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University of California, Irvine Medical Center

Our program places strong emphasis on provision of excellent clinical care, establishing new horizons in minimally invasive surgery, education of residents and medical students in all aspects of surgery, and high-level surgical research.  Our program trains and prepares some of the finest young surgeons in the country for the rigors of academic or private practice as well as subsequent fellowship training.

Our general surgery residency program’s integrated and affiliated training sites include rotations in surgical oncology, cardiothoracic, vascular, gastrointestinal, colorectal, hepatobiliary, general surgery, surgical critical care, pediatric surgery, emergency general surgery, and trauma/acute care surgery. UC Irvine’s faculty and volunteer faculty, as well as that of our affiliate institutions, are committed to teaching and provide residents with a variety of resources and opportunities to engage their surgical knowledge. Surgical residents perform clinical rotations at our University Medical Center, the Veteran’s Affairs – Long Beach Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Mission Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Residents interested in research will find a broad range of resources and mentors. While not required, research during residency imbues critical skills and exposes the resident to the an additional  dimension of academic surgery. Options for one or two years of dedicated research outside of the clinical track are available.

We wish you the best of luck in your surgical pursuits!

Brian R. Smith, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Professor of Surgery
Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program

To view Dr. Smith's faculty profile, please click here

Program Overview »

The UC Irvine Department of Surgery emphasizes six competence areas identified by the ACGME for organization of educational objectives and assessment methods:

  1. Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  2. Medical knowledge about established and evolving surgical sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  3. Practice-based learning and improvement that involves the investigation and evaluation of care for patients.
  4. Interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and other health professionals.
  5. Professionalism, as manifested in a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adhering to ethical principles and demonstrating sensitivity to patients of diverse backgrounds.
  6. Systems-based practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of healthcare, as well as the ability to draw effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

For further eligibility requirements and resident information, please visit our Graduate Medical Education site. 

About Us »

In 2006, UC Irvine became one of the first educational institutions in the United States to be accredited by the American College of Surgeons for simulation training. As a Level I accredited state-of the art simulation center, UC Irvine offers residents the means to learn novel techniques to supplement their curriculum in both open and minimally invasive surgery.

At UC Irvine, residents receive exposure to all core components of surgery, as well as specialized training in surgical oncology, vascular surgery, minimally invasive surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, trauma and acute surgery, and transplantation.

Aside from didactics, residents are exposed to a wide variety of knowledge and skill building activities such as labs, FLS, oral board practice, pre-op rounds,  professionalism and practice lectures and journal club.

Additionally, our Associate and Assistant Program Directors, Dr. Maki Yamamoto  and Dr. Matthew Whealon have dedicated their roles to furthering education, research, and wellness within the program. 

The UC Irvine, School of Medicine mission: Discover. Teach. Heal
Learn more about how the  UC Irvine Medical Center is living its mission through the  UCI Irvine Health Magazine and Helping You Live Well .

Teaching Hospitals »

UC Irvine Medical Center

UC Irvine Medical Center is an academic medical center and principal clinical facility for the School of Medicine’s teaching and research programs. The following services are provided: medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, family medicine, pathology, radiology, ophthalmology, neurology, anesthesiology, and pain management and rehabilitation. The medical center has cardiac, neonatal, respiratory, burn, and medical-surgical intensive care units. It is the designated countywide Level I tertiary trauma referral center.

  • 424 bed tertiary referral center
  • ACS Level I Trauma Center & Burn Center
  • Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center (CDDC)
  • Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care Center (C4)
  • Aesthetic Institute and Beckman Laser Institute 
  • ACS Certified Surgical Skills Training Center
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Skills Test Center (FLS)

The UC Irvine Medical Center is located in the city of Orange and the university itself is nestled in Irvine (15 minutes away). 

Affiliate Teaching Hospitals
As part of our philosophy of training, UCI surgical residency includes exposure to all practice types (Academic, private practice, VA, multispecialty HMO) with the below training sites. 

Applying to our Program »

Resident applications are accepted entirely through ERAS and determined via the NRMP process.
No phone calls please.

Matching applicants will begin their residency the following June.

Requirements for application:

  • ERAS Application
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • MSPE (Dean’s Letter)
  • Grades/transcripts
  • USMLE/COMLEX transcripts
  • Meet all UCI GME requirements for appointment. Found here
  • Applicants from international medical schools must be ECFMG certified at time of application.

Applications for the 2022-2023 interview season will be reviewed in October for the following interview dates:

November 10, 2022
November 17, 2022
December 1, 2022
December 8, 2022
December 15, 2022

Of note, we will be participating in the Supplemental ERAS application. For more information, please visit the AAMC's site regarding this.
In addition, we invite selected applicants to join our residents in an informal zoom meet and greet on the evening before their scheduled interview. 

All interviews and activities will be conducted virtually. 

For more information, please visit our Graduate Medical Education page. 

Resident Curriculum/Training Philosophy »


The residency curriculum is a two-year cycle with teaching conferences oriented to the curriculum. It includes standardized readings and a review of surgical text, basic science, surgical decision-making, SCORE, AccessSurgery and the American College of Surgeons’ Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program. 

Residents have a 4-hour protected time block to attend core conferences each Thursday.
Weekly core conferences consist of:

6:30 am to 7:30 am:    Didactics/Basic Science
7:30 am to 8:30 am:    Morbidity and Mortality Conference (M&M)
8:30 am to 9:30 am:    Grand Rounds
9:30 am to 10:30 am:  Resident Education (labs, journal club, pre-op rounds, lectures, town hall etc.)

Education and Core Conferences »

UC Irvine's Department of Surgery prides itself on its dedication to furthering knowledge. Core Conferences are held weekly for the department and feature resident didactics, grand rounds, morbidity and mortality conference and a resident education hour. In addition, each division meets to discuss its specific patient assessments and education. 
  • Core Conferences –  Thursday mornings (Didactics/Core Curriculum, Grand Rounds, M&M, Resident Education Hour), 6:30 am to 10:30 am
  • Hepatobiliary Tumor Board – First Monday of each month from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
  • Transplant Conference (includes journal club) – Fourth Monday of each month from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Breast Conference – Second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 12 to 1 p.m
  • Integrated GI/Med/Surg Conference – First Wednesday of each month from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Colorectal Conference –  Thursdays 11 am to 12 pm
  • Vascular Conference Weekly –  Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Trauma/Critical Care Conference –  Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Burn Journal Club - 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 pm 
Orange County: Recreational, Cultural, and Social  »

With a climate that ranges from 50 to 75 degrees in the winter and 60 to 90 degrees in the summer, and close proximity to the mountains and the ocean, Orange County, California offers a wide variety of activities from skiing and snowboarding to surfing, sailing and other water sports. In fact, swimming, boating, surfing, skin diving and fishing are year-round sports. Orange County boasts expansive parks, scenic hiking, biking and jogging trails as well as public golf courses and tennis courts.

Hard core sports fans will enjoy frequent professional sporting events, including Angels’ baseball, the Anaheim Ducks for hockey and horseracing at the Santa Anita and Del Mar tracks.

Orange County is home to the nationally renowned South Coast Repertory, the Discovery Science Center, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, art museums, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, as well as numerous performance and sports venues.

Visitors to nearby Los Angeles will find some of the best entertainment facilities in the country including:  the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, the Geffen Playhouse, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater and the Hollywood Bowl. A variety of smaller stage productions are also available in Hollywood and the nearby Melrose Avenue district. Extensive art collections are on view at the Los Angeles County, Norton Simon and Getty art museums, as well as at the Huntington Library, which is home to a world-class arboretum. There are also numerous smaller art galleries throughout the region.

The region’s extensive freeway system makes all of these activities readily accessible. San Diego, with Sea World, the prestigious San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, and the U.S./Mexican border are only a two-hour drive away.

View: Like a Local - Irvine

2022-2023 Chief Residents »

Katie Galvin, MD – Administrative Chief Resident
Undergraduate: University of Arizona
Medical School: University of Arizona, College of Medicine
Future Plans: GI/MIS Fellowship at USC

Elliot Silver, MD
Undergraduate: UC Riverside
Graduate: UC Riverside
Medical School: UC Riverside, School of Medicine
Future Plans: Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at UC Irvine

Dean Spencer, MD
Undergraduate: University of Washington
Medical School: UC Irvine, School of Medicine
Future Plans: Thoracic Surgery Fellowship at Loma Linda University

Stephen Stopenski, MD – Education Chief Resident
Undergraduate: Gettysburg College
Medical School: Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Future Plans: Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at UC San Diego

Eric Yeates, MD – Education Chief Resident
Undergraduate: UCLA
Medical School: University of Iowa, College of Medicine
Future Plans: Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at Vanderbilt 

Miya Yoshida, DO
Undergraduate: UC San Diego
Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
Future Plans: GI/MIS Fellowship at NYU Langone Health

Resident Perspectives »

"There is so much support from the level of the attending physicians, to my co-residents, to the mid-level practitioners. I feel incredibly fortunate to be at UC Irvine and I couldn't imagine doing residency anywhere else."

"The best part of the program so far has been the people. My co-residents are easy to get along with, I feel comfortable discussing cases with my seniors and even the attendings. We get exposure to a lot of cases and as interns have a decent amount of time in the OR. The stereotypical surgical program (hierarchical in nature) does not exist here for the most part. You are among colleagues who will listen to you and help you improve on a daily basis."

"I was first interested in UCI Surgery because it is an academic center with a diverse patient population, a moderate sized residency class and is in a great location.  After working here for 3 years, I now know that the best part of UCI is the people.  The residents, attendings, students and staff truly work as a team.  We help each other, teach each other and support each other.  This is unique and not something that can be found in most surgical residencies.  The training is also excellent because we work at a University Center, VA, Kaiser and a private practice hospital."

"UCI surgery is different because it is not a program --it is a family. I first realized this as a Sub-I, and it becomes more solidified every day. An as a family, we want everyone to excel, we expect the best from each other, and we are always there for each other."

"The most important part of our program is the diversity that it provides its resident. We are a university program that experiences opportunities at multitude of different community programs. Our operating experience is diverse and extensive. We have the opportunity to operate with the world experts, and at the same time be able to experience the community, private surgeon’s point of view."

UC Irvine Surgery Residency - Alumni »

Department of Surgery -  Alumni


Our graduates have forged different paths based on their surgical passions. Some have pursued subspeciality fellowships in academic institutions while others have moved towards private, group or HMO practice organizations. 


Below is a list of recent graduates and their post-graduate destinations:

Resident Graduation Year Post-Graduate Specialty
Raymond Chou, MD 2022 Kaiser Permanente - San Bernadino, CA General Surgery
Patrick Delaplain, MD 2022 Fellowship - Boston Children's Hospital Pediatric Surgery
William Duong, MD 2022 Fellowship - UCLA  Vascular Surgery
Cyrus Farzaneh, MD 2022 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Colon and Rectal Surgery
Elsie Robertson, MD 2022 Saddleback Medical Center - Laguna Hills, CA  General Surgery
Rene Tellez, MD 2022 Kaiser Permanente - San Bernadino, CA General Surgery
Lutfi Al-Khouja 2021 Kaiser Permanente - Sacramento, CA General Surgery
Sahil Gambhir, MD 2021 Fellowship - University of Southern California MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Shelley Maithel, MD 2021 Fellowship - University of Southern California Vascular Surgery
Daniel Mayers, DO 2021 Private Practice General Surgery
Keri Mayers, DO 2021 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Colon and Rectal Surgery
Hodad Naderi, MD 2021 Providence Holy Cross General Surgery
Brian Sheehan, MD 2021 Fellowship - Stanford University Vascular Surgery
Viktor Gabriel, MD 2020 Fellowship - UC Irvine Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Areg Grigorian, MD 2020 Fellowship - University of Southern California Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Ravi Morchi, MD 2020 Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles Cardiothoracic Surgery
Nicholas Serniak, MD 2020 Fellowship - University of Southern California Colon and Rectal Surgery
Blake Wachi, MD 2020 Private Practice - Tacoma, WA General Surgery
Colette Inaba, MD 2019 Fellowship - University of Washington  MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Eugene Kahn, MD 2019 Practice - LBMMC General Surgery
Christina Koh, MD 2019 Practice - Kaiser Permenante General Surgery
Luke Putnam, MD 2019 Fellowship - University of Southern California MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Sarath Sujatha-Bhaskar, MD 2019 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Eugene Won, MD 2019 Fellowship - UCLA
Fellowship - Newark Beth Israel
Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Samuel Chen, MD 2018 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Vascular Surgery
John Gahagan, MD 2018 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Jennifer Nishimura, MD 2018 Fellowship- The Ohio State University Thoracic Oncology
Alliya Qazi, MD 2018 Fellowship- Stanford University Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Andrew Wang, MD 2018 Fellowship - Cedars Sinai Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Matthew Whealon, MD 2018 Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania Colon and Rectal Surgery
Claire Chavez, MD 2017 Practice - LBMMC General Surgery
Mark Hanna, MD 2017 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Vivian Le-Tran, DO 2017 Fellowship- USC Breast Surgery
Steven Maximus, MD 2017 Fellowship - University of Chicago Vascular Surgery
Michael Morell, MD 2017 Fellowship - Gunderson Medical Center MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Alexis Plasencia, MD 2017 Fellowship - University of Miami  Colon and Rectal Surgery
Jennifer Foe-Parker, MD, MBA 2016 Kaiser Permanente - Woodland Hills General Surgery
Michael Li, MD 2016 Fellowship - Scripps, San Diego MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Hossein Masoomi, MD 2016 Fellowship - University of Texas Plastic Surgery
Michael Sgroi, MD 2016 Fellowship - Stanford University Vascular Surgery
Monica Young, MD 2016 Fellowship - University of Washington  MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Timothy Feldmann, MD 2015 Fellowship - USC Colon and Rectal Surgery
Caitlin Houghton, MD 2015 Fellowship - UC San Diego MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Mehraneh "Dorna" Jafari, MD 2015 Fellowship - Cornell University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Thai Lan Tran, MD 2015 Fellowship - Jackson Memorial Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Fredrick Che, MD 2014 Fellowship - UCSF Fresno MIS Foregut/Bariatrics
Molly Deane, MD 2014 Fellowship- University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Trauma/Critical Care Surgery
Kelly Huynh, MD 2014 Fellowship - John Wayne Cancer Center Surgical Oncology
Celeste Kang, MD 2014 Fellowship - Florida Hospital (Orlando) Colon and Rectal Surgery
Kristelle Lusby, MD 2014 Fellowship - Indiana University Plastic Surgery
Gregory Thom, MD 2014 Fellowship - University of Arizona Vascular Surgery
Joseph Chen, MD 2013 Fellowship - Method Hospital System in Houston  Plastic Surgery
Nicole Datrice-Hill, MD 2013 Kasier Permanente - Northern California General Surgery
Patrick Rudersdorf, MD 2013 Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles Cardiothoracic Surgery
Christopher Washington, MD 2013 Kaiser Permanente - Orange County  General Surgery
Boris Borazjani, MD, MPH 2012 Fellowship - University of California, Irvine Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Brian Buchberg, MD 2012 Fellowship -  Oregon Health Science University Colon and Rectal Surgery
Justin Galovich, MD 2012 Fellowship- Harbor UCLA Vascular Surgery
Meghann Kaiser, MD 2012 Fellowship- University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Trauma/Surgical Critical Care
Erwin Ong, MD 2012 Private Practice - Kaiser Permanente General Surgery


Zot Spot - UCI Residency News »

For surgery anteater news and updates, please visit our social media pages:

Twitter @UCIrvineSurgery
Instagram @ucisurgery
Facebook @ucisurgery

Contact Us »

General Surgery Residency Program

University of California, Irvine
3800 Chapman Ave, Ste 6200 | Orange, CA 92868

UC Irvine Health:   
University of California, Irvine:

Stephanie Horn
Residency Coordinator 

Nicole Yonaki
Asst. Residency Coordinator 

Tania Saba
Education Manager