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History of the Department of Surgery
The Albert Einstein Medical Center was founded in 1865 Philadelphia as “The Jewish Hospital.” One of its core missions was the care of Jewish veterans of the Civil War. In addition, in that era, it was difficult for Jewish physicians to get admitting privileges at most hospitals. The hospital relocated to its current location in Northeast Philadelphia in the 1930s. The intersection of Broad and Olney streets was at that time the last stop on the Broad Street line. In 1952, the Jewish Hospital merged with central Philadelphia’s Mt. Sinai Hospital to form the Einstein Medical Center, named after the physicist, Albert Einstein. The medical center grew in size and scope over the next 30 years, acquiring the Belmont psychiatric hospital and the Germantown Hospital. In the 1980s, Mt. Sinai Hospital dissociated from the Center. Einstein established an academic affiliation with Thomas Jefferson Medical College in the 1990s. Einstein also acquired Rolling Hill Hospital, in nearby Elkins Park. In late 2012, the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network will be opening a new 350-bed hospital in East Norrington—Einstein Montgomery.
For the first 100 years of the hospital’s history, the Department of Surgery was staffed by voluntary surgeons from the community. The first full-time attending joined the department in 1985. Over the next 30 years, the department has grown to comprise over 25 full-time attendings. It currently has divisions of Trauma and Transplantation. The department has a rich history and tradition. Drs. Somers, Solit, Steerman, Kaplan, Greenberg, Jablon, and Grisafi are alumni of the department who went on to become surgeons here.
Chairmen of the Department of Surgery
1950-1955 Albert Behrend, MD, FACS1956-1960 Gerald Amsterdam, MD, FACS1961-1964 Julian Sterling, MD, FACS1965-1970 Morton Parriera, MD, FACS1970-1972 Albert Behrend, MD, FACS1972-1979 Aaron Bannett, MD, FACS1979-1981 Robert Somers, MD, FACS1981-1984 Victor Bernhardt, MD, FACS1986-2005 Robert Somers, MD, FACS2006-present H. Hank Simms, MD, FACS
The General Surgery rotations are based at Einstein Philadelphia and Einstein Montgomery. Each setting has a different patient and case-load mix. Einstein Philadelphia is the 700-bed quarternary referral center within the Einstein system. Northeast Philadelphia provides a diverse and under-privileged patient population. In addition to a busy elective volume, Einstein Philadelphia provides the most exposure to emergency and acute-care surgery. Einstein Montgomery (starting in January 2013) is expected to provide a large case-load of “bread and butter” elective surgery, in addition to vascular, bariatric, and thoracic surgery.
Einstein Elkins Park is a smaller 300-bed acute care hospital in nearby Elkins Park. The bulk of the surgical volume here is elective. It is the principal home of the Bariatric program, but also provides a large volume of non-Bariatric minimally invasive surgery.
The SICU rotation is based at Einstein Philadelphia. 1st and 2nd year residents staff the 18-bed SICU. The typical categorical resident will rotate through the SICU for a 4-5 months in the first two years. This prepares them well as they transition to a mid-level resident. This is a demanding rotation, as many of the hospital’s sickest patients are cared for here. Critically ill patients from the general surgical, transplant, trauma, and neurosurgery services are cared for by three critical-care board-certified surgeons.
The Trauma rotation is staffed by a 4th year and 1st year resident . Einstein Philadelphia is a Level-1 Trauma center, one of 5 in Philadelphia. Annually the service has 1500 Level 1 or 2 trauma-activations. The blunt/penetrating ratio is 3:1. The service performs about 100 acute trauma operations per year. On nights and weekends, the trauma service is led by an in-house attending surgeon and the on-call 4th or 5th year resident.
The Vascular/Thoracic rotation is based at Einstein Philadelphia. Because we have no fellows in vascular surgery, all of these cases are staffed by our surgical residents. Our vascular surgeons operate both in the operating room and a state-of-the-art endovascular suite. The service provides a rich case-load of open and endovascular cases. We also have a SVS-certified vascular laboratory for arterial and venous ultrasound studies. We have a busy wound-care center that provides a large number of referrals. We have three thoracic surgeons who are skilled in general, minimally-invasive, and oncologic thoracic surgery.
The Transplant rotation is based at Einstein Philadelphia. 4 full-time transplant surgeons perform liver transplants, kidney transplants, and organ procurements. This rotation is staffed by a 1st and 2nd year resident, in addition to one transplant fellow (the only fellow in the department of Surgery).
Our 4th year residents are allowed a month-long elective in the field and institution of their choice.
Training young surgeons involves several components: understanding of surgical anatomy and physiology; mastery of surgical technique; and development of Teaching takes place in the operating room, the clinic, the wards, and the conference. All of our faculty and full-time employed surgeons who have joined Einstein because teaching is part of their core responsibilities. The educational curriculum is largely focused during our weekly Wednesday-morning protected time. This includes Morbidity & Mortality, House-staff meetings, Didactic conference, Grand Rounds, Journal Club, and the Simulation curriculum. We have the benefit of a state-of-the-art Simulation center, which includes multiple mannequins, models, a mock-OR suite, and laparoscopic simulators.
It is expected that all residents will participate in meaningful research. We have multiple avenues for research including robust Trauma, Thoracic, Transplant, and Breast databases. Occasionally, residents are permitted to take years off to pursue extramural research—this requires significant planning in advance.
Life in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the US, with about 1.5 million inhabitants. The general metropolitan area comprises 6 million people. The city ranks ninth worldwide and fourth nationwide in municipal gross domestic product. Once a center of manufacturing, the local economy has been shifting to one based on information technology, service, and healthcare. Philadelphia is home to Fairmount Park, the largest landscaped urban park in the world. It has a world-class symphony orchestra, numerous art museums, and many monuments to the founding of the republic. The nation’s first hospital and zoo were founded here. The city has the 2nd-largest concentration of students nationwide with three major research universities and five schools of medicine.
It has several professional sports teams including the Eagles, the Phillies, the Flyers, and the 76ers. The restaurant and night-life scene are vibrant.
Philadelphia is a two-hour drive from New York and Baltimore, and three hours from Washington, D.C. It has a large airport with numerous international connections, and a busy rail-transport center.
Categorical Residents (2012-2013)
PGY-5 (Chief Residents)Jason Andre, MDJose Moreno, MDShelby Stewart, MD
PGY-4Nadia Awad, MDFlora Lee, MDStephanie Sea, MD (research year)
PGY-3John Henry Pang, MDSusan Kartiko, MDHeidi Miller, MD
Luanne Force, MDFarah Karipineni, MDEtieno Umobong, MD
Talitha Brown, MDLawrence Cetrulo, MDGeoffrey Garst, MD
Career Paths of Program Graduates
2013Cardiothoracic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess HospitalVascular Fellowship, University of Southern IllinoisTBA
2012Cardiothoracic Surgery, Allegheny General HospitalBreast Surgery Fellowship, USCPrivate Practice, Illinois
2011Acute Care Surgery Fellowship, Wake Forest UniversityPrivate Practice, PennsylvaniaPrivate Practice, Pennsylvania
2010Plastic Surgery, Cooper HospitalMinimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, Hershey Medical CenterTrauma/Critical Care Fellowship, Wake Forest University
2009Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, Johns HopkinsColorectal Fellowship, Lehigh ValleyMicrovascular Fellowship, Univ. of Mississippi
2008Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, Johns HopkinsMinimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVascular Fellowship, Allegheny General Hospital
2007Multi-Organ Transplantation Fellowship, Einstein PhiladelphiaMulti-Organ Transplantation Fellowship, Einstein Philadelphia
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia School of Radiologic Technology has developed a partnership agreement with Philadelphia University
Congratulations to senior students LeighAnn Sulzbach and Sarah Sliwinski for winning Third Place in the annual Philadelphia Society of Radiologic Technologists’ 2012 Student Day TechnoBowl competition
Philadelphia, PA, June 29, 2009 - With fierce determination and tremendous aptitude, the team of psychiatry residents from Einstein Medical Center was crowned national champions of Mind Games, a Jeopardy-style game held at the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) annual meeting.
Renowned Rehabilitation Facility MossRehab is Exclusive Site of U.S. Clinical Trials of ReWalk™ Philadelphia (June 30, 2009) - MossRehab, one of the nation's leading rehabilitation hospitals
Philadelphia, PA, July 8, 2009 - Hipolito (Pol) Custodio, III, MD, fourth year resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) at Einstein Medical Center, won the "Resident Bowl," an annual quiz competition sponsored by the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia.