The Surgical Foundations Training Program at Western University was initially established in 1996 by Dr. Ken Leslie for the first-year General Surgery residents. Over the years the program evolved and expanded to include residents from ten surgical specialties and has been a major strength of the surgical programs at Western University. Dr. Leslie continued in his role as Core Surgery Program Director until June 30, 2008 before passing the role over to Dr. Mike Ott who remained in the role until June 30, 2016. Dr. Julie Ann Van Koughnett is the new Surgical Foundations Program Director as of July 1, 2016.
Surgical Foundations training is defined by the RCPSC (1997) as the "initial period of postgraduate training required to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes underlying the basics to the practice of surgery in general and preparatory to further training in a surgical specialty or sub-specialty." The core surgical training period is two years in duration and during the latter half of the second year of training, the core surgical trainees write the mandatory RCPSC Surgical Foundations examination, which evaluates their attainment of the knowledge-based objectives of core training in surgery.
During the first year of surgical resident training, the residents participate in a boot camp in July which provides them with the essential knowledge and skills to transition into residency. Beginning in September and occurring almost every Wednesday until early April, the PGY1 surgical residents attend the Introduction to Surgery Course. This innovative course incorporates all seven of the CanMEDs competencies in the curriculum and includes technical skills training, simulation-based training, classroom-based sessions, and ATLS Certification that are lead and taught mainly by surgeons. Initial participant enrollment in this course consisted of four first-year General Surgery residents, however due to the success of the course it expanded to include all first year surgical residents from the programs of Cardiac Surgery, General Surgery, Urology, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, ENT, Neurosurgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and OB/GYN.
In the second year of Surgical Foundations the residents attend a two-day Refresher Course that assists them in preparing for the RCPSC Surgical Foundations examination.
The Western University Surgical Foundations Program continues to evolve and with the commitment of the Program Director and Coordinator will continue to be a success.