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This is always a difficult, yet rewarding time of the academic year. We recently had our Residency Update grand rounds and there was much to celebrate – a commendation from the ACGME, an astounding number of cases done, papers published, presentations given, certificates earned, grants funded and awards won! We had the 2nd Annual Department of Surgery Resident/Fellow Research Retreat directed and produced by general surgery’s own Dr. Anna Ibele. Resident, fellow, and medical student research abstracts were presented with cash prizes awarded to the top three resident/fellow presenters and for the top medical student presenter. We welcomed new faculty and look forward to the arrival of our next class of interns. However, it is also a time in which we have to say goodbye to people with whom we have worked closely for 5-7 years and while this is hard, it is also one of the most meaningful parts of being a surgeon at University of Utah Health - watching our newly minted general surgeons take the next step in their careers. 

This year we congratulate Sasha Acher, MD who will be doing a surgical oncology fellowship with a focus on HPB surgery at the University of Toronto;  Josh Bleicher, MD, MS who will be doing a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Toronto (that is not a typo – both Dr. Acher and Dr. Bleicher are going to the University of Toronto for surgical oncology); Brian T. Cain, MD who will be staying with us at the University of Utah as the inaugural colorectal surgery fellow; Aubrey Place, MD who will practicing general surgery; Alexandra Tran, MD who will doing a transplant surgery fellowship at Northwestern University and Megan Zak, MD who will be practicing general surgery in Salt Lake City. We are incredibly proud of each of them and look forward to watching their lives and careers unfold. We are confident that they will all be amazingly successful in the years to come!

One of the other great things about this time of the year is welcoming the newest members of our surgical community. This year we welcome David Bandbaz, MD from the University of Nevada; Taylor Beaver, MD from the University of Washington; Katie Glasgow, MD from the University of Alabama; Kennedy Jensen, MD from Dartmouth College; Max Servin Rojas, MD from the Universidad Autonoma de Estado de Morelos Facultad de Medicina and Marshall Wallace, MD from Vanderbilt University. This is an incredibly talented group of young people and we are really looking forward to working with them all over the next 6-7 years. 

We also wish to extend our gratitude and well wishes to Emily Straley, MD who will be taking a PGY 2 position in emergency medicine at the University of Vermont, and to extend a warm welcome to Amir Dereshgi, MD who will be joining us as a PGY 2 from Stony Brook University. 

It is also an exciting time for all of our residents as they either move up in the clinical years or over for some professional development time. We acknowledge all the hard work and dedication that each of our residents has provided over the past year in taking such great care of a lot of surgical patients, the surgical faculty, and their colleagues. 

The program would also like to acknowledge and thank Robert Glasgow, MD, MBA for his incredible support and education of our residents during his long tenure at the University of Utah as well as his leadership as the interim chair of the Department of Surgery. We are grateful that our residents will still get to work with him during their rotations at Intermountain. 

We would also like to acknowledge and thank Ruth Braga, RN, who served for many years as the nurse educator for our program and Department. In addition to her role as an educator, Ruth also provided emotional and nutritional support to our residents through her loving spirit and acts of kindness – including keeping the call room supplied with snacks! We are feeling the loss of her leaving on many different levels.

The program would also like to thank Ram Nirula, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of General Surgery, for his continued invaluable support and guidance for the general surgery residency program, and Fiemu Nwariaku, MD, FACS, MBA chair of the Department of Surgery, for his personal engagement with the residents and commitment to taking our program to the next level.

We look forward to the coming year during which we will be incorporating entrustable professional activities (EPAs) as mandated by the American Board of Surgery. We will continue to explore new ideas in surgical innovation and surgical education. We will continue our efforts to improve the diversity in our program by recruiting the best and brightest talent to the best possible training program in the world and through our continued efforts on equity and inclusion. This is Surgery+. This is Utah Surgery! 

Laura Lambert, MD, FACS
Program Director, General Surgery

General Surgery Interns & New PGY 2 FY 2023-2024

David Bandbaz, MD
Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at University of Nevada Las Vegas

Taylor Beaver, MD
University of Washington School of Medicine

Katie Elizabeth Glasgow, MD
University of Alabama at Birmingham 
Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine

Kennedy Ella Jensen, MD
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Maximiliano (Max) Servin Rojas
Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos Facultad de Medicina

Marshall Walker Wallace, MD
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Amir Teimouri Dereshgi, MD
Tabriz University of Medical Sciences