Surgery Residency

5-year categorical program with general surgery emphasis

Early Operative Experience

General surgery emphasis

Level I Trauma Center and regional Burn Center

Rotations in public and private hospital settings

Strong research support ACGME-accredited

surgery theater
About the Program

About Our Program

Early operative experience in a collegial environment

Founded in 1955, the Surgery Residency at HCMC remains on the cutting edge of clinical training, preparing our graduates for sought-after positions in general surgery and fellowships.

Our residents learn from dedicated faculty within the HCMC system, an urban, academic hospital that serves the most serious trauma patients and the area’s safety net population. Additional rotations at private hospitals give residents a comprehensive view of surgical settings.

Working side-by-side with highly trained staff, residents quickly assume critical decision-making responsibilities and gain early operative experience in a supportive, collegial environment. Our graduates develop the clinical skills, diverse experience, and procedural confidence to succeed.


About Our Curriculum

General Surgery Emphasis with Latest SCORE, ATOM Curriculum

The Surgery Residency delivers a comprehensive, hands-on education that enables our residents to take an early and active role in patient care while working side-by-side with experienced surgeons and specialists. Rotations at HCMC, as well as the area’s leading private, community, and children’s hospitals, provide a well-rounded experience in all facets of general surgery.

In addition to our own topical didactics and hands-on training in the Interdisciplinary Simulation and Education Center, our program integrates the latest surgical curriculum, including:

  • The Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE)
  • The American College of Surgery (ACS)
  • Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM)
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS)


All residents must undertake a publishable research project of their choice prior to graduation. Our full-time education director provides one-on-one guidance for these clinical or quality improvement projects.



Departmental Conferences and Simulation Center Training

About Our Educational Experience

HCMC’s Surgery Residency requires all residents to attend our mandatory departmental conference each Tuesday. Surgical residents can also participate in a variety of optional, hospital-wide conferences on topics ranging from ethics to critical care.

Our program takes full advantage of HCMC’s state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Simulation and Education Center to help residents prepare for real-life surgical situations and SICU leadership.

Didactic Opportunities


Required Weekly Conference

Optional Departmental Conferences

    • Every Wednesday, noon
    • Topics rotate weekly

Burn Conference

      • First Wednesday of the month, 1 p.m.

Optional Hospital Conferences

    • Critical care (STAB) conference featuring review and discussion of selected critical cases from the previous week
    • Ethics
    • Medicine grand rounds
    • Pediatrics grand rounds


Dedicated Faculty with a Passion for Critical Care

Fifteen core faculty, many with advanced fellowship or critical care training, lead the Surgery Residency at HCMC. Our faculty bring long tenures with HCMC and play an integral role in our healthcare system’s operations.

Program leadership

  • Dr. Mark J. Hill, Chief, Department of Surgery, HCMC, and Director of Transplant Services, Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  • Dr. Richard Zera, Program Director, Surgery Residency, HCMC
  • Dr. Ashley P. Marek, Assistant Program Director, Surgery Residency, HCMC
  • Rachel Nygaard, PhD, Assistant Program Director for Education, Surgery Residency, HCMC

Areas of Expertise

Every day our faculty share their dedication and expertise in a variety of key disciplines.

Burn Surgery
Dr. Ryan Fey
Dr. Frederick Endorf
Dr. Jon Gayken
Dr. Kyle Schmitz

Colon and Rectal Surgery
Dr. Jeffrey Morken

General Surgery
Dr. Mark Hill
Dr. Jon Krook
Dr. Ashley P. Marek
Dr. Paul Stahler
Dr. Chad Richardson
Dr. Richard Zera

Minimal Invasive Surgery
Dr. Jon Krook

Dr. John Cumming
Dr. Mark Hill
Dr. Jon Krook
Dr. Chad Richardson

Surgical Oncology
Dr. Richard Zera

Dr. Mark Hill
Dr. Arthur Ney
Dr. Mark D. Odland
Dr. Chad Richardson

Trauma Surgery
Dr. John Cumming
Dr. Mark Hill
Dr. Jon Krook
Dr. Paul Stahler
Dr. Chad Richardson
Dr. Richard Zera

Vascular Surgery
Dr. Michael Hu

Rotation Schedule

About Our Rotations

From day one, our residents take an early and active role in patient care. Residents work with appropriate faculty supervision and obtain decision-making roles quickly. Rotations occur at HCMC and several private practice hospitals around Minneapolis, offering residents a well-rounded and diverse clinical experience with leading specialists.

In general, call is Q4 during PGY-1 and PGY-2, and Q5 starting PGY-3. Call is Q4 during the majority of rotations in PGY-5. There is no night float.


During the PGY-1 year, residents rotate in eight areas of study, with durations ranging from two to four weeks, to two months. Rotations emphasize general surgery, with an introduction to related fields such as emergency medicine, urology, anesthesia, radiology, and critical care. All rotations take place at the HCMC campus.


In PGY-2, residents assume the first point of contact for HCMC’s general surgery and neurosurgery services. Working with dedicated faculty, residents evaluate and assess all trauma and general surgery patients. Five rotations of 10-11 weeks each allow for greater continuity of care for surgical patients.


Working five rotations of 10-11 weeks each, residents gain experience in hospital, community, and private practice surgical settings. Residents assume the primary care of critically ill patients in general surgery, burns, trauma, and cardiovascular surgery. Rotations occur at HCMC and Abbott Northwestern Hospital, a private practice hospital system in Minneapolis.


Residents experience a year of surgical subspecialties during PGY-4, with rotations at HCMC and four other Minneapolis-based hospitals. Five rotations of 10-11 weeks each cover general surgery, pediatrics, vascular, thoracic, and endoscopic procedures, with additional time for research and community rotations.

Hospital sites include:


During the final program year, residents assume primary management of our general surgery and trauma surgery teams. Residents gain additional experience in surgical oncology, transplants, colorectal, and bariatric surgery. Five rotations of 10-11 weeks each comprise PGY-5, with all rotations occurring at the main HCMC campus.

Significant Autonomy and Leadership Opportunities


HCMC, Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, General Surgery / Trauma Teams, Neurological Surgery, Plastic / Burn Surgery, Radiology, SICU, Urological Surgery, (52 weeks split across all of these areas)


HCMC, General Surgery / Trauma Teams, (41.6 weeks)
HCMC, Neurosurgery, (10.4 weeks)


Abbott Northwestern Hospital, General Surgery, (10.4 weeks)
HCMC, Plastic / Burn Surgery, (10.4 weeks)
HCMC, SICU, (20.8 weeks)
HCMC, Vascular Access, (10.4 weeks)


HCMC, Endoscopy / Research, (10.4 weeks)
Abbott Northwestern Hospital, General Surgery, (10.4 weeks)
Children’s Health Center, Pediatric Surgery, (10.4 weeks)
HCMC & North Memorial Hospital, Thoracic Surgery, (10.4 weeks)
Fairview Southdale Hospital, Vascular Surgery, (10.4 weeks)


HCMC, General Surgery / Trauma Teams, (5 rotations of 10.4 weeks each for 52 weeks)

surgery theater


“My experience in the General Surgery Residency taught me to care for very sick patients with compassion and confidence.”

What Sets Us Apart?

Early operative experience.

Our program enables residents to maximize their time in the operating room. HCMC handles approximately 15,500 procedures annually, all conducted by staff and residents. Residents play a critical role in patient care and learn directly from our faculty, without competition from surgical fellows.

Level I Trauma Center and Burn Center.

At HCMC, residents care for patients at all levels of severity, including the region’s most critical cases in our Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center and certified Burn Center. This fast-paced yet team-driven environment exposes residents to the full spectrum of patient pathology and latest procedures and technology.

Diverse clinical experience.

With rotations at HCMC and the Twin Cities’ top private, community, and children’s hospital settings, residents gain experience in a variety of healthcare systems and work with patients from all walks of life. At HCMC, residents care for a multicultural mix of patients who speak dozens of languages—all without ever leaving the hospital.

High tech simulation training center.

Our new, state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Simulation and Education Center creates the perfect setting for residents to test their clinical skills, communication, and leadership abilities when faced with real-life situations. Residents quickly gain confidence to prepare them for SICU leadership.

Collegial environment.

As an academic system, teaching and research are priorities for all attending physicians. Residents collaborate daily with surgical faculty, as well as staff and residents from numerous other disciplines. This mix encourages constant discussion, a tradition of cooperation and teamwork, and a scholarly approach to patient problems.

Strong research support.

Clinical and quality improvement research is an important part of our program. Every resident works individually with our full-time education director on a research project of their choice.

Application Requirements

Applications Due November 30
Your application must include:

  • Medical school transcripts
  • Dean’s letter
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation, preferably from surgeons
  • USMLE Step 1 (required) and Step 2 if available
  • Personal statement

Applicants should be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a green card; this program does not accept H1B or J visas.


  1. Submission: Submit your application through the Electronic Resident Application System (ERAS). Contact your medical school’s student affairs or dean’s office for instructions. We do not accept applications through the mail. HCMC participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
  2. Scoring: Each applicant will be scored based on these criteria:
    • Board scores
    • Research
    • Medical school transcripts
    • Leadership roles
    • Honors and accomplishments
    • Dean’s letter
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement
    • Commitment to surgery
  3. Interviews: Applicants who meet a score threshold will be invited for interviews. We will notify you via email regarding interviews. We hold interviews in December, January, and February.

About Our Facility

Our surgical facilities are located within the main HCMC campus, which spans five city blocks in downtown Minneapolis. We handle cases at all levels of severity, including day-to-day emergencies and disaster response. Our single-site facility houses in-patient and ambulatory services, the region’s highest volume Emergency Department, and numerous specialty clinics.


charleana harris, surgery residency coordinator

Charleana "Charlie" Primeaux

General Surgery Residency Coordinator
Phone: 612-873-2849
Email[email protected]

Zera, Richard T., MS, MD, PhD Image

Dr. Richard Zera

General Surgery Residency Program Director
Phone: 612-873-2810
Email: [email protected]

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