Program Structure - UCLA Head and Neck Surgery

First Year: General Surgery (PGY-1)
The integrated UCLA Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program is a 5 year training program. Part of the intern year is through our ACGME-accredited general surgery program. The rotations are specifically selected to benefit head and neck training. Residents are required to take the annual surgery in-service exam, and are expected to have passed Part III of the National Boards to qualify for a California medical license.

In the UCLA program, first-year residents are assigned to the divisions of General Surgery at UCLA, Olive View Medical Center, and the VA Healthcare System (West Los Angeles) for training in basic surgical techniques and in the management of pre- and post-operative surgical patients. Residents attend various departmental and division conferences on a regular basis. They make daily inpatient staff rounds, assist in major surgical operations and perform minor procedures under supervision.  The first-year residents will also have the opportunity to enhance their experience by rotating through 6 months of head and neck surgery, as well as 1 month of anesthesiology and emergency medicine. 

A mentor from the Department of Head and Neck Surgery is assigned to each resident to monitor progress through the program and to assist the resident should any problems arise.

Second and Third Years: Otolaryngology (PGY-2 and PGY-3)
These 2 years are devoted to the acquisition of a good foundation in the basic principles of otolaryngology. Residents develop the ability to use the tools of the field under close supervision of the faculty. They are introduced to head and neck and general otolaryngological surgery by assisting the faculty in the operating rooms. After achieving a basic knowledge of the procedures, residents perform surgical procedures under supervision. They serve as consultants to the hospital emergency room service and take consultations requested by other services, reviewing cases with a chief resident and the attending staff. As part of the initial training experience, residents are exposed to surgical pathology and radiology in order to gain proficiency in these fields. This training is utilized when residents present cases at the weekly Head and Neck Tumor Board.

Residents' outpatient responsibilities include history-taking, most minor treatments, hearing testing under the auspices of an audiologist, training in clinical neuro-otological and vestibular examination procedures, and training in diagnostic and treatment procedures for voice and speech disorders.

During this period, residents are encouraged to develop relationships with faculty and observe various research laboratories. This exposure introduces residents to the various investigators and research being conducted in the department laboratories and allows them to begin to select the laboratory and investigator that best fits their areas of interest. Research rotations are scheduled in the R-4 year.

Fourth Year: Otolaryngology (PGY-4)
Fourth-year residents assume increasing reponsibility in the care of patients before, during, and after surgery. They assist the chief residents and faculty in many operations, and perform operations of intermediate complexity under close faculty supervision. Residents directly supervise the senior medical students (clinical clerks). They prepare and deliver presentations on subjects related to hospitalized patients, and continue to work on research projects. It is during this year that residents will have 6 months to primarily focus on personal research objectives.

Fifth Year: Otolaryngology Chief Resident (PGY-5)
This year is one of advanced responsibility. Residents conduct daily rounds and see all pre- and postoperative patients. Chief residents have definitive responsibility for the care of patients, including all aspects of preoperative and postoperative care, with consultation and assistance from the faculty. Chief residents supervise junior residents and medical students in the outpatient clinics (with faculty available as consultants).

Chief residents are expected to continue and complete research work that was previously initiated. Efforts are made to place papers on regional and national programs, and significant reports are submitted for publication.

Throughout the training years, limited but increasingly greater responsibilities for teaching, research and administration are assigned to residents in an effort to prepare them for academic careers.