Abdominal Transplant Surgery
About the Program
The University of Washington Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship is a two-year fellowship accredited by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). The program has been carefully designed to provide fellows with focused, hands-on training in Abdominal Transplant Surgery. Our program is defined by a culture of diversity and inclusion; we actively address healthcare inequities to support our mission of improving the health of the public and promote equity, diversity and inclusion across all aspects of transplant surgery care.
Throughout their training, fellows gain experience in:
- Operative techniques of deceased donor liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation
- Operative techniques of living donor liver and kidney transplantation
- Deceased donor organ procurement (with a 20-30% rate of donation after circulatory death)
- Living donor hepatectomy and nephrectomy
- Fellows participate in the evaluation of donor offers
- Management and evaluation of transplant patients in the in and outpatient setting, including recipient and donor evaluations, post-operative management and management of immunosuppression and its complications
At the completion of this two-year program, fellows will be eligible for certification in liver and kidney transplantation.
Our program aims to develop transplant surgeons who graduate with proficiency in all aspects of liver and kidney transplantation, deceased donor organ procurement, living donor nephrectomy, including pre- and post-operative management of the transplant patient, and operative independence. There is also additional experience in pediatric liver and kidney transplantation.
Throughout their two years of training, fellows will have the opportunity to rotate at three sites.
- The University of Washington Medical Center – Montlake is a tertiary and quaternary care referral site for the WWAMI region and serves as the primary training site for the Abdominal Transplant Fellowship.
- Seattle Children’s Hospital was founded over 100 years ago and serves families across the WWAMI region regardless of their ability to pay. Fellows will rotate here to gain experience in pediatric transplant surgery. (Located 2 miles west of UW Medical Center-Montlake)
- Virginia Mason Medical Center hosts a kidney and pancreas transplant program and is located 5 miles south of UW Medical Center-Montlake. Fellows rotate here to gain additional experience in pancreas transplantation and living donor nephrectomy. (Located 5 miles south of UW Medical Center-Montlake)
Recruitment & Selection
Required Application Components Include:
- Complete Central Application Service (CAS) Form
- Current curriculum vitae
- 3 letters of recommendation from:
- Chair or Director of your residency program (1)
- Faculty or professional staff of your program or hospitals in which you have worked (2)
- Personal statement (two pages maximum)
- Recent photo
For information regarding the timeline of the recruitment process, please visit the SF Match website.
Application Process & Dates
A preferred application submission date and interview dates will be posted on the program’s SF Match profile.
Interview dates will be Monday, April 3, Friday, April 7, and Monday, April 17, 2023.
All interviews this year will be held virtually via Zoom and, due to UW GME restrictions, we are unfortunately unable to facilitate an in-person visit to UW.
Interview Day Process
Overview of Interview Day (all times listed as Pacific Standard Time)*
- 8:00 am: Program Overview Presentation
- Meeting with current Fellows
- Meetings with Transplant Surgery faculty
*Agenda items without a designated time will vary from candidate to candidate.
We understand that seeing the University and the surrounding area is an important part of deciding where you want to train. We are sorry to not be able to meet you in person this year, but our fellows, faculty, and staff are more than happy to answer all your questions about life in the hospital and the Pacific Northwest. To ask us any questions about working at the University of Washington and living in Seattle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Medical Graduates
We consider graduates of foreign medical schools on a case-by-case basis and offer J-1 and H1-B visas.
In addition to the above requirements, you must also provide proof of:
- ECFMG certification
- Successful completion of USMLE Steps 1, 2 (CK & CS), and 3
- Two years clinical practice post completion of residency if residency not completed in the US or Canada.
In addition to clinical training, fellows have the opportunity to be involved with ongoing clinical research. Research is performed with the assistance of faculty mentorship and statistical support through Clinical and Bio-Analytics Transplant Laboratory (CBATL). CBATL is a think tank for improving transplant patient care and provides the framework and support for fellows to perform research and develop data science skills. Fellows may be provided financial support to travel to meetings.
Examples of conferences fellows have presented at in the past include:
- American Transplant Congress (ATC)
- ASTS Winter Symposium
- Controversies in Transplantation
- International Liver Transplantation Society Annual Congress
- International Pediatric Transplant Association Meeting
Educational & Research Conferences
Harkins Symposium and Strauss Lecture
Named in honor of the Department of Surgery’s first Chairman and an esteemed University of Washington alumnus respectively, the Harkins Symposium and Strauss Lecture is a day of scholarship held each fall in which faculty across the Department of Surgery present on the insightful, cutting-edge research currently being done at the University of Washington. The Strauss Lecture is delivered each year by an invited professor who is a leader in the field of surgery.
Past speakers have included:
- Valarie W. Rusch (Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Surgery; Memorial Sloan Kettering)
- Jonathan Woodson (Director, Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy; Boston University)
- Andrea L. Pusic (Chief, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Brigham and Women’s Hospital)
- Robert S.D. Higgens (Director; Department of Surgery; Johns Hopkins University)
- Thomas M. Krummel (Emile Holman Professor Emeritus (Active), Co-Director, Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign Program, & Director, Surgical Innovation Program; Stanford University)
Resident Research Day and Schilling Lecture
Dr. John Schilling was the third Chairman of the Department of Surgery and is remembered as laying the groundwork that made the Department what it is today. In his relatively short eight-year tenure as Chair, Dr Schilling recruited 41 faculty and graduated 40 chief residents. Each year in his honor, the Department of Surgery hosts the Resident Research Day and Schilling Lecture.
Over the course of the day, residents from the five departmental divisions (General Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Transplant Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Plastic Surgery) are invited to present their research to faculty mentors and peers. The Schilling Lecture is delivered by an invited professor who shares Dr. Schilling’s devotion to patient care, teaching, and research.
Past lecturers include:
- Mary Hawn (Chair, Department of Surgery; Stanford University)
- Caprice C. Greenberg (Morgridge Distinguished Chair in Health Services Research, Surgical Oncology; University of Wisconsin)
- Diana Farmer (Chair, Department of Surgery; UC Davis)
- Melina Kibbe (Chair, Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina)
- Walter Pories (Founding Chair of the Department of Surgery; East Carolina University)
Department of Surgery Education Seminar
Surgical education is at the heart of the Department of Surgery’s mission. Every June, the entire Department of Surgery gathers together to discuss a topic within surgical education with the goal of improving the training of our residents as well as improving the culture of the Department. Both Faculty and trainees are invited to present and lead the discussion.
Past topics have included:
- Strategies and Best Practices for Surgeon-Patient Interpersonal Communication
- Autonomy in Surgical Education
- Wellness Education in Surgery
Below is a list of program alumni and their first positions out of training:
Brian Cook, MD
Intermountain Health, Salt Lake City, UT
James Hendele, MD
Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
Peter Joseph Edpao, MD
Hepatobiliary and General Surgeon
Kaiser Permanente, Seattle, WA
Kathryn Shaw, MD
Saint Luke’s, Kansas City, MO
Catherine Kling, MD MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplant Surgery
University of Washington
Amir Azar, MD
Hepatobiliary and GI Oncology Surgeon
Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA
Terra Pearson, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplant Surgery
Medical College of Wisconsin
Imran Javed, MBBS
Surgical Organ Recovery Specialist
LifeCenter Northwest, Seattle, WA
Martin Montenovo, MD
Director Living Donor Liver Transplant Program
Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery & Liver Transplantation
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Jared Brandenberger, MD
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Surgeon
Virginia Mason Medical Center
Alex Cantafio, MD
Ascension St. Vincent, Indianapolis, IN
George Rofaiel, MBBCh
Assistant Professor, Transplant and Advanced Hepatobiliary Surgery
University of Utah
Salary and Benefits
Fellows in the Abdominal Transplant Program are appointed as faculty at the University of Washington and as such receive the same benefits as faculty, including:
- Medical, dental, and life insurance
- Retirement contributions
Salaries are dependent on PGY-level in accordance with the University of Washington GME Stipend Schedule.
Where do residents live?
Seattle offers its residents unrivaled access to both a vibrant, culturally diverse urban center and the storied outdoor recreation of the Pacific Northwest. When asked about the reasons that they love to live here, our faculty and trainees often cite this proximity of culture and recreation in Seattle – for instance, the opportunity to hike on the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday morning and eat at a James Beard award-winning restaurant that night.
Living in Seattle offers access to an enviable array of amenities including:
- Three ski resorts within two hours of the city
- Local MLB, NFL, MLS, WNBA teams (NHL arriving soon!)
- 60+ breweries operating within city limits
- Thriving museum culture (including art, history, cultural, and children’s museums)
- Robust theater and music scene (ranging from Seattle Symphony to Broadway shows to live concerts)
- Seattle International Film Festival
Many neighborhoods throughout the city are easily accessible to our six primary sites of practice. In a recent survey, trainees in the Department of Surgery identified where they live. See the map below for details.
Will I need a car?
While many trainees in the Department of Surgery live in neighborhoods that are easily walkable to our sites of practice and Seattle is regularly ranked as one of the most bike and public transit friendly cities in the country, most of our fellows own cars and drive to work each day.
This decision is often based on convenience due to the dynamic work schedule, but also affords fellows the opportunity to easily explore the Pacific Northwest on their days off.
Some great examples of day trips include:
- Mount Rainier
- San Juan Islands
- Washington Wine Country
- Olympic National Forest
- Portland, OR