Q&A with AAMC’s General Surgery Residency Program Director Alex Gandsas

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After a successful Match Day, Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) will welcome six general surgery residents in July. General Surgery is AAMC’s first residency program, making this year’s resident cohort our inaugural class. What does this mean for AAMC? Alex Gandsas, MD, MBA, FACS, program director for the General Surgery Residency Program, answers this question and more.                               

As the program director, how do you feel leading the first residency program at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC)?

I am very excited to be the program director of our first residency [General Surgery] at AAMC.  I think all eyes will be on us to set the example and expectation of future programs.  It is extremely fulfilling to teach the next generation of young physicians, and we are ready to get started.

How was our applicant pool?

We had over 700 applications for our three first-year positions. We had to narrow that group, and actually reviewed about 100 applications, conducted 57 interviews and finally ranked 47 candidates.

In addition, we had about 60 applications for our three second-year positions. We interviewed 17 candidates to fill those spots.

How would you describe this year’s class of residents?

We are fortunate to have six exceptional residents joining us on July 1. They have diverse backgrounds and excellent recommendations from their schools/former programs.

Dr. Alex Gandsas

How will our new residents become oriented with AAMC?

Our new residents are already getting oriented and completing pre-requisites before they arrive. When they get here, they will have four full days of orientation to complete employment requirements, meet our leadership team, get Epic training, complete TeamStepps and other simulation as well as a meet and greet with our nursing team. The week will end with a surgical “boot camp.” It will be a busy week! 

Do you foresee the residency changing the culture at AAMC?

Residents will support and enhance our culture of patient safety and performance improvement.  They will be actively involved in research and evidence-based medicine, living on the cutting edge of innovation and technology. They will be integrated into our quality structure and provide even more eyes on the patient.

How will the residents impact patient safety?

Residents will be integrated into the established culture of patient safety at AAMC.  We will establish complete transparency with the residents, and even require them to report any patient safety concerns. They will be involved in LEAN processes and root cause analyses, and be an integral part of leading patient-safety projects.

How will residents enhance research activities at AAMC?

As a part of their residency, our residents will be required to complete a research project that can be presented at a local or national forum. With the help of our excellent faculty, the director of surgical research and the Research Institute, our residents will be afforded every opportunity to participate in research.

How would you generally describe our program curriculum, and how does our program stand out from others?

We have put together an amazing curriculum that includes our required surgical rotations, conferences, and more. Residents will have structured clinical work and education hours that will provide them flexibility in the learning environment to care for our patients. We have also carefully developed a full day of educational time that will include conferences and simulation. Each Friday, they will also cover a curriculum in research, quality, wellbeing/leadership and bioethics/humanities.  This is truly an educational environment where our residents will have both an excellent clinical and academic experience.

To learn more about Graduate Medical Education at AAMC, www.askAAMC.org/GME

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