Residency Program

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Welcome to the UCSF Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program page. Our Department’s priorities are to provide the highest quality patient care, to deliver to our residents an unsurpassed education program, and to advance biomedical research in Otolaryngology.

In addition to the exceptional resources and opportunities afforded by 140 years of University of California tradition, students, residents, and fellows at the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery enjoy the guidance and expertise of our internationally renowned clinical and research faculty, as well as, opportunities to train using state-of-the-art facilities and technology. The department includes specialists in every subspecialty of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery including head and neck surgical oncology, laryngology, rhinology, otology, neurotology, skull base surgery, pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck endocrine surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, sleep surgery and audiology.

Program Details

The Robert A. Schindler Surgical Skills Classroom at Mission CenterThe residency program in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery is a five year program in which trainees are exposed to all subspecialty areas within Otolaryngology and presented with the opportunity to work in multiple training environments. The Department is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and is nationally recognized as one of the premier centers for research and clinical care in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

The PGY-1 year

Rotations include Trauma Surgery, Intensive and Critical Care Medicine, Oral Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, and General Surgery.

The PGY-2 year

This is the first year of dedicated Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery concentration. Rotations will include time at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where outpatient clinical care and trauma management is emphasized. This rotation is an excellent opportunity for early specialty surgical experience. The UCSF Parnassus provides exposure to tertiary and quarternary Head and Neck Surgical Patients with an emphasis on anterior and lateral skull base surgery. An intensive Pediatric Otolaryngology rotation is completed at the new, state of the art UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco and at the Benioff Oakland Children’s Hospital. PGY-2 residents also rotate at the Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus where they focus on the surgical care of head and neck cancer patients.

The PGY-3 year

Rotations at San Francisco General Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital provide additional exposure to care in these unique patient populations. PGY-3 Residents rotate through subspecialty specific rotations including rhinology, sleep surgery, laryngology, and facial plastic surgery. PGY-3 residents serve in an early leadership role in the Benioff Children’s Hospitals in both Mission Bay and Oakland. A special course in clinical research training is offered to all residents during protected time from clinical work in the summer of the PGY-3 year and is the catalyst for a future research block in the PGY-4 year.


The PGY-4 year

The PGY-4 year includes a three month dedicated research rotation. Residents are provided with a menu of research opportunities from our faculty and select to work on Otolaryngology-related projects with faculty mentors inside our Department and in the greater UCSF research enterprise. An early chief resident experience is completed at the San Francisco General Hospital. The remainder of the year is spent as the chief resident on the anterior and lateral skull base service at the Parnassus campus and a dedicated block on the Otology service.

The PGY-5 year

This final year includes supervisory, administrative, and leadership roles at UCSF Parnassus, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Rotations are structured with dedicated subspecialty time on the Otology, Rhinology, Laryngology, Facial Plastics, and Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery services. The chief resident’s responsibilities include a busy surgical schedule, direct supervision of medical students and residents, as well as taking charge of the schedule for academic teaching and conferences. Although this is a rigorous year, and the learning curve is steep, the rewards are great.

At the conclusion of the Chief Resident year, our graduates are prepared for an academic position or an independent practice in the community. Many of our residents choose to go on to advanced clinical or research fellowship training. Many of our program graduates have gone on to become chairmen, academic faculty, and clinical leaders throughout the United States.

Academic Program

Our top notch academic program consists of multiple conferences at all of our training sites through a structured didactic program of one hour of formal lecture and one to two hours of specialty lectures on Monday mornings. During this time, instruction is given in:

  • Audiology
  • Head and neck oncology and anatomic dissection
  • Endoscopic and external sinus surgery
  • Micro dissection and histology of the temporal bone
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Head and neck pathology

The department also holds daily rounds, weekly grand rounds, and weekly clinical walk rounds. Our residents also participate in the continuing education programs of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery including attendance at national and regional meetings. Other benefits for residents include a liberal resident travel program which helps to underwrite a significant portion of the travel costs of attending national meetings and an annual educational materials fund. Participation in the Academy’s Home Study Course is expected. Our residents are sent to the American Academy of Otolaryngologic Allergy (AAOA) Basic Course to receive high quality didactic education in this field.

Special Resident Only Courses Offerings

The courses above are accompanied by multiple dissection opportunities which are designed to enhance surgical skills. The Robert A. Schindler Surgical Skills classroom at Mission Center is dedicated to the full gamut of surgical education in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Our program is proud to annually offer our residents multiple dissection courses featuring the temporal bone; the sinuses; a facial plastic soft tissue course; as well as a microvascular anastomosis course.

It is the goal of the Department to provide our trainees with the very best educational opportunities in all aspects of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. It is the responsibility of the resident to take advantage of all of the resources that the department has to offer. It is also the goal of the Department to provide our graduates with all of the background necessary to pass the American Board of Otolaryngology Board Certification Examination. Our graduates have a test pass rate of over 98% on the first attempt over the past 20 years.