The Valley Health System Receives Approval for General Surgery Residency Program

Thursday, October 25, 2018
VHS General Surgery Residency

The Valley Health System (VHS) General Surgery Residency Program has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for 28 total resident slots, which includes four categorical residents and eight preliminary resident slots.

Under the direction of program director Saju Joseph, MD, the first cohort of 16 residents will begin in July 2019, including PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents. They will rotate through Desert Springs, Henderson, Spring Valley and Summerlin hospitals in partnership with private practice surgeons throughout Las Vegas.

The five-year program will feature a mix of simulation and operating room experiences, research, clinic follow-up with patients, specialty certification upon residency completion, and preparation for the American Board of Surgery (ABS) Certification Exam.

One of the residency’s unique features will be its video-based surgical skills training platform. “Residents will be able to record their teaching cases and have their videos reviewed by local faculty and also international experts for feedback and insights into techniques they might not otherwise have access to," said Dr. Joseph. "This program is unique to The Valley Health System, and enables our resident physicians to develop a library of cases for future reference, along with mentorships outside the standard training models. This program is funded by the $794,000 GME grant through the Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology (OSIT) and the State of Nevada. I believe the use of technology and innovation in surgical education will lead to a better surgical workforce and better outcomes for patients in the future.”

Other program highlights include:


  • Using a comprehensive simulation curriculum to train in a consequence-free environment, housed at Spring Valley Hospital.
  • Performing autopsies with the Clark County Coroner’s Office and assisting on organ procurements with the Nevada Donor Network.
  • Performing rotations at UCLA Medical Center for transplant and hepatobiliary surgery and at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, the only Level I trauma center in the state, for trauma rotations, in collaboration with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • Utilizing an inter-professional curriculum, which includes nursing, physician assistants, and other allied health science professionals, to prepare residents to work in complex health teams.


  • Receiving certification in the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) and Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) upon completion of their residency program, along with training in ultrasound and robotic surgery.
  • Having access to the Surgical Council of Resident Education (SCORE) curriculum to prepare for the American Board of Surgery (ABS) Certification Exam.

Research and Quality Improvement

  • Participating in scholarly research and developing leadership skills by participating in hospital committees and quality improvement programs.

The General Surgery Residency Program is the first of eight planned by The Valley Health System to enhance graduate medical education programming in southern Nevada. Other programs include internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry and the transition/internship year.

“The Valley Health System has been involved in graduate medical education since 2006, when we began our program at Valley Hospital,” said Karla Perez, Regional Vice President. “Along with a focus on primary care physicians, we’re adding residencies for in-demand specialists to meet our community’s needs. The Physician Workforce in Nevada 2018 report indicated that in 2017, 76 percent of physicians who completed both undergraduate and graduate medical education in the state are currently practicing in Nevada*. This underscores our commitment to provide an excellent program and then recruit them to remain in our community.”

Learn more and apply to the General Surgery Residency Program