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Duke University Medical Center – PA Surgical Residency Duke University Med Ctr.http://dukesurgery.org/
(919) 684-8111  – Local Phone
2301 Erwin Road
Durham, NC 27710

Length of Program 13 months
Class Size varies
Starting Date: September 1
Ending Date: September 30

Contact Information

PA Residency Medical Director
Kelli R. Brooks, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division Trauma and Critical Care Surgery
E-mail: kelli.brooks@duke.edu

PA Residency Program Director
Senthil Radhakrishnan, PA-C
Division of Neurosurgery
Email: senthil.radhakrishnan@duke.edu

Assistant Program Director
Daniel F. Geersen, MPAP, PA-C
Division of Vascular Surgery
E-mail: daniel.geersen@duke.edu


The PA Profession originated at Duke in the mid 1960s. Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr., then Chairman of the Department of Medicine, believed that mid-level practitioners could increase consumer access to health services by extending the time and skills of the physician. His vision, guidance, and influence were instrumental in founding the Duke PA Program, which continues to flourish as one of the premier PA training programs in the country. We plan to follow in this rich tradition of excellence with the Duke PA Surgical Residency Program.

The Duke Physician Assistant Surgical Residency is an intensive 12-month program administered by the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. PA Residents will be members of the surgical team and will be involved in pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative patient care. The residency is designed to provide both advanced didactic education and a focused, surgical clinical experience so that trainees and graduates will have the skills to provide high quality perioperative patient care. The residency is attractive both for new PA Program graduates who are planning a surgical career and for practicing physician assistants who wish to redirect their careers toward one of the surgical specialties or enhance their knowledge and skills through post-graduate education.



Lectures, seminars and laboratories have been designed to provide PA Residents with a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of surgical disease processes. Instruction will cover general surgery and subspecialty topics. Emphasis will be placed on the perioperative management of surgical patients including fluids and electrolytes, hyperalimentation, acid/base balance, surgical emergencies, complications, and evaluation of specific organ systems. Cadaver laboatories will include technical skills instruction and practice time for wound closure, chest tube placement, thoracentesis, endoscopic vein harvesting, placement of peripheral lines, etc. In addition to classroom/laboratory instruction, the didactic curriculum will include weekly Attending Rounds, Grand Rounds, M&M Conference and other conferences organized by the Department of Surgery. The initial didactic curriculum will conclude with preparation for clinical rotations. Time is designated for “rounding” with the surgical team and becoming familiar with the routine of the surgical services before assuming clinical responsibilities


Physician Assistant Residents will be assigned a workload and duties similar to those of first year (PGY1) physician surgical residents. Duties will include history & physical examinations, writing patient orders and progress notes in the hospital record, responding to and evaluating patient problems, making rounds, ordering diagnostic studies, assisting in the operating room, and performing invasive procedures with appropriate oversight by the supervising physician. Night call will be assigned on a rotating basis. The PA resident will be assigned first-call responsibilities with appropriate supervision and within the scope of his/her practice parameters. The PA Resident will avail himself/herself of additional direction and/or assistance as needed. As required by state law, the PA Resident’s supervising physician will supervise all clinical activities of the PA Resident. Two clinical tracts will be offered, a Cardiothoracic Surgery and General Surgery Training Track. Clinical Rotations make up eleven months of the curriculum.

General Surgery Track:

The General Surgery Track will consist of core rotations including 5-6 months on the General Surgery services including Vascular, GI, Colorectal, Surgical Oncology, Trauma, and Transplant. =A0Residents will also rotate on select subspecialty rotations such as Cardiothoracic, Plastics, Surgical Intensive Care, Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery, Urology, and two elective rotations.

University/Institution Affiliates

Duke University Medical Center is an integral part of Duke University. Duke Hospital, a private nonprofit institution and one of the largest private hospitals in the south, is part of the Medical Center and currently has 1,124 beds. The hospital directs its efforts toward the goals of cutting edge patient care, professional education, and service to the community.

More than 36,000 patients are admitted annually. Surgical facilities include thirty-two operating rooms in which more than 20,000 operative procedures are performed each year. Ambulatory services, including outpatient clinics and the emergency department, register more than 548,000 patient visits each year.

Duke Hospital is fully approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for internship and residency training and by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. The Medical Center, its schools, and hospital are located on the West Campus of Duke University.

Admission Requirements

  • Graduation from a PA Training Program approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Must have passed or be eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Certification Examination.
  • Official transcripts from colleges and PA school
  • Copies of BLS and ACLS certification cards
  • One page typewritten narrative stating why you are interested in postgraduate surgical training
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official NCCPA Exam scores (if certified)
  • Signed copy of the ‘Authorization Agreement’
  • Current resume
  • $25 application fee


November 1 Program application form available
March 15 Applications must be postmarked
April Interviews
September 1 Program starting date

Credential Awarded

Certificate of completion will be awarded from Duke University Medical Center and the Department of Surgery

Financial Information

  • Stipend – $52,284/year
  • Professional liability insurance
  • $75,000 group term life insurance
  • Uniforms
  • Exercise facility
  • Meals when on-call in the hospital
  • Parking provided in adjacent parking garage
  • 15 days paid vacation accruing over time
  • Medical and Dental Insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Prescription drug program
  • Health Care reimbursement account
  • Retirement program


Detailed information about our Program and all materials necessary for application can be found on our web site: