Program Goals and Objectives


The program curriculum is designed to provide residents with a comprehensive clinical experience with progressive advancement to the ultimate goal of independent practice in plastic surgery. Critical to the resident’s progressive advancement is also the development of effective self-directed study and mastery of the clinical and basic science of plastic surgery. Residents are expected to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to sufficiently meet the requirements of the following ACGME General Competencies; Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, System-Based Practice.

  1. Patient Care – The resident will develop the necessary skills in clinical decision-making to provide plastic surgery patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective. The resident will demonstrate the ability to evaluate and formulate treatment strategies for reconstructive and aesthetic surgical diagnoses. The resident will develop the independent ability to safely execute index plastic surgery procedures. The resident will demonstrate the ability to provide comprehensive perioperative patient care, manage complications, and work effectively with other disciplines to optimize patient outcomes and safety.
  2. Medical Knowledge - The resident will acquire and demonstrate a fundamental knowledge base in the basic sciences applicable to plastic surgery. The resident will acquire and demonstrate an extensive, sound knowledge base in the clinical science of plastic surgery. The resident will demonstrate the active use of their plastic surgery fund of knowledge to diagnose and treat patients effectively.
  3. Practice-Based Learning & Improvement - The resident will investigate and evaluate his or her own patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve patient care practices. The resident will develop an effective practice of self-directed study and demonstrate this practice through adequate preparation for patient care, procedures, and conferences. The resident will demonstrate the ability to educate other healthcare professionals about the practice of plastic surgery.
  4. Interpersonal & Communication Skills - The resident will demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and team-building with patients, their families, and professional associates.
  5. Systems-Based Practice - The resident will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value. The resident will demonstrate the ability to effectively participate in multidisciplinary planning and treatment for patients with complex diagnoses.
  6. Professionalism - The resident will demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population. The resident must demonstrate the desire and ability to care for his or her patients in a competent, responsible, compassionate and ethical manner and to always demonstrate professional integrity, intellectual honesty and social responsibility.

Program Structure

The Plastic Surgery Residency at UC San Diego has a three-year independent model format and as of 2016 added the six-year integrated residency format. Residents will be exposed to educational opportunities at three primary sites within UC San Diego Health. These include UC San Diego Medical Center (Hillcrest), UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center (La Jolla), and the UC San Diego Division of Plastic Surgery Clinic at Chancellor Park (La Jolla). The residents will also be exposed to educational opportunities at Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego (RCHSD) and the VA La Jolla Medical Center (VAMC).

In addition the residents will have dedicated rotations in the areas of Hand, Pediatric Plastic Surgery, and a variety of subspecialty rotations, including Aesthetic Surgery, Head and Neck, Dermatology, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Oculoplastic Surgery, and Breast Surgery. Each rotation has specific goals and objectives designed to promote graduated resident independence in all areas of competency with appropriate supervision by the designated rotation director. Residents in the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency at UCSD will complete six years of ACGME-accredited plastic surgery education following receipt of an MD or DO degree from an institution accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). 

The integrated curriculum contains six years of clinical surgical education under the authority and direction of the plastic surgery program director. Of these years, 36 months will be concentrated plastic surgery education with 12 months of chief responsibility on the clinical service of plastic surgery. In the first three years of the integrated program, clinical experiences appropriate to plastic surgery education will be provided in alimentary tract surgery, abdominal surgery, breast surgery, emergency medicine, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgical oncology, transplant, trauma management, and vascular surgery. 

During the last three years of training, residents will provide continuity of care to patients by attending the weekly Aesthetic Clinic at Chancellor Park and the Hillcrest Clinic on Wed AM.>

On-call activities are limited to the UC San Diego Health system, including the Medical Center, Jacobs Medical Center, and the VA. Residents will provide continuity of care to patients by attending the weekly Resident Aesthetic Clinic at Chancellor Park and the Medical Center Resident Clinic on Wednesday mornings.

The rule that the Resident participates in the activity of the best education value at any given time and continuity of care and exposure to clinical education opportunities is enforced. The Rotation Director will assist the resident in the selection of the most appropriate educational cases and activities on a daily basis. The educational priority and "activity" value for a trainee always takes precedence over "faculty seniority or convenience".

The Residents keep current operative logs so that the program can assure a balanced operative experience that meets the standards of quality required by the ACGME. The resident PSOLs are reviewed by the Program Director during the monthly meetings which are utilized to address resident competence and performance, and any educational quality problems, service interactions, teaching conferences, research activities, meetings, vacations, call schedules, duty hours, stress levels, etc. 

The Integrated Plastic Surgery Program curriculum is designed to provide residents with a comprehensive clinical experience and strong foundation in surgical skills and patient care in the first three years. The solid surgical foundation in clinical surgery will prepare them for progressive advancement in the final three years of training to the ultimate goal of independent practice in plastic surgery.