Welcome to our website! I hope to provide some insight on the educational goals of the Urological Surgeon Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Our ultimate goal is to train the best medical school graduates to become excellent urologists. This goal is met through three objectives.
First, we strive to instill a sense of scholarship in residents, making self-education a life-long vocation and pleasure. The educational experience of residency should be like that of graduate school; an immersion in the field of urology where curiosity and excitement fuel discovery about the field. Second, we work very hard to train residents in the craft and discipline of surgery. Starting with the reduction of each maneuver or operation into its component parts, we provide a graded experience of increased responsibility for each resident. Given the robustness of our faculty and the clinical environment of Western Pennsylvania, residents are provided with ample opportunity to hone and refine their surgical skills. Third, we place a premium on excellent patient care. By making each senior-level rotation three to four months long, residents care for patients in the outpatient, preoperative, and inpatient settings; continuing to see some in longer-term follow-up over the course of months.
Exciting times are ahead for residents entering urology in 2019 since urology residency has been restructured by the ACGME to consist of 5 clinical years of urology (straight 5 format). A few select programs, including ours, will retain 1 preliminary general surgery year followed by the typical 5 years of urology (1+5 format). This differs from how 5 and 6 year programs were structured; with preliminary year(s) of general surgery followed by 4 clinical years of urology (1+4, 2+4, or 1+4+1 formats). However, there will still be 6 months of general surgery and surgical subspecialties built in to the first year of urology. Most programs will therefore be 5 or 6 years (5+1 year of required non-clinical research). Please see the FAQs page on why we are moving from a 2+4 to a 1+5 format (rather than the straight 5 or 5+1 format). Our residents will still have approximately six months of urology during intern year and three months of general surgery during PGY2 (Uro1) year.
I leave you with one additional thought on the value of a 6-year program. Thirty years ago, almost all urology training programs were 6 years. At that time, we primarily learned just open surgery and we got very good at it. Today, urologists must be facile at not only open surgery but also laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery, endoscopic surgery, percutaneous surgery, and microscopic surgery. With a large and energetic faculty and a broad patient base, we at the University of Pittsburgh can train you in all these techniques, in addition to research, but it can’t be done well in only 5 years (even jumping into urology from the very beginning).
Thank you and if you are interested in becoming an outstanding urologic surgeon, please apply for our program. We look forward to meeting you.