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UT’s surgical residency program ranked No. 14 in country

Newly released research shows that surgical residency programs should be valued for their outcome-based measures, not just their reputation.

This bodes well for The University of Toledo’s surgical residency program, which ranks 14th when looking at outcomes.

“This solidifies what we already know about UT’s surgical residency,” said Dr. Munier Nazzal, professor of vascular surgery, director of the General Surgery Residency Program, and chief of the Division of Surgical Education at The University of Toledo Medical Center. “We offer an excellent surgical residency program that results in our alumni contributing to articles, grants and clinical trials in the surgical field.”

The article in the Journal of Surgical Education stated that reputation alone doesn’t do justice for a residency’s quality when comparing surgical residency programs across the country. For instance, Columbia University Medical Center ranked 26th for reputation, but fell to No. 133 for its outcomes ranking. UT had an even larger discrepancy with reputation of 205th.

The research was compiled through publicly available data from all 218 eligible general surgery residency programs. To generate an outcomes-based program ranking, surgery programs were evaluated according to an average percentile that was calculated using board pass rates and the prevalence of alumni publications. This information was compared against peer nominations generated through a 2014 national survey that asked 17,000 verified physicians to rate as many as five residency programs.

“Our residency has changed over the past few years,” Nazzal said. “The most important step was to improve the educational part of the residency training. We shifted from ‘service providers’ to ‘balanced education, research and service’ with well-defined programs of research, teaching and education. The collective efforts of the teaching faculty and the open-door policy to all residents improved communication with residents and, thus, their performance. Continuous improvement and innovation is our goal to become the best in the field.”

The article stated that the mean board pass rate of the 218 programs was 72 percent, and 60 programs were placed in the 75th percentile or above for the number of articles, grants or clinical trials authored by program alumni. UT was among those in the 75-plus percentile.

Nazzal said UT’s carefully designed surgical residency program, which has 32 residents, allows residents to get into respectable fellowship programs. The residency was further improved by offering training in and outside of UTMC.

“Focusing on research as part of education helped put our residency program on the map of education and training and introduced us as a program of high caliber into the surgical education community in the country,” he said.