delivery of care. Our graduates will have attained the knowledge, technical skills and principles to enter the independent practice of Surgery or to seek further training in subspecialties of the field and to become productive and contributing members of their communities.

Vision
The goals and objectives of the Virtua General Surgery Residency are as follows:

  1. To develop outstanding knowledge and technical skills across the broad spectrum of General Surgery in order to effectively manage patients who suffer from illnesses across the wide spectrum of the field;
  2. To provide residents with extensive experiences and in-depth training across various settings and with diverse populations;
  3. To assist residents in learning to tailor management in a patient-centric manner based on acuity as well as the patient's personal values and beliefs;
  4. To help residents to develop skills in critical thinking, interpersonal communications, teaching, research, information systems, practice management, professionalism and life-long learning;
  5. To expand the knowledge base of Surgery through scientific inquiry;
  6. To prepare residents to practice within diverse communities and health care delivery systems;
  7. To prepare residents for success across a wide variety of career options;
  8. To promote wellness among our residents and our educational community and to assure residents' satisfaction with their experiences in the program.

Why Choose Virtua General Surgery?
While Virtua General Surgery is a new residency program, it sits at the confluence of both new and old, gaining the benefits of each. Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital has hosted surgical residents for decades on the general surgery, transplant, and vascular surgery services. Much of the academic leadership at Virtua has extensive experience from successful programs in the surrounding academic institutions. These include: 

  • Dr. Brendan McCracken, the general surgery program director, who was surgery program director at Hahnemann, and
  • Damien DiStefano, the surgery program administrator, who has years of experience as a surgical program administrator at Penn and Temple.

As a new program, the Virtua General Surgery Residency has the backing of a very successful health care system in Virtua and the benefit of Rowan University’s growing medical academics programs. This academic alliance enables us to build out a robust academic program that includes skills development and simulation.

More Info About the Surgery Residency

Residency Facilities

Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes (VOLOL) is a full service hospital that services a highly diverse patient population and offers a full spectrum of medical, surgical and ancillary services.


The site includes highly active services in cardiothoracic, solid organ transplantation, vascular, high-risk general surgery, and surgical oncology. Often these procedures involve minimally invasive technologies, including the robot-assisted surgery.


VOLOL is the only facility in New Jersey performing liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.


The site is fully staffed with highly qualified surgeons and offers a full spectrum of services required for patient care, including advance radiology and interventional radiology as well as the only comprehensive acute inpatient rehabilitation unit located inside an acute care hospital in southern New Jersey.


Residents will have the opportunity to work with a wide diversity of patients who bring a full spectrum of surgical diseases under the supervision of seasoned and highly qualified surgeons, most of whom have years of experience in graduate medical education.

Virtua Voorhees Hospital

Virtua Voorhees is a modern full service state-of-the-art medical-surgical hospital that offers a full spectrum of surgical services Residents will have a wide reaching general surgery experience that includes a robust exposure to minimally invasive, complex laparoscopic, colorectal and breast surgery under the guidance of seasoned expert faculty.


Located less than 3 miles from Virtua Marlton Hospital, residents will share time between the two facilities working with the same expert faculty. Virtua Health System Marlton is the site where residents will work in complex surgical procedures involving vascular, thoracic and alimentary tract specialties while focusing more on general, endocrine, breast and head and neck cases in the operating rooms at Virtua Voorhees Hospital. Experience at this site will also extend the diversity of patients that the residents care for.


The site offers a full spectrum of services to support patient care with a focus on the comfort and well-being of patients and their families.


Virtua Marlton Hospital

Virtua Marlton Hospital is a regional medical center in Southern New Jersey that offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient services and specializes in complex surgical procedures. Located less than 3 miles from Virtua Voorhees Hospital.


Residents will share time between the two facilities working with the same expert faculty.


Virtua Marlton Hospital is the site where residents will work in complex surgical procedures involving vascular, thoracic and alimentary tract specialties while focusing more on general, endocrine, breast and head and neck cases in the operating rooms at Virtua Voorhees Hospital.


The site offers a full spectrum of services to support patient care with a focus on the comfort and well-being of patients and their families.


Virtua Mount Holly Hospital
Virtua Mount Holly Hospital is the only full service acute care medical-surgical hospital in Burlington County, New Jersey—the largest county in the state. Rotations here will provide residents with a robust experience in minimally invasive, robotic and bariatric surgery under the guidance of seasoned expert faculty.


The Bariatric surgery program has received both national "Comprehensive Center" accreditation from The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) well as "Center of Excellence" designation from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery (ASMBS).


The general surgery service in Mt. Holly also contains a robust robotics program with advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques.


The site offers a full spectrum of services to support patient care including advanced radiology.


Rotations outside of Virtua Health
The Virtua General Surgery residency program has partnered with another nearby Rowan-affiliated hospital to provide pediatric and trauma surgery.

Salaries and Benefits

Salaries:
PGY1 $61, 970.00
PGY2 $64, 443.00
PGY3 $65, 339.00
PGY4 $69, 493.00
PGY5 $71, 686.00

Other benefits include:


CME:
$1,500 & 5 days (all years)


Vacation:
 3 weeks (all years) + 5 sick days = 20 PTO days
Please note that time away from the program (vacation and sick time) must be in accordance with the American Board of Surgery rules governing absence.


Health:
Medical, dental, and vision coverage for resident and dependents with minimal employee contribution. This medical plan is designed to meet the needs of employees and their families. It provides an opportunity for reduced administrative costs.

Professional Liability Insurance: Coverage for resident rotations (occurrence plus policy).

Miscellaneous:

  • Two lab coats (optional laundry services)
  • On-call meals
  • One-time state licensure and permit fee
  • Up to $1,000 in one-time moving expenses
  • Child daycare facility near the Voorhees campus (all residents eligible)
  • BLS, ACLS, and ATLS training
  • Laptop issued to every resident to use during their 5 years of training
  • Step 3 and board review materials
  • Free parking at all Virtua facilities

Interview Season

We will be accepting applications through ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). Due to COVID-19, we will hold interviews this year in a virtual platform. We will hold our interviews in November, December, and January.

Virtua General Surgery Residency Criteria

To be considered by Virtua General Surgery Residency for a PGY1 position:

  • All applications must come through the ERAS.
  • No faxes or emails will be accepted. No applications will be pre-screened.
  • Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States. Virtua will not sponsor applicants for employment visas.
  • USMLE/COMLEX Steps 1 and 2 must have a passing score.
  • Applicants must be graduates of LCME-approved schools.
  • All applicants must be interviewed before being accepted.

For international graduates:

  • ECFMG certifications must be complete.
  • There is no US clinical experience requirement, but it is preferred.

How do I apply?
All applications for a PGY1 position must come through ERAS. Our program is a participant in The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

Virtual Interviews
All interviews will be held virtually for this recruitment season (2022-2023). Each candidate will be interviewed by members of the surgical faculty team. The structured activities begin at 7:15 a.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. (approximately)


Categorical Interview dates are:

  • Friday, November 18, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
  • Friday, January 6, 2023
  • Friday, January 20, 2023

What should I do to prepare for my interview?

  • Please ensure that all documentation is uploaded to ERAS (i.e., three letters of recommendation, dean's letter, medical school transcripts, USMLE/COMLEX scores, personal statement, ECFMG certificate, CV, etc.).
  • Make sure you visit the residency webpage.

What should I do the day of my interview?
We will begin promptly at 7:15 a.m., so plan to arrive 10 minutes early.

 

Are walk-ins welcome on the day of the interview?
Walk-ins will not be interviewed. The residency program requires that documents be submitted in full through ERAS. Careful consideration is applied to each candidate's documentation packet prior to their invitation and arrival for their interview. If you are interested in the program, please take the proper steps to apply through ERAS, as this will be the only way that your candidacy will be considered.


Virtual Meet & Greet
We invite you to join residents the night before each Interview Day for a Virtual Meet & Greet. The link for the meeting will be sent to your email.


Please contact us if you have any questions. We can be reached by email at ddistefa@virtua.org or by phone at 856-886-6223.

We looking forward to meeting you!

Curriculum

Rotations by year:

PGY 1
General Surgery
Surgical Critical Care
Vascular Surgery/Transplant
Night Float
Breast Surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery/Complex Laporoscopy, Colorectal Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Breast surgery

PGY 2
General Surgery
Surgical Critical Care
Vascular Surgery/Transplant
CT/Thoracic Surgery
Night Float
Minimally Invasive Surgery/Complex Laporoscopy, Colorectal Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Breast Surgery

PGY 3
General Surgery
Vascular Surgery/Transplant
GI/Endo
General Surgery/Breast Surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery/Complex Laporoscopy, Colorectal Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Breast Surgery
Trauma

PGY 4
General Surgery
CT/Thoracic Surgery
Vascular Surgery/Transplant
Night Float
Elective
General Surgery/Breast Surgery
Pediatric

PGY 5 – Chief Year
General Surgery
Vascular Surgery/Transplant
General Surgery/Breast Surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery/Complex Laporoscopy, Colorectal Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Breast Surgery

Educational Activities
Educational Activities for Virtua the 1st year of the Virtua General Surgery Residency:

Boot Camp/Orientation
When: Mid- June TBA (coordinated with Gyn and Family Med)
Where: VOLOL Physician’s Conference Center

Morbidity, Mortality, and Interesting Case Conference
When: 7 - 7:30 a.m., Tuesdays
Where: each site

Basic Science
When: 8 - 9 a.m., Wednesdays
Where: VOLOL Physicians’ Conference Room, teleconference
Topics: To coincide with the SCORE Curriculum. Topics on the calendar are estimated.
Presenter: Assigned Resident with faculty supervision

Grand Rounds
When: 7 - 8 a.m., 2nd Wednesday of every other month, with the option to expand
Where: VOLOL Physicians’ Conference Room, teleconference
Presenter: Faculty and invited guests

Skills Lab
When: 7 a.m., 3rd Wednesday of every month
Where: VOLOL Rehab Solarium
Presenter: Brendan McCracken and faculty

Critical Care, Burn, and Trauma Conference
When: 7 a.m., 1st Wednesday of every month
Where: VOLOL Physicians’ Conference Room
Presenter: Brendan McCracken, MD

Nonclinical Lectures - e.g. coding/billing, wellness/mental health, fatigue/sleep, healthcare disparities
When: 7 a.m., 2st Wednesday of every other month alternating with Grand Rounds
Where: VOLOL Physicians’ Conference Room
Presenter: faculty

Vascular Surgery Radiology Conference
When: 7 a.m., 1st Thursday of every month
Where: VOLOL Physicians’ Conference Room
Presenter: Dean Andrew, MD

Virtua Tumor Board
When: 7 a.m. 1st, 2nd, 5th Thursday of every month
Where: virtual teleconference

Breast Cancer Conference
When: 7:30 a.m., Tuesday
Where: virtual teleconference

Rectal Cancer Conference
When: 7 a.m., 1st Wednesday of every month; 7:30 a.m., 3rd Thursday of every month
Where: virtual teleconference

Thoracic Cancer Conference
When: 7 a.m., Fridays
Where: virtual teleconference

Pancreaticobiliary Cancer Conference
When: 7 a.m., 4th Wednesday of the month
Where: virtual teleconference

Multidisciplinary Liver Conference
When: 1:30 p.m., Mondays; 7:30-9:30 a.m., Fridays
Where: virtual teleconference

Multidisciplinary Kidney Conference
When: 1 - 3 p.m., Thursdays
Where: virtual teleconference

Journal Club
When: 7 p.m., 2nd Wednesday of the month
Where: off-site location such as an attending’s house or restaurant
Presenter: Assigned Residents with faculty supervision

FAQs

Is there a formal didactic curriculum, and what is its structure?
There is protected time each Wednesday for didactics and skills labs. There are also other scattered didactics that are rotation specific.

What are the informal learning opportunities (i.e., bedside rounds, etc.)?
OR teaching, bedside rounds, morning meetings/report, etc.

What programs exist for resident education (e.g., lectures, journal clubs, grand rounds, board review courses, etc.)?
Didactics, journal club, ground rounds, tumor boards (varying services), skills labs.

Are there opportunities to do “away” rotations?
As a new program, the opportunities to do “away” rotations still lies in the future. The ability to do this will evolve as the residency evolves.

Is there a formal mentoring program for new residents, and do faculty serve as mentors?
The mentoring program is a formal program, but the assignment of mentors will take place after the first few months of residency to allow for the best possible match between mentor and mentee.

Is there enough ancillary support to minimize "scut?"
Since this is a new program, there is no culture of “scut” at any of our primary hospitals. Even Lourdes, which has hosted residents for decades, is spending a year without residents and has abandoned its resident workforce culture. This means that the program is beginning in a system that is education focused and not work focused.

Is there a possibility of "protected" time for research?
There is an expected small amount of time in each rotation that is expected to be dedicated to research. With the strengthening partnership with Rowan and the expansion of research initiatives at Virtua, more opportunities will avail themselves of residents being able to spend more time dedicated to research in the future.

What teaching responsibilities for medical students are expected of residents?
Virtua has recently increased its educational responsibilities to medical students from Rowan and PA students from St. Joseph's University (formerly University of the Sciences). This was done in the absence of residents. While residents will be expected to provide some teaching for the medical and PA students, they will be entering a culture of education where they are more the beneficiary than the benefactor.

Is moonlighting allowed?
No. Under no circumstances is moonlighting allowed.

Faculty

Meet the Faculty

 

Brendan McCracken, MD
Brendan McCracken, MD
Program Director; Faculty in General Surgery and Critical Care

Lawrence Greenawald, MD

Lawrence Greenawald, MD
Associate Program Director
Core faculty in General Surgery; Site Director - Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

Gregg Baranski, MD

Gregg Baranski, MD
Core faculty, Colorectal Surgery


Victor Bondar, MD

Victor Bondar, MD
Core faculty, General and Oncologic Surgery


Joseph Costabile, MD
Joseph Costabile, MD
Core faculty, Vascular Surgery


Elizabeth Renza-Singone, MD
Elizabeth Renza-Singone, MD
Core faculty, MIS and Bariatric Surgery; Site Director - Virtua Mount Holly Hospital


Jamaal Shaban, DO
Jamaal Shaban, DO
Core faculty, General Surgery; Site Director - Virtua Voorhees Hospital


Craig Zaretsky, MD
Craig Zaretsky, MD
Section Chief, General Surgery; Vice President for Clinical Operations - Surgery; 
Site Director - Virtua Marlton Hospital

 

Michael Kwiatt, MD
Michael Kwiatt, MD
Site Director - Cooper Medical School of Rowan University/Cooper University Hospital

Helpful Links

The American Board of Surgery
www.absurgery.org

ACGME
www.acgme.org