Training & Curriculum

The Complex Surgical Oncology Fellowship program includes 20 months of clinical rotations and four months of translational research.

Clinical Rotations

The clinical portion of the program is heavily weighted toward the strengths of the institution, focusing on complex gastrointestinal malignancies, pancreatic and hepatobiliary malignancies, breast cancer, melanoma, head and neck cancer, bone and soft-tissue sarcoma and foregut malignancies. In addition, trainees will rotate on gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical pathology, and interventional radiology, with exposure to chemo-embolization and radiofrequency ablation. The program emphasizes coordinated multidisciplinary care which allows the trainee to be involved in all aspects of patient management.

The core curriculum includes weekly surgical grand rounds, didactic sessions in surgical oncology, specialty/tumor-specific meetings and conferences, and clinical research. New patients are presented at multidisciplinary tumor boards where pathology slides and images are reviewed with multiple attending physicians for discussion of multidisciplinary care.


Under the guidance of a faculty member, the trainee will participate in writing journal papers and may participate in writing research protocols and grant proposals. He or she will learn to evaluate scientific publications and to prepare research results for submission to peer-reviewed medical/scientific journals. The program's four months of translational research include an opportunity to collaborate with basic scientists in the surgical oncology research laboratories of the Department of Surgery and other cooperating departments. Collaborative opportunities are widely available with scientists in the Division of Medical Oncology and the Department of Radiation Oncology as well.

The fellow is expected to participate in ongoing clinical research protocols and is encouraged to present his or her research findings at local and national meetings. The trainee will actively participate in clinical studies and will recruit patients for translational research studies. In addition, the fellow will attend basic science and clinical specialty research seminars. Previously trained fellows, as well as current surgical residents, have presented their work at the annual meetings of the Society of Surgical Oncology, Pacific Coast Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.