Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Affiliated with University of Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, PA

  • Trauma only
  • Critical Care only
  • Trauma & Critical Care
  • Acute Care Surgery
  • Advanced Practitioner
  • Duration: 1 or 2 years
  • Positions available: 8
  • Salary: ~$80,000
  • Program Director: Niels D. Martin, MD, FACS, FCCM

Last updated: February 09, 2024


The University of Pennsylvania’s “Surgical Critical Care” fellowship is a fully-accredited ACGME training program within the Department of Surgery. There are several tracks that will be discussed below under the “duration and scope of training” section, and this includes our AAST-certified “Acute Care Surgery” program as well. The fellowship is designed to educate fellows in all phases of care of the critically ill and injured surgical patient.

Our training philosophy can be divided into several discrete areas including clinical training, research, academic framework, and trauma community integration. The clinical training is focused on cutting-edge, evidenced-based experiences in trauma, emergency general surgery (acute care surgery) & surgical critical care. Fellows will complete the program with not only top notch technical expertise, but with the strongest command of all care strategies and theory. Fellows have clearly defined training goals and objectives with the highest attention to their educational experiences. Roles and responsibilities are clearly differentiated from the resident learners so there is minimal overlap.

Research opportunities abound at PENN, both within the division and in the very collaborative broader University of Pennsylvania community. Fellows acquire research mentors early who then ensure milestones are achieved resulting in successful completion of projects by fellowship end. Beyond the individual projects, all fellows participate in a continual research didactic series that provides all the building blocks to join or initiate a basic science or clinical research program at their next job.

Fellows will also leave our training program with a solid academic framework or understanding of how to establish themselves as an academic surgeon. This framework includes an understanding of choosing and obtaining growth and leadership opportunities locally and in external national and international societies. Formal administrative didactics and personalized exposure to our world-renowned faculty facilitates this exposure.

Fellow integration into the broader trauma and critical care community is facilitated by the large network of PENN trained acute care surgeons practicing around the world. This vast network exposes current and past trainees to the experience and mentoring of this academic faculty along with opportunities to collegially collaborate on a multitude of academic levels.

The PENN trauma training program was founded by C. William Schwab, MD in 1989. Since that time, over 160 fellows have completed the program and are now practicing around the world. Among this cohort are leaders in American Medicine including Deans, Chief Executive Officers, Chairs of Departments, Division Chiefs, Trauma Directors, ICU directors, and many other prestigious titles (Graduate Career Paths - Penn Medicine). This legacy of past trainees is a testament to vision and ideals created by Dr. Schwab that are now carried down and instilled in all our trainees. Of particular note is our strong history and commitment to training military trauma surgeons. Starting with Dr. Schwab who himself spent many years as a Naval surgeon, there have been over 30 military surgeons in the PENN trauma faculty and fellowship program.

World Renowned Faculty
All of the faculty have been hand-picked for their specific contributions to the PENN trauma platform. Their expertise covers all aspects of fellow education including clinical training, research, and academia. Together, this cohesive group forms an academic milieu that provides fellows with a stimulating and invigorating environment that is optimal for training. The following is a brief overview of the leadership in our division.

C. William Schwab, MD profile | Dr. Schwab is a pioneer of modern trauma care in the world today and continues to be an active member of the faculty and an emeritus professor. He is past president of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care. He has authored over 250 peer-reviewed articles and is a true visionary in trauma theory and practice. He is a tremendous resource to the fellows, from teaching at morning report to selecting a job that will launch one’s career.

Patrick M. Reilly, MD profile | Dr. Reilly is the former Chief of the Division. He is past president of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the 2024 president of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. He is on a multitude of international committees that shape the way in which we care for injured patients, this includes the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. Dr. Reilly has received the Master Educator designation by the School of Medicine and instills excellent leadership skills in the fellows.

Niels D. Martin, MD profile | Dr. Martin is the Chief of the Division and the fellowship program director. He has a vested interest in fellow education. He works closely with the Department of Surgery’s Division of Education and the Health System’s administration to maintain a cutting-edge clinical environment within which the fellow education can flourish. He has helped grow the division to practices at all 3 downtown Penn Medicine hospitals and the Philadelphia VA.

Patrick Kim, MD, MHCI, FACS profile | Dr. Kim is the vice chief for Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and the 2024 president of the medical staff. He is an advocate for fellow education throughout the hospital’s operations.

Benjamin Braslow, MD profile | Dr. Braslow is vice chief for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Section Chief of Emergency General Surgery and runs an extremely busy service line on which the fellow’s rotate. It is the busiest surgical service at PENN.

Jeremy W. Cannon, MD profile | Dr. Cannon is the integral liaison to our military civilian partnership. Having retired from the Air Force, he continues to support Penn Trauma’s rich history of military training and incorporating that into the fellowship experience, further broadening the educational opportunities.

Lewis Jay Kaplan, MD profile | Dr. Kaplan is the Medical Director of the Surgical ICU at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. He is also past president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine where he played an important international role to improve care for acute life-threatening illnesses and injuries and to improve the development of optimal facilities for this purpose. Dr. Kaplan was awarded the fellow’s teaching award and is renowned for his mentorship.

Mark J. Seamon, MD, FACS profile | Dr. Seamon is the Trauma Program Medical Director and responsible for all trauma center operations. Dr. Seamon’s clinical and academic expertize lies in the care of the injured patient. He has several leadership roles in nationally and internationally relevant trauma societies. He plays a major role in the fellow’s academic pursuits and in their mentorship.

Jose L. Pascual, MD, PhD, FACS, FRCS(C). FCCM profile | Dr. Pascual is the Section Chief for Surgical Critical Care and the Medical Director of the Surgical ICU at HUP and is renowned for his work in quality and safety. He is an outcomes researcher and basic scientist, generating tremendous opportunity for the fellows’ academic productivity. He also plays prominent roles in several leading societies including being president-elect the Society for Critical Care Medicine.

Adam Michael Shiroff, MD, FACS profile | Dr. Shiroff is the Director of the PENN Chest Wall Injury Center. He is an expert in rib fixation. He also plays a larger role on our Emergency Surgery Service clinically.

Shariq Syed Raza, MD profile | Dr. Raza is the Director of PACE (PENN Acute Care Education) and is responsible for a multitude of societal and home-grown formal courses including ATLS, FCCS, DMEP, ASSET, and ATOM. He is also the Trauma Performance Improvement Medical Director and actively incorporates this into fellow education.

Elinore Juliana Kaufman, MD, MSHP profile | Dr. Kaufman is the Director of Research for the division. She is an accomplished outcomes researcher focusing on interpersonal violence reduction and runs our injury prevention and violence interruption program.

Catherine Eaton Sharoky, MD, MSCE profile | Dr. Sharoky is the NSQIP champion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Site Lead for our ACS verified Emergency General Surgery program. She co-leads our emergency surgery service with Dr. Braslow.

Nathan J. Klingensmith, MD profile | Dr. Klingensmith is a practicing trauma and acute care surgeon and also runs a basic science lab focused on gut stress, the microbiome, and sepsis.

Gary Alan Bass, MD, MS, MBA, MRCSI, PhD, FEBS(Em Sure) profile | Dr. Bass clinically practices in all areas and is developing administrative expertise in surgical critical care.

(Please click this link of a complete listing of our faculty listing: Meet Our Faculty - Penn Medicine

PENN Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) is home to the Pavilion for Advanced Care, a free-standing hospital tower that houses our Level one trauma center. With 5 oversized trauma bays, 2 dedicated CT scanners, new operating rooms, and a 20 bed Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit, our facility optimizes trauma care delivery. State of the Art video conferencing and telemedicine further allow for unique and expansive educational opportunities.

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is a 1100 bed tertiary care hospital and the primary teaching institution for the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school. There are 24 Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) beds. Fellows care for and learn from the full range of surgical cases including transplant, advanced vascular, complex GI, urologic, and gynecologic to name a few.

Philadelphia VA Medical Center (PaVAMC), located adjacent to HUP, is staffed by PENN faculty and has a 16 bed SICU caring for complex GI and vascular patients.

Grand View Hospital, located in Sellersville, PA, is a rural Level Two Trauma Center staffed by University of Pennsylvania faculty.

*Note that HUP, PPMC, and the PaVAMC are all located in the University City section of Philadelphia and are in easy walking distance of each other.

Duration and Scope of Training
• 2-year Trauma & Surgical Critical Care (AKA ACS) Fellowship
o Year one: our traditional critical care year, fulfilling all of the requirements of the American Board of Surgery. Rotations in our surgical ICUs is complimented by rotations in the neuro, cardiac, and medical ICUs as well. Extensive, fellow-level, didactic sessions abound. Two months on the trauma service are also included.
o Year two: a graduated trauma and acute care surgery experience where fellows progressively manage the service, the trauma bay, and the OR. Part way through this year, fellows become “Fellows in Exception” where they are granted attending privileges. This experience allows fellows to hone their skills with autonomy while still fully supported as needed by the full faculty. This pathway is certified by the AAST as an Acute Care Surgery program.

• 2-year Emergency Medicine Surgical Critical Care Fellowship (ABS approved)
o Year one: Rotations in general surgery to fulfill the American Board of Surgery’s general surgery training experience. Rotations include emergency general surgery, thoracic, transplant, vascular, and GI surgery to name a few.
o Year two: the traditional critical care year as described above.

• 1-year Surgical Critical Care Fellowship
o Year one: the traditional critical care year as described above.

Other Fellow Opportunities
• Instructor training for ATLS
• Access to Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM)
• Access to Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET)
• Access to Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (FCCS)
• Access to Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP)
• Vast Certificate programs from the University of Pennsylvania
• Collaborations within the greater University community
• Options for advanced degrees such as MPH and MSCE

Program started 1989

How to apply  - (215) 662-7323 (phone)

Qualifications: ABS eligible/certified - Completion of RRC certified residency in surgery

Applicants must use the Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery Fellowship Application Service (SAFAS) which was developed by the Surgical Critical Care Program Directors Society.

Research opportunities

Research opportunities abound at Penn, both within the division and in the very collaborative broader University of Pennsylvania community. Fellows acquire research mentors early who then ensure milestones are achieved resulting in successful completion of projects by fellowship end. Beyond the individual projects, all fellows participate in a continual research didactic series that provides all the building blocks to join or initiate a basic science or clinical research program at their next job.

About the hospital

  • Beds: 1400
  • Annual trauma admissions: 3400
  • Trauma faculty: 15

Fellowship procedures

  • General surgical: 50%
  • Trauma: 50%
  • Blunt trauma: 70%
  • Penetrating trauma: 30%


51 North 39th ST
Philadelphia, PA 19104


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