General Surgery Education

General Surgery - Education Welcome - Peter W. Dillon, M.D., Chair of Surgery and Director of the training program for General Surgery

Welcome to the Penn State General Surgery residency. I am  Peter W. Dillon, M.D., Chair of Surgery for General Surgery at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, approximately 9 miles east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the capital of the Commonwealth. Our institution also houses the Pennsylvania State Colleges of Medicine and Nursing. The other graduate and undergraduate schools are in State College, Pennsylvania (University Park, Pennsylvania), approximately a two-hour drive northwest of Harrisburg.

Our residency program is fully accredited by the Residency Review Committee (RRC). We are approved to graduate five chief Residents in General Surgery per year. A laboratory experience of one to two years is encouraged and available to those who are motivated to remain in an academic environment. This experience is designed well in advance to allow the submission of grants through extramural funding agencies. Most of the Residents interested in an academic career spend two years in the laboratory, which is the most productive length of time. The laboratory experience generally occurs between the second and third clinical years depending on personnel resources and vocational interests.

The objective of our program is to train the best clinical and academic general surgeons possible. The program provides the opportunity for Residents to learn in depth the fundamentals of basic science as applied to clinical surgery. In addition, the program provides outstanding experience in the pre-operative, operative, and post-operative care of patients in all areas that constitute the principal components of general surgery as specified by the RRC.

There are three weeks of vacation per year. These three weeks are to be separated temporally rather than taken as a block. During years four and five, Residents are encouraged to write and submit an abstract for presentation at a national meeting. They are also entitled to attend one approved scientific meeting per year, during each of the last two years with the cost covered by the Department. To complete the program each resident is expected to publish at least one manuscript, as the primary author. This can be either of a basic science or clinical nature. At the completion of each rotation, performance evaluations that encompass the general competencies approved by the ACGME are completed by each faculty member.  These are available for the resident’s perusal, if so desired at the end of each rotation.  Residents meet with the Program Director regularly.  Residents are required to fill out confidential evaluations of faculty members and rotations.