Press Releases & Announcements

Danbury Hospital to Train Next Generation of Surgeons

Thursday, May 06, 2010 - Danbury, CT

Pierre Saldinger

Hospital awarded historic accreditation for surgical residency program

Danbury Hospital has joined the elite group of medical institutions training the next generation of surgeons with the establishment of a new nationally accredited surgical residency program — Connecticut’s first in 41 years.

The decision by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) comes at a time when the nation faces a severe shortage of general surgeons as well as the closing of surgical residency programs as struggling hospitals across the country shut down.

The ACGME is responsible for the accreditation of over 8,800 post-graduate medical training programs in the United States.

“It’s an awesome responsibility to be training the surgeons of tomorrow,” said Pierre Saldinger, MD, FACS, Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital. “The endorsement by the ACGME is a tribute not only to the Departments of Surgery and Medical Education, but to our entire institution and its commitment to provide high-quality, safe care.”

“This is a landmark accomplishment for Danbury Hospital because it’s rare for a non-university hospital to receive accreditation for a brand new surgery residency program,” added Shawn Tittle, MD, FACS, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Associate Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital. “The surgical residency program represents a major investment in our community.”

A leader in quality care

Calling Danbury Hospital a “leader in advancing quality surgical care,” A. Brent Eastman, MD, FACS, chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), lauded the hospital for participating in significant quality improvement initiatives such as the Commission on Cancer and the ACS’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

“The new surgical residency at Danbury Hospital, Connecticut’s first in decades, provides a glimmer of hope in what has been a difficult battle to maintain enough surgeons to provide timely access to quality surgical care,” said Dr. Eastman.

The best and the brightest

Twenty-one surgical residents will begin training at Danbury Hospital in July. The six-year surgical residency includes five years of clinical work at Danbury Hospital and one year of research at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “The search for candidates has drawn thousands of highly qualified applicants nationwide,” said Dr. Saldinger.

Several factors led to the accreditation of the surgical residency program

“This is a historic achievement for Danbury Hospital and a testimony to the quality of medical education at our institution,” said Ramin Ahmadi, MD, Director of Medical Education at Danbury Hospital. “It has been difficult for most institutions to develop a quality surgical program that can secure the ACGME accreditation.”

  • The dramatic growth of Danbury Hospital’s Surgery Department, which in less than a decade added 10 highly skilled surgeons with a range of specialties (laparoscopic, thoracic, bariatric, and others) eager to serve as faculty.

“The ACGME accreditation is the culmination of our efforts to build a strong Department of Surgery,” said Dr. Saldinger. “It demonstrates that Danbury Hospital has the resources, infrastructure, curriculum and faculty necessary to train the next generation of surgeons.”

Stellar faculty, state-of-the-art resources

The opportunity to teach at an institution committed to medical education was among the major reasons Dr. Tittle joined Danbury Hospital’s medical staff a year ago.

He believes the residency program will enhance the hospital’s ability to attract high-caliber surgeons and residents in the future.

“At a time when other hospitals are cutting programs or closing, Danbury Hospital is doing just the opposite by investing significant resources into our community,” said Dr. Tittle. “We are expanding our medical education program and that’s one of the most important community investments we can make, and another example of Danbury Hospital’s commitment to quality.”

Looking forward

Dr. Saldinger hopes to create an environment that challenges faculty and residents, holding both parties to the higher standards of care that are central to Danbury Hospital’s tradition. Establishing a surgical residency program was one of Dr. Saldinger’s long-term goals when he came to Danbury Hospital nine years ago. He experienced “five minutes of euphoria” when he learned of the accreditation. “Then reality set in,” he said. “It’s a huge responsibility. We need to do right by these young physicians.”

About Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders, radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management. Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve on the faculty of the nation’s finest medical centers offering a higher level of experience.

Danbury Hospital is recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement program (NSQIP) as one of 25 ACE NSQIP participating hospitals in the United States to achieve exemplary outcomes for surgical patient care.