Cook County Health’s Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency Program is a world-class program that is among the best in the country with over 40 years of specialty training.

The program is fully approved by the ACGME and residents are trained to become certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
It is a broadly based and comprehensive surgical training program that provides a diverse, independent and extensive clinical experience within private, public and university hospital settings. Many of its features are unique and set it above and apart from other colorectal residencies. The residents spend equal time at each of three very different institutions – University of Illinois College of Medicine, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County – to gain experience in a variety of settings.  
The program allows residents who have completed five or more years of General Surgery training to apply for one year of specialty training. The program comprehensively trains residents in the use of modern techniques to treat malignant problems of the colon and rectum and benign anorectal disorders, as well as care for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
The Colorectal Surgery Residency Program serves as a consulting service for Stroger Hospital, UIC and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. The Division at Stroger Hospital, along with the Section of Surgical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, performs the majority of inpatient and outpatient colonoscopy and flexible proctosigmoidoscopies examinations for surgery at this institution. The division admits over 500 patients annually and sees approximately 4,500 patients in clinics. Members of the Colorectal Surgery Division have presented a variety of papers at national meetings and have published clinical papers in the various medical journals. Graduates of the program are leaders in the field with nearly 50 percent entering academic practice in recent years. 
The strengths of the program are: 
  • Availability and expertise of national leaders in the field 
  • Breadth and depth of clinical activity 
  • Comprehensive evaluation process 
  • Continuity of care for advanced rectal cancer from diagnosis to neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy, surgery, and follow-up, including multidisciplinary exposure 
  • Diverse, independent and extensive clinic experience 
  • Laparoscopic and robotic surgery experience 
  • Level of clinical independence available to residents 
  • Pathology teaching 
  • Private, public and university hospital settings 
  • Structured education curriculum 
  • Volume of endoscopy


Residents apply for selection in July and August prior to the anticipated start date of Colon and Rectal Residency through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
After reviewing the application, the program director and associate program director select applicants for interview in August and September. We currently take three residents each year for one year of training. 
Residency selection criteria include but are not limited to the following:  
  • College and medical educational training  
  • Exam scores (ABSITE and USMLE)  
  • General surgery residency program  
  • Interview performance 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Personal statement  
  • Research and publications  

Didactic Curriculum

The formal teaching sessions are tailored to meet the Institutional and Program Requirements.
  • Bi-weekly Multidisciplinary Colon, Rectal and Anal Cancer Tumor Board Conference
  • Journal Club (Evidence Based Reviews in Colon and Rectal Surgery) 
  • Monthly Fellowship Colon and Rectal Surgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference (across institutions) 
  • Lutheran General Multidisciplinary 
  • Review, Preoperative Preparation and Indications Conference 
  • Weekly Clinical Pathology 
  • Weekly Didactic Lecture Series 
  • Weekly Departmental (Rush + Cook County) Surgical Morbidity and Mortality Conference 
  • Weekly Departmental UIC Surgical Morbidity and Mortality Conference 
  • Quarterly Colorectal Jeopardy in a faculty home 
The primary education in these issues is integrated into the clinical training. Ethical issues are discussed during Tumor Boards. There is an annual lecture in appropriate and successful coding. As a surgical training program, supervision is primarily during performance of procedures. 
Our residents are graduates of General Surgery Training Programs and as such, are allowed a degree of independence in the daily clinical management. Staff surgeons are present for every operative procedure. 
Numerous ongoing research projects are available for resident involvement. A research program is in place and a publication requirement is enforced. The faculty are directly involved in research and scholarly activities. We meet on a monthly basis in addition to electronic communications.