Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Affiliated with Vanderbilt University — Nashville, TN

  • Trauma only
  • Critical Care only
  • Trauma & Critical Care
  • Acute Care Surgery
  • Advanced Practitioner
  • Duration: 1 or 2 years
  • Positions available: 4
  • Salary: (1st year - PGY-6 level; 2nd year - PGY-7 level)
  • Program Director: Addison K. May, MD, FACS, FCCM

Last updated: April 09, 2015

The primary mission of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery Fellowship is to provide residents with the training to become leaders in academic surgical critical care, trauma, emergency general surgery and burns through an intensive mentored clinical experience, didactic and Socratic educational programs, and an iterative, mentored growth in academic, administrative, and educational skill sets. Through an integrated program, fellows will attain knowledge and expertise to 1) satisfy the six core competencies outlined by the ACGME, 2) obtain a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgical Critical Care, 3) manage the most complex trauma, emergency general surgery, and burn cases, and 4) become academically and administratively successful in their careers.

To ensure that fellows within the program attain the mission outlined above, the VUMC Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery Fellowship defines several components in the program including:

A. Clinical

B. Educational

C. Administrative

D. Research/Academic Development

For acquisition of clinical expertise, the fellowship is structurally divided into two separate years:

1) ACMGE approved surgical critical care experience - 1st year

2) Acute Care Surgery experience - 2nd year.

For acquisition and enhancement of administrative, research, and educational skills, the two year fellowship is an integrated program with the second year building on the first year. Additionally, the second year provides opportunities to obtain specific expertise and skills in areas of interest defined by the fellow. For more detailed information and description, the FELLOW’S MANUAL can be viewed on our website @:

Research Opportunities

The Vanderbilt Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care is committed to research training of Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery fellows. Fellows are strongly encouraged to participate in all aspects of the Division’s research programs and are provided significant resources to do so. The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care has an active clinical and translational research program that includes government and contract funded projects as well as numerous investigator initiated projects. To support these research initiatives and research education for the fellows, the Division maintains a significant research platform, the components of which include clinical volume, informatics and database support, research support personnel, established collaborative research programs, laboratory space and equipment, and research training curricula. Each of these components will be summarized in the section below.

Clinical volume: A large volume of critically ill and injured patients provides access to significant clinical data. VUMC is a Level 1 Trauma Center with a dedicated 31 bed trauma unit providing care for a 65,000 sq. mile area and admits greater than 3800 adult trauma patients per year. A 21 bed Surgical ICU provides critical care management to greater than 1300 critically ill general, oncologic, vascular, thoracic, head and neck, and transplant surgical patients. The Burn Unit admits roughly 400 patients per year with greater than 20% total body surface area burns.

Informatics and database support: The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care’s research program benefits from world class informatics support and a variety of databases and repositories. An institutionally developed computerized medical record provides the opportunity to prospectively capture pre-defined, validated data-fields on a large volume of patients. This has enabled the creation of an ICU database that prospectively captures severity scoring, diagnoses, outcome, infection, and therapeutic data on a large volume of patients. The Division has developed and implemented continuous physiologic data capture (SIMON) that contains greater than 650,000 hours of data on over 7000 patients since 2001. Genetic sampling of all trauma unit admissions began in 2005 and has accrued greater than 5200 patients. The Division has also maintained a trauma registry (TRACS) since 1984 and contains greater than 55,000 patient records.

The Division’s database and statistical processing is supported by 3 dual processor Xeon systems dedicated to research purposes. Additional computer and informatics support is available through Vanderbilt’s Bioinformatics core. Additionally, the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) provides high-performance computing support to computational studies across campus and is available to fellows as needed. All fellows are provided with desktop computers with Microsoft Office 2007, SPSS, and reference manager programs.

Research support personnel: Three full time research coordinators provide regulatory, educational and data acquisition support. Judy Jenkins, RN has been the lead coordinator since 1995 and supports training in human subjects research, IRB applications, research design, database development, and HIPPA compliance. Patrick Norris, PhD is also a full time member of the Division and supports database construction, data merging, data cleaning, data transformation, and statistical analysis. The Section of Surgical Sciences employs a full time biostatistician to provide statistical support.

Established collaborative research programs: The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care has several formalized collaborative research initiatives with research centers within Vanderbilt University including 1) the Center for Human Genetics Research, 2) the Center for Health Services Research and 3) the Centers for Lung Research and Clinical Proteomics.

1) Center for Human Genetics Research (CHGR): this center was initiated in 1997 to advance human genetic research at Vanderbilt. The Division has established formalized and federally funded collaboration with this Center and with Jeff Canter, MD, MPH. The central theme of this collaboration between the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and the CHGR is to increase the understanding of how genetics influence complex responses to injury in the setting of variable environmental exposures. This encompasses research at the molecular, clinical, and population levels and is performed by faculty in multiple departments and schools, utilizing complex analytic statistical techniques such as Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MDR) analysis. The VUMC DNA Resources Core provides services in extraction and banking of DNA as well as high-throughput genotyping.

2) Center for Health Services Research (CHSR): fellows’ research training in clinical and outcomes research is supported by a collaborative relationship with Robert Dittus, MD, MPH, Director of Vanderbilt’s Institute for Medicine and Public Health and of the CHSR. The CHSR has greater than $100 million in active research funding and greater than 100 full time faculty members. Dr. David Penson has recently been recruited as the Director of the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research (within the CHSR) and the Division’s collaboration will fall within this center.

3) Centers for Lung Research and Clinical Proteomics: the Division has on-going federally funded research collaborations investigating biomarkers in acute lung injury with Dr. Lorraine Ware. Dr. Ware is a faculty member within Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and a member of the Center for Lung Research. This specific research initiative, funded through the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH links the Center for Lung Research and Clinical Proteomics to create panels for the diagnosis and management of lung injury.

Laboratory space and equipment: The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care maintains laboratory space to support clinical, translational, and basic research. This 400 sq ft lab space located in Medical Center North has a – 70 degree freezer, equipment for specimen handling and transfer, and equipment of ELISA and EIA tests and has direct access to several research core facilities. Patrick Norris has a 300 sq ft office, the research coordinators a 400 sq ft office, and each fellow has a dedicated office space.

Research training curricula: Fellows have the opportunity to matriculate in biostatistical courses within either the MSCI or the MPH programs during their first or second year. Qualified fellows with significant interest in strengthening their research skills and obtaining Masters Degrees in Public Health, Clinical Investigation, or Bioinformatics may enter the clinical and translational research training program. This program is a collaborative interface between the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care’s current research and quality infrastructure with Vanderbilt’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (supported by a NIH-Clinical and Translational Science Award), Vanderbilt’s Quality Scholars program, and the Center for Clinical Improvement. The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care has substantial on-going clinical, outcomes, translational research and quality related initiatives and has demonstrated a successful track record of resident and fellow training within these areas (fellow’s publications available on website).

Program started 1990

How to apply

Qualifications: BC/BE General Surgeon

Addison K. May, MD, FACS, FCCM
Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care
1211 21st Ave. S., 404 MAB
Nashville, TN 37215-3755

About the hospital

  • Beds: 836
  • ICU beds: 257
  • Annual ED visits: 102571
  • Annual trauma admissions: 4000
  • Trauma faculty: 9

Fellowship procedures

  • Total surgical (annually): 3200
  • General surgical: 40%
  • Trauma: 60%
  • Blunt trauma: 80%
  • Penetrating trauma: 20%


1211 21st Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37215-3755


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