Jefferson Surgical Solutions


The General Surgery Residency Program within the Department of Surgery received full accreditation for five years from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in January 2022. In March, the Residency Program completed a successful match—selecting seven categorical residents from about 1,600 applications. And in June, it said goodbye to longtime Residency Program Administrator Donna Guinto, who retired after 38 years with Jefferson.

Since Guinto became coordinator in 1994, the Department of Surgery’s Residency Program has grown in length (from five to six years), number of residents (from six to seven) and complexity (with more guidelines from ACGME and other bodies). The Department also offers Fellowships in Colorectal Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, Transplant Surgery and Vascular Surgery, with plans to add more in the future. Fellowships in pediatric surgery and vascular medicine are also offered but are managed by Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Division of Vascular Medicine respectively.

Considering Guinto’s retirement and other staff changes, Associate Dean of GME, Surgical Division, Karen Chojnacki, MD, recognized an opportunity to reorganize based on the program’s expansion. By bringing residency education together with both undergraduate (medical students) and fellowship education, the Department could offer better experiences to learners.

The Department hired Paul Hazen as program administrator across all three education levels and Brielle Maugeri as residency program coordinator. Currently, various departmental secretaries serve as fellowship coordinators. The longer-term plans call for those roles to move under Hazen for a team of six people supporting GME administration.

“With our new team in place, we hope to administer these residencies and fellowships with greater attention to detail,” Dr. Chojnacki says. “We also want stay ahead of the game with ACGME and start proactively innovating how we design and run the programs.” Dr. Chojnacki says that innovative approaches will be essential with major changes on the horizon. One of the most urgent: the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) moving to pass/fail grading.

“Many schools are also moving to pass/fail grading, which makes it much harder to differentiate candidates,” she says. “We will have to become more innovative in who – and how – we recruit.”