Education Programs

Simulation Lab - At Saint Joseph Hospital, we have a large lab conveniently positioned next to the resident work room and doctor’s dining room that has a variety of simulation equipment to fulfill all your AV dreams. Lap trainers, colonoscopy simulators, manikins for placement of drains/lines/tubes, suture material, suture boards, ultrasounds, and more. We also have a rousing competition each year for laparoscopic skills, with the winners being granted funding for a trip to ACS each year to compete in the national lap skills competition.

Chapter Club - A huge strength of the Saint Joseph Hospital residency program. This is a resident-run conference with attending supervision. The chief residents alternate preparing comprehensive lectures to the residents and students. This enables residents to practice their leadership and teaching skills in addition to the content and knowledge acquisition of general surgery topics. Excellent for ABSITE and Boards prep. Residents and students are encouraged to be interactive.

Mock Oral Boards - Quarterly conference where residents are taken through mock oral type scenarios with immediate attending feedback. This is done in a group format so that all residents can learn techniques and knowledge from the examiners and examinees simultaneously. We also host a city-wide mock oral boards twice a year with other residencies in Denver to prepare residents for the real thing.

Great Debates - A fun and interactive way for residents to consider both sides of the coin for hot topics in general surgery. Topics and opponents are chosen in advance. All residents get the chance to participate over the year. Courtroom antics are encouraged!

Vascular Surgery Conference - A meticulous review of vascular surgery potpourri over the course of the year lead by the Vascular Surgery attendings. High yield material for being successful on your vascular surgery rotation, in addition to ABSITE and Board prep.

M&M - Classic M&M format with residents presenting cases and providing learning points to the resident body and generating supportive discussion for areas of improvement from the faculty surgeons. The culture at SJH is exemplified here: that of a supportive community collectively striving to optimize patient care.

General Surgery Attending Rounds - Teaching rounds conducted on the various services (Gold, Blue, etc) with the opportunity to cover a wide variety of topics based on resident and student educational needs: a drill down on perioperative management vs broad discussion of pathophysiology of patient specific diseases.

Grand Rounds - Local, regional, or national experts presenting on topics specific to their practice or research.

Multidisciplinary Tumor Conferences - Breast Conference and Tumor Board are two separate multidisciplinary conferences held to provide comprehensive care to our surgical oncology patients.

Research and Quality Improvement Projects

Deborah Davis-Merritt MD
Research and Quality Advisor GME, General Surgery


All categorical residents are required to engage in research and quality improvement projects prior to completion of residency. This is a great opportunity to engage our residents in learning about the process of research for those with no prior experience, or to hone skills already acquired. Residents work closely with faculty mentors in an often multidisciplinary approach within the hospital to ask and answer clinically relevant questions about patient care.


  1. Completion of SCL/NJH CITI certificate, Biomed Researcher, Info Privacy and Security modules (PGY1)
  2. Attendance at semi-annual GME QI training (PGY1, 2)
  3. Faculty mentored Quality Improvement project, presented at quarterly Residency QI Meeting (PGY1, 2, or 3)
  4. Abstract submission of case report, or IRB approved QI or Research project, for regional or national meeting (PGY4) or publication.

Faculty-Mentored QI Project

Invitation to join in QI project by full-time faculty, though residents may suggest ideas for QI projects.

  • This may be Quality Improvement or Quality Assurance hospital, clinic or residency focused
  • Some projects may be more extensive requiring medical record review and data abstraction which is approved by the IRB (see QI folder on Gen/Surg Research Shared Drive)
  • Completed projects are presented at the quarterly GenSurg Residency QI conference
  • Required for categorical residency, target date no later than PGY4

Abstract Submission

  • This can be a case report, IRB approved research project, or high-quality QI project, submitted for regional/national meeting presentation or publication
  • A single submission fulfills the categorical residency requirement (acceptance not required) though many residents have multiple projects and submissions by PGY5
  • Target date for completion by the end of PGY4 year
  • See Gen/Surg Research Shared Drive “How To-” Folder for rules/guidance on each type of abstract submission

GME Quality Initiative Training

  • Occurs in Spring and Fall
  • Required of all categorical SJH residents, all specialties
  • One day, multiple events, excused from clinical duties
  • Dr. Davis-Merritt will send you notification of your scheduled attendance based on clinical rotation
  • Required for categorical residency completion
  • Target completion date PGY1 year

CITI Training

  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative
  • Biomedical Researcher and Information Privacy and Security modules
  • 3 years of certification, prior CITI is acceptable
  • Required for IRB approved research proposals
  • Cost sponsored by SCL/NJH
  • Details and Links on The Landing, IRB website and Gen/Surg Research shared drive
  • Required completion for categorical residency
  • Target completion date Fall of PGY1 year


  • Med Student Documentation - Frisenda
  • MIE outcome data in community hospital
  • NSQIP Heparin use to improve VTE - Wilkinson
  • Gastric Schwannoma Case Report
  • Discharge summary improvement project - Layman
  • Appendix NET with hypoglycemic syndrome
  • Carotid Body KP study
  • Giant Carotid Body Case report/Maurera
  • Occluded EVAR
  • Axillary artery dissection, ALI carotid brachial bypass/Maurera
  • Retro study trans vs retroperitoneal AAA /Maurera and Burton
  • Case report ALI and COVID with Annabelle Maurera
  • Enhanced recovery after Bariatric Surgery - Gross
  • Resident handoff
  • SPY colorectal leak/NSQIP jt project with Wilson - Kelly
  • Normalization manometry
  • Htn MGMT protocol in bariatric pts - Hubbard
  • ROR/Colo Leak QI task force
  • C Diff Colitis NSQIP project - Boyd
  • ROR/Colo Leak QI task force
  • Quality Review Resident signout project - Poulos
  • Trach Committee protocol - Freedburg
  • ALI from SCCA of the lung with mets to L ventricle
  • Discharge summary improvement project - Elzas  
  • Bleeding after Roux en y gastric bypass
  • Surgical and Procedural Skills curriculum - Maclellan
  • Seed diverticulitis
  • Fitbit study acute/chronic sleep deprivation 24 hr vs nightfloat
  • IRP after fundoplication
  • Chapter Lap Gastric Bypss/with Johnson
  • Sharps injury prevention task force - Zinn
  • Chest tube tray
  • CLASBI QI project with Britton
  • SPY colorectal leak/NSQIP jt project with Kelly - Wilson
  • Sepsis prevention - Bradford  
  • Variant Cecal Volvulus Malrotation  
  • co project NSQIP Pasireotide in pancreatectomy - Maurera
  • Silicosis case report    
  • jt project Traumatic Ax Artery Dissection with Layman    
  • Study retro trans vs retroperitoneal AAA (Layman and Burton)    
  • Giant Carotid Body Case report/Layman    
  • Vascular reconstruction in Whipple (jt with swedish resident)    
  • Case report ALI and COVID with Peter Layman  
  • ECMO/Surgery interaction - Burton  
  • Retro study trans vs retroperitoneal AAA /Maurera and Layman
  • C.diff colitis NSQIP project - Kostenko  
  • ROR/Colo Leak QI task force    
  • Retro study trans vs retroperitoneal AAA co study
  • J tube instructions/maintenance for patients - Patel
  • Discharge process and patient instructions project - Baliga  
  • Phase 2 implementation EPIC Caprini VTE - Rodriguez