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Our Programs

Our commitment to education includes teaching undergraduate and postgraduate trainees, as well as other health care professionals. Due to our clinical diversity and case volumes, UHN has the largest clinical fellowship program in Canada. On any given day, learners at all levels, including medical students, residents, fellows and observers, can be found in our division. Below is a list of our educational and research programs.

Some education programs at UHN may be suspended or modified at this time. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.


The University of Toronto offers Clinical Fellowships in several subspecialty areas within general surgery to provide additional specialized clinical and research training to physicians who will be returning to an academic position upon program completion. Fellowships span one to two years and may involve rotation through multiple hospital sites in Toronto. During this time, fellows will be exposed to a mix of cases and may participate in elective rotations, lecture series, journal clubs, institutional rounds and conferences. Fellows are also expected to complete a research project and produce a publication-ready manuscript. The following Fellowship programs offered by the University include UHN either as a primary site or as a rotation site.

Abdominal Organ Transplant

The two-year Abdominal Organ Transplant Fellowship operates primarily out of Toronto General Hospital in conjunction with the Hepatobiliary (HPB) Surgical Oncology Program. These two programs share a core first year that focuses on clinical training in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the liver, biliary tract and pancreas. Fellows will do deceased donor and transplant procedures, elective HPB Surgery and in-patient management. In the second year, Transplant Fellows will continue their deceased donor activities while focusing in on complex transplants such as liver re-transplants, multi-visceral transplants, and living donor liver transplants. Second year fellows also spend a significant amount of time at the Hospital for Sick Children participating in the pediatric liver transplant program. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

* denotes Program Director

Breast Surgical Oncology

The one-year Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship is a SSO-accredited program that provides 2 or 3 Fellows per year with experience in the assessment and surgical management of benign and malignant breast diseases. Through rotations at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Women’s College Hospital and the Edmond Odette Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Fellows will gain experience in axillary nodal surgery, oncoplastic surgery, mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, breast imaging, pathology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and other areas. Please refer to the SSO website for details on how to apply. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

* denotes Program Director

Colorectal Surgery

The main objective of the Colorectal Surgery Fellowship at UHN is to provide the fellows with exposure to minimally invasive techniques in the treatment of benign and malignant disease of the colon and rectum. Fellows are also exposed to a high volume of interventional endoscopy and benign anorectal disease. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

Complex General Surgical Oncology

The two-year Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship offers Fellows two tracks: a General Surgical Oncology (GSO) track and a Hepato-pancreato-biliary Oncology/GSO track. Through rotations at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at UHN, the Edmond Odette Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital, Fellows will gain experience in areas such as lower gastrointestinal malignancies, radiation oncology and surgical pathology. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

Endocrine Surgery

The University of Toronto offers a 1-year academic clinical fellowship in Endocrine Surgery. This program, centered within the Division of General Surgery at UHN, encompasses a large academic program with a very high volume and varied case-load in thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and neuroendocrine GI procedures. Significant opportunities for research exist in many areas with impactful surgical researchers. The program objective is to train the future leaders in the field of endocrine surgery. Fellows will graduate with the skills needed to become master clinicians, impactful investigators and collaborative health advocates in the field of endocrine surgery and oncology.

* denotes Program Directorr

Hepatobiliary (HPB) Surgical Oncology

The two-year Hepatobiliary (HPB) Surgical Oncology Fellowship operates primarily out of Toronto General Hospital in conjunction with the Abdominal Organ Transplant Program. These two programs share a core first year that focuses on clinical training in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the liver, biliary tract and pancreas rotating on both the HPB and abdominal transplant services. Fellows will do deceased donor and transplant procedures, elective HPB Surgery and in-patient management. In the second year, HPB Surgical Oncology Fellows will focus on complex HPB surgeries such as Klatskin-type resections and laparoscopic HPB procedures as well as focus on multidisciplinary oncologic care. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

* denotes Program Director

Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery

The Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery program can be undertaken as either a one-year clinical fellowship or a two-year clinical/research fellowship. Fellows will gain experience in advanced minimally invasive techniques, including in laparoscopic bariatric, colorectal, foregut and solid organ surgery. Two institutions participate in this Fellowship: Toronto Western Hospital at UHN and Humber River Regional Hospital. UHN surgeons affiliated with this program include:

* denotes Program Director

Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on all of the Fellowship Programs is provided by the Division of General Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

The Fellowship Director for General Surgery is Dr. Timothy Jackson.


The University of Toronto offers a diverse General Surgery Residency Program with training in the majority of the areas within the specialty. At UHN, General Surgery Residents complete rotations at the Toronto General Hospital, the Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Residents are trained in the following subspecialty areas of General Surgery:

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Hepatobiliary Surgery
  • Endocrine Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgical Oncology
  • Breast Surgical Oncology
  • Solid organ transplantation
  • Acute Care Surgery

Residents may apply to the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) to complete a Masters or PhD level research project in preparation for an academic career in general surgery. Many of these SSTP residents are supervised by UHN General Surgery Faculty members.

Many of these 'SSTP residents' are under supervision of UHN faculty.

Residents are evaluated in the clinical setting by their supervisor(s), and are encouraged to develop autonomy and the technical and clinical skills that will help them on their path toward independent practice.

Resident education includes didactic teaching sessions with specific topics presented over the duration of their rotation, simulation sessions, oral exam practice sessions, Surgery Grand Rounds, and General Surgery Quality Rounds.

Presently these rounds are all in a virtual format due to COVID-19.

Daily Teaching

An important focus of our postgraduate resident education program is the daily teaching, which consists of: informal and formal teaching sessions on the ward, in the ambulatory care clinic and in the operating room.

The entire teaching series has been designed to allow important basic and subspecialty general surgery lectures to be completed during each resident rotation.

Most of our staff participate in these teaching sessions. To ensure a comprehensive curriculum, we include teaching by our non-physician healthcare colleagues, where appropriate.

Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on the Residency Program is provided by the Division of General Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

The Resident Site Coordinators are Dr. Preeti Dhar (Toronto General Hospital), Dr. Todd Penner (Toronto Western Hospital) and Dr. Tulin Cil (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre).


Dr. George Oreopoulos and Dr. Caleb Zavitz
Every year the UHN Department of Surgery hosts a Holiday Fun Rounds in December as an opportunity for the residents, fellows and other staff to show their ‘appreciation and affection’ for all the surgical staff. Here, Dr. George Oreopoulos is shown presenting the 2019 award for best rounds presentation to Dr. Caleb Zavitz.

Research is integral to many of the educational programs supported by the Division of General Surgery. Several of the Division's surgeons lead cutting-edge research programs and are affiliated or clinical scientists in Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Krembil Research Institute or The Institute for Education Research at UHN:








Research areas of interest include gastrointestinal cancer genetics, regenerative medicine, transplant tolerance, surgical oncology and innovative teaching strategies.

Some of our surgeons hold additional appointments in departments at the University of Toronto beyond their appointments with the Department of Surgery, such as:

More information on the research being done at UHN and the University of Toronto can be found here:


University of Toronto Medical Students

The Division of General Surgery has a significant role in Undergraduate Education at the University of Toronto.

The University offers core and elective experience for its undergraduate Medical Students. First- and second-year students have the opportunity to do clinical electives, meet with surgeons, and do summer research projects. Students in their third year can rotate with the Division of General Surgery as Clinical Clerks. As Clerks, students will be assigned to a team where they will be integrated into the daily patient care activities. By being in the clinic and operating room as well as participating in rounds, Clerks will be exposed to an overview of the different types of surgical problems and care.

During their rotation, students may have the opportunity to:

  • Observe laparotomies or laparoscopies, MIS procedures, thyroid and endocrine procedures, and breast surgery
  • Be involved in assessing and managing acute abdomen or abdominal traumas, groin hernias and appendicitis
  • Examine breast lumps

The clinical experience is complemented by the option to contribute to clinical or basic research.

Further information on Undergraduate education is provided by the Division of General Surgery at the University of Toronto.

The Undergraduate Coordinator is Dr. Lorne Rotstein.

Elective Program

The Division of General Surgery accepts Elective Students from universities across Canada and abroad.

Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS)

The CREMS Summer Program provides medical students with the opportunity to obtain research experience during the summer months.

The CREMS Summer Program i​s open to first- and second-year medical students at the University of Toronto.

Applications are submitted, reviewed, ranked and selected by the CREMS Director and a review panel of three other faculty members.​

Students in the program present their work at the University of Toronto Medical Student Research Day, which is held in the following year with a poster presentation. Supervisors ensure that students receive the appropriate training needed to conduct their research projects.

Further information is provided by the CREMS office at the University of Toronto.

Patient as Teacher Program

The third-year surgical clerkship for undergraduate medical students at the University of Toronto integrates the Patient as Teacher program. Comprising three workshops and production of a creative reflection piece, this program aims to promote humanism and patient-centred approaches in medicine. Patients share their experiences and insights to provide students with the patient perspective of the surgical journey.

Further information on the Patient as Teacher program »


Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks
Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks George Ho (left) and Sivaani Sivaselvachandran (right).

The Observerships program at UHN provides health care professionals and students from around the world the opportunity to observe examinations and other procedures performed by UHN staff physicians, surgeons, nurses, and health professionals. All Observers require a UHN sponsor – a clinical or surgical staff member who will be responsible for the Observer’s learning experience. It is the observer’s responsibility to connect with a sponsor and then proceed with the application process.

In addition to the general Observerships program, the International Centre for Education at UHN’s Michener Institute of Education offers the Personalized Learning Program.

Personalized Learning Program (PLP)

The PLP at UHN is a fully customizable, observership-based program designed to meet learner goals and objectives. No two PLPs are exactly the same! Various resources and expertise throughout UHN are leveraged to enhance the learning experience. The program office works closely with host program(s) and learners to develop an Education Plan, outlining the activities of the PLP which are meant to meet the learning objectives. One-on-one coaching time and check-ins are also scheduled throughout the program, as needed. Learners are asked to provide a short presentation at the end of the program to summarize their learning and provide feedback. Learners also receive a UHN-Michener Certificate of Completion at the end of the program.

Depending on the PLP, the program may also be done virtually. A virtual PLP will provide one-on-one or group mentorship-like experiences and masterclasses with UHN clinicians and leaders. The virtual programs will be designed around and focused on meeting learners’ personalized learning needs and objectives.

Further information on the PLP is available from the International Centre for Education.