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Why Choose UC San Diego?

We are committed to educating surgeons of the future

The UC San Diego Department of Surgery is committed to educating surgeons of the future. The department offers fully accredited academic residency training programs and fellowships in a number of surgical specialties. Our programs provide the opportunity to train in clinical care and research with highly respected experts and innovators in surgery.

State-of-the-art Training & Research Facilities

UC San Diego trainees can take advantage of state-of-the-art training and research facilities, including the Center for the Future of Surgery, where residents, fellows, medical students, and faculty train on simulation equipment in a risk-free environment. As part of our increased emphasis on strengthening ties between surgeons and engineers, UC San Diego trainees are also able to earn Bioengineering (M.D./M.S., M.D./M.Eng) degrees in conjunction with the Jacobs School of Engineering, pending independent admission to the medical school.

Alumni Experiences


Dr. Jacob Delarosa 

“My time at UCSD was made special because of the camaraderie between residents, the incredible faculty, the ACS meetings that we tagged along with Dr. Moossa, our trips to Mr. A’s for libations before it became the fancy place it is today, Saturday mornings trying to justify what the attending did and not be slammed for using an acronym or nickname for an operation instead of the correct name, and many other memorable experiences.

I am honored to have been trained by Drs. Moossa, Jamieson, Easter, Hoyt, Coimbra, Sparks, Wallace, and several others that influenced how I practice medicine today. I am humbled to have been a tiny part of the training of some amazing peers, Drs. Katz, Alrefi, Ehsan, and many more. I will always be thankful for the world-class training I received at UCSD and establishing my solid foundation in surgery!”

Dr. Jacob DeLaRosa is the Wheeler Family Endowed Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho. Dr. DeLaRosa finished his General Surgery training at UCSD in 2001. After completing a Residency in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at Emory University in 2004, Dr. DeLaRosa went to Idaho to start the first Cardiac surgery program in Pocatello, Idaho.

Portrait of Dr. David Hoyt, MD, FAC

Dr. David Hoyt 

“The values established for the department of surgery of excellence in patient care, responsibility for learning and teaching, and the importance of investigation and continuous improvement flourished at UCSD from its beginning and flourish today. Being stimulated by these values in a young department is an unforgettable experience that shapes my focus even today. It is hard to imagine a better time or place to have been to learn our profession. I am very proud to have trained at the University of California San Diego.” 

Dr. Hoyt is currently an Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of California, Irvine. Previously, he also held roles as Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, Executive Vice Dean for the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, and more. Dr. Hoyt completed his Surgical Residency and Research Fellowship at UC San Diego in 1984. 

Portrait of Dr. Julia Grabowski, MDS

Dr. Julia Grabowski

"I feel so fortunate to have trained at UCSD with some of the most amazing mentors and friends. The 7 years I spent as a resident were challenging, exhausting, rewarding, and unbelievably fun. As a resident, I was given the autonomy to make independent decisions and the support I needed to ask for help. The variety in the services and the hospitals gave me the opportunity to determine exactly what I wanted to do with my life. And the training I got at UCSD and Rady prepared me for a wonderful fellowship and a career I love. I am forever grateful."

Dr. Julia Grabowski is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University and the Director of Pediatric Colorectal Surgery at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. She completed her Surgery Residency at UC San Diego in 2010 while also being a postdoctoral fellow.

Dr. Afshin Ehsan

Dr. Afshin Ehsan 

“This summer will mark 20 years from the time I finished my surgical training at UC San Diego. Without a doubt those five years were the most formidable of my career. The clinical foundations instilled in me by my incredible mentors still resonate in my work today. To have had the privilege of being trained by leaders like David Hoyt, Marshall Orloff, Stuart Jamieson and of course our supremely talented and charismatic Chairman, Dr. Moossa, is only magnified through the spectrum of time. It’s amazing how one institution could have so many giants all at once for my colleagues and I to learn from. Life in San Diego wasn’t too bad either. It was always nice to know that the Sunday off that came around once every three weeks had a great likelihood of being a good weather day to enjoy with friends and family. And as for my many incredible co-residents, the sheer number that have risen to national prominence speaks to the collective talent I had the pleasure of working with. Reflecting on it as a whole, I am truly blessed to have called UCSD my home some 20 years ago.”

Dr. Afshin Ehsan is the Director of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and the Co-Director of Quality for the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute. He is also a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Danny Chu

Dr. Danny Chu

"It was my last general surgery interview.  I immediately felt at home during the interview.  There were many dedicated surgeon-educators and surgeon-scientists.  Spending two years in Dr. Thistlethwaite's lab gave me the foundation of being a surgeon-scientist and an academic leader.  Many of my fellow residents went on to become leaders in surgery.  I am grateful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to train at UCSD."

Dr. Danny Chu is a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Director of the UPMC Ozaki Center of Excellence. He also serves on numerous Editorial Boards of Major Publication Journals and is the Vice President of the Association of Veterans Affairs Surgeons, among others. Chu completed his General Surgery Residency and Postgraduate Research Fellowship at UC San Diego between 1997 and 2004. 

Dr. Tazo Inui

Dr. Tazo Inui

"I came to do my surgery residency at UC San Diego because I was looking for a well-diversified training experience in an academic program. When I interviewed, I also liked that the institution was planning its future expansion. I stayed for fellowship for the same reasons, and was confident that I would graduate prepared to care for any vascular surgery patient.

As important as the daily residency training were the many professional relationships and friendships I developed both inside and outside of UC San Diego. I nurtured my academic and professional interests at national meetings and in intramural opportunities, and keeping in touch with fellow trainees and my former faculty has been really gratifying as I've settled into my current job in the Bay Area, alongside a fellow UC San Diego surgery graduate, Dr. Joy Garg.

UC San Diego gave me an excellent training program, and an academic home. I also found a community of people I'm pleased to count as friends, colleagues, and mentors. In looking back, those benefits are mutual, and mutually reinforcing. It was a special 8 years with excellent co-workers, and I'm grateful for all my experiences."

Dr. Tazo Inui is a Vascular Surgeon with The Permanente Medical Group, Greater Southern Alameda Area, Northern California. He completed his general surgery residency at UC San Diego, as well as a fellowship is vascular surgery from July 2015 – June 2017, under the mentorship of Dennis Bandyk. 

Dr. Matthew Katz

Dr. Matthew Katz

"UC San Diego was the 1st residency interview I went on while in med school, and I knew I would go there immediately-I would have signed right then and there," says Katz. "The most valuable part of my experience was the faculty, many of whom are largely responsible for any success I can claim to have had since graduation: Drs. Moossa, Bouvet, Easter, Hoyt, Coimbra, Orloff … the list goes on. It was a very special time in my career that I remember with both fondness and great pride."

Dr. Matthew Katz is Associate Professor, Chief of the Pancreatic Surgery Service, and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Katz trained at UC San Diego between 1999 and 2006, including as part of the general residency program, and as a postdoctoral researcher at Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Carrie Peterson

Dr. Carrie Peterson

"I remember my time at UCSD very fondly — there is no other experience quite like residency training. When I interviewed at UCSD, I was very impressed with the residents and the camaraderie between them. During my time in training, my fellow residents became like family to me — my intern class is still very close and we visit each other regularly despite the miles that are now between us. The department faculty grew exponentially during my years there and I was exposed to so much cutting-edge surgery, some of which has influenced my current career choices. The faculty are exceptional mentors and I wouldn't be where I am today without their instructions, encouragement, and assistance. I am forever grateful for all they have done to help me be successful — that is the true sign of an exceptional education."

Dr. Carrie Peterson is Assistant Professor in the Division of Colorectal Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Peterson did her general surgery residency at UC San Diego between 2005 and 2012, and a research fellowship in UCSD's Division of Trauma. After her residency training at UCSD, Dr. Peterson went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering for a fellowship in Colorectal Oncology, and then to Cornell/NYP for an additional year of general Colorectal surgery training, before joining the faculty in Wisconsin.

Dr. Michael Clar

Dr. Michael Clar

"My time at UCSD provided me with many important experiences. It has been almost 30 years since I was an intern at UCSD. My 1st most important experience was that I met my wife, Jan Phillips-Clar, when she was a respiratory therapist and I was and intern in the Burn Unit. She eventually became the Director of Respiratory Care at UC San Diego and now is retired. The 2nd was the many mentors who have influenced my career. They include Drs. Stabile, Orloff, Moossa, Hye, Hoyt, Halasz and Davies, to mention just a few. The 3rd was my surgical rotation at Kaiser Permanente, which I enthusiastically enjoyed. I was very fortunate that a position became available and that I was hired at KP San Diego. It's hard to believe that I could have had a better experience at any other surgical residency."

Dr. Michael Clar, Chief of General Surgery at Kaiser Permanente San Diego, did his general surgery residency at UC San Diego between 1988-1993, before joining the Permanente Medical Group in 1993.

Dr. Hannah Copeland

Dr. Hannah Copeland

"UCSD is an excellent residency program with an amazing infrastructure to support the residents both academically and socially. The program director cares about the residents' wellbeing. The UCSD residency program is like a family. The faculty are exceptional mentors, who continue to be available as friends and mentors since I have graduated from the program 5 years ago. I am grateful for all the encouragement and support through my time at UCSD and for the wonderful education and the privilege to be exposed to novel surgical techniques and research. I am still close friends with co-residents from my graduating class."

Dr. Hannah Copeland is Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Mississippi. Copeland completed her general surgery residency at UC San Diego in 2012, before going on to Loma Linda University to complete a cardiothoracic surgery training program, and then a heart/lung and mechanical circulatory support fellowship at Indiana University.