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Vascular Surgery Integrated Residency »  About the Program »  Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the residency program?

The program is five clinical years with an additional 2 years of professional development, which begin after the third clinical year (see below).

What quality of training can I expect during my five clinical years?

The Division’s longstanding fellowship training program has a history of training clinically excellent vascular surgeons. The majority of these graduates have gone to practice at large academic institutions, and several are division chiefs or have other leadership roles. Although the integrated vascular surgery residency hasn’t graduated a trainee yet, the Division plans to continue this history of excellence and is committed to the integrated resident’s education and experience.

What is the “open” surgery experience like?

Although the Division has made many contributions to endovascular surgery, including the bifurcated endograft and branched endograft, the open vascular surgery experience remains robust. UCSF faculty believe that a balanced approach is important to provide the best solution for each individual patient, and hence our graduates are highly competent in both endovascular and open procedures. For aortic aneurysmal disease, approximately 20% of cases are done using an open approach, primarily in patients who have poor anatomy for EVAR and are considered to be good surgical risk. This includes complex cases such as paravisceral aneurysms, EVAR conversions, and aortic infections. In lower extremity disease, approximately one-third of revascularizations performed for advanced ischemia are open bypass grafts.

At which clinical sites will I spend my time training at?

The majority of clinical training occurs at the UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus Heights, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. You can read more about the individual sites here and can see the current residency block schedule here.

Is there an educational curriculum associated with the clinical training?

There are many weekly, monthly, and annual, formal and informal, didactics and trainings. The weekly Vascular Grand Rounds conference follows an established curriculum in addition to a range of topics and case-based discussions. More details on the educational curriculum can be found here.

Is there formal mentorship?

All of the faculty mentor, guide, and teach residents. Additionally, each resident is paired with a faculty career/professional mentor at the start of their residency. Most faculty also may serve as research mentors and principal investigators. As residents approach their professional development years, most will begin to identify one or two faculty members to act as research mentors.

Does the Division provide residents with lead? Loupes?

The Division provides all residents with lead at the start of residency. All residents receive loupes at the beginning of their PGY-2 year.

Does the Division cover educational expenses?

Every resident is allotted $1,200 per year to be spent on educational materials (i.e. textbooks, question banks, online resources, and educational conferences).

Does the Division support travel for research conferences?

If your research is accepted to a conference and your principal investigator is unable to fund you then the Division will support your travel and conference expenses.

What are the professional development years?

All residents are required to spend 2 years doing professional development, which occurs between their third and fourth clinical years. Most residents will choose to conduct basic science, translational, clinical or health services research during this time. Residents are expected to pursue their own research funding, but if unavailable they will be funded by the Division. Residents are expected to develop their individual plan with their mentor(s) and the program director during the first two years of residency, including consideration of funding options.

Is research mandatory?

All residents are expected to participate in research and scholarly activities. The professional development years are an ideal time to focus on a topic of interest and make an impactful contribution to the literature. Each resident is expected to have at least one primary project they are working on with a faculty mentor. Abstract submissions to regional and national vascular meetings are an expectation of the residents/fellows. Authorship of a scientific publication is considered a critical skill in the training program. All residents are expected to be involved in quality improvement projects, some of which develop into formal research projects and publications.

Can I pursue a Masters degree during my professional development time?

Residents may pursue advanced training (e.g. Masters degree) that is relevant to their career goals during their professional development time. Although the Division does not currently have the resources to fund advanced degrees, it will support you to help you find funding, scholarships, fellowships, etc to help mitigate the costs of such programs. There are also competitive National Institutes of Health fellowships offered through the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which can fund coursework in clinical and translational research and even a Masters in Advanced Studies (MAS) in clinical research.

Can you moonlight during residency?

There are strict rules against moonlighting during the clinical years. However, many of the UCSF clinical sites (Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center) rely heavily on moonlighters and there are opportunities to moonlight during the professional development years. These opportunities can help to maintain clinical skills and supplement income but should be secondary to the primary goals of the research/professional development program. Residents should consult with their mentors about the extent and type of moonlighting to insure transparency and a healthy balance.

Are there plans to end the fellowship?

There are no plans to end the traditional “5+2” fellowship program. As it is currently structured, once the integrated vascular surgery residency junior years are filled, there will be one fellow and one resident accepted per year. The residency and fellowship will complement each other and provide rich opportunities to collaborate and learn together. The breadth and volume of clinical experience offered at the clinical sites is robust. The final two years of the residency are identical to the fellowship and will provide an equivalent clinical experience.

Can you live comfortably in San Francisco with a resident’s salary?

Absolutely! UCSF residents and fellows are all able to live and work in San Francisco. Although the cost of living is very high in San Francisco, the UCSF Graduate Medical Education Office provides a baseline resident’s salary that is greater than many other residency programs and offers a substantial housing stipend. UCSF also offers a relocation stipend to new residents, excellent benefits, annual salary increases, and a daily food stipend at most of the clinical sites. Additionally, the Department of Surgery offers an annual parking stipend, which offsets the costs of commuting and parking. These collectively make living comfortably in San Francisco possible


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