Message from the Program Director

Message from the Program Director

Welcome from the Program Director

Creighton University has a long and proud tradition of training physicians in General Surgery. We appreciate your consideration and I look forward to telling you more about our program. Despite the incredible pace of change in the world of modern medicine, Creighton has remained a high quality opportunity for young surgeons seeking success. 

Each year, we receive between 900-1100 applications for our 4 categorical and 2 preliminary training positions. We are a mid-size training program, with 22 residents. In addition, our urology residency program will have an intern working with us for a portion of the year. From this pool of applicants, we build strong teams of residents to whom we provide solid foundations. Our residents learn together and grow together in the hospitals as well as socially. There is a real bond that forms between our trainees and we feel this closeness is one hallmark of our program.



We make the SCORE curriculum and TrueLearn question bank available for every resident and continue to modify our resident educational conferences to maximize learning opportunities. We are focusing on 2 major surgical textbooks with a weekly reading schedule to help continue our excellent first time pass rate for the American Board of Surgery examinations. We maintain mandated, protected conference times with faculty engagement. We use teaching in clinics, on rounds, and in the OR as the real world examples of the textbooks and literature readings we discuss at Journal Club. We participate in mock oral examinations twice a year for our senior residents. We have a cadaver lab twice a year. Research is not required but strongly encouraged; opportunities are readily available for residents and publications can be numerous with dedication. 



As a result of the academic environment available, most Creighton residents graduate with multiple publications and many have presentations at regional and national meetings. This aids in our excellent success in fellowship placement from our institution. In just the past few years, we have placed residents in diverse fellowships including cardiothoracic, vascular, colo-rectal, MIS, pediatric critical care surgery, plastics, transplant, oncology, head and neck, acute care surgery, and burns.  The institutions at which our graduates attend fellowship remain consistently of high caliber.



Equally important to potential placement in fellowship is finding a program where the training in the fundamentals of the OR is sound. We have graduates routinely choose to go into general surgery practice straight out of residency and we believe this is a strong indicator of our program’s depth and breadth of training. In fact, all of our graduating chiefs from 2018 chose to go directly into general surgery practice. You won’t need a fellowship to feel ready to operate when you train at Creighton. We are a Level 1 trauma center. We have only 3 non-competing surgical fellowships (colorectal, global surgery, and head and neck oncologic and reconstructive) affiliated with our institution, so as a trainee you will get big cases and not find yourself competing with multiple fellows to get them. Our chiefs finish with approximately 950-1050 cases, more than meeting the ABS requirements.

Creighton University believes in the idea of “cura personalis,” or care for the entire person. We strive for our trainees here to learn about the importance not only of the diseases we treat but the absolute essentialness of caring for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. We believe in dedication to promoting human dignity, and being open to and accepting a person’s religious, spiritual and cultural development. We believe this mindset is fundamental to creating great doctors for the 21st century.

Our global surgery fellowship is in its second year and I am working with that program director with the goal of having an (optional) international rotation as a routine part of the senior level experience. We do currently offer limited elective time in the senior years and recent residents have rotated at outside institutions for CT surgery, plastics, oncology, and even an ABS approved month on general surgery in Kenya.



If these are the ideals you are looking for in the setting of a strong general surgery residency training program, I hope you investigate us further and I look forward to meeting you. Omaha, Nebraska is a great place to be and to live. We have residents from all over the United States and even from around the world. Come check us out!

Marcus Balters, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery
Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program

President, Creighton Chapter, Gold Humanism Honor Society
Creighton University Medical Center