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Residencies and Fellowships

Fellowship Program Contact Information

Sherry Steppling
Fellowship Program Manager

Rabih A. Chaer, MD
Program Director

Medical Student Electives Contact Information

Kathy Haupt
Medical Student Coordinator

5-2 Residency Program

The UPMC Division of Vascular Surgery has had a successful two-year fellowship program in vascular surgery since 2001 and realized a major accomplishment in being named one of a few sites in the country to secure ACGME accreditation for a five-year vascular surgery residency program beginning in 2007, and the only site to be given two slots.

The two-year vascular surgery fellowship after general surgery training is an ACGME-approved program for two fellows per year, offering clinical experience including the core service rotations, endovascular interventional experience, a venous rotation, a clinical noninvasive vascular laboratory education, and clinical research.

In addition to their clinical training, the vascular surgery 5-2 residents are encouraged to participate in clinical research projects throughout their educational experience. Residents have routinely presented their work at regional and national meetings, and some of these projects have gone on to become landmark papers.

Integrated 0-5 Residency Program

The five-year residency program is one of two new training paradigms approved by the ACGME that leads to certification in vascular surgery. We were granted two slots for the program and our first two residents started in July 2007. The program is designed to shorten the overall duration of training and to provide more concentrated time to include the evolving new techniques within vascular surgery.
The program is selected by fourth-year medical students in the standard matching program. The first two years of the program are devoted to core surgical training, during which time the residents complete general surgery rotations. The core years also include a body imaging radiology rotation, and a cardiology rotation. The remaining three years are devoted exclusively to vascular surgery training.
The program includes 2 additional mandatory 2 years of research under a T32 training grant. The research years start after the third clinical year and include basic science research, biomechanical engineering research, or clinical research with the possibility of obtaining a MSc degree in clinical research.  Residents have routinely presented their work at regional and national meeting, and some of these projects have gone on to become landmark papers. 
The cores of the service rotation for both programs are at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Shadyside where the residents are challenged by a vast array of open and endovascular vascular surgery cases. Additionally, residents spend time at UPMC Passavant, UPMC St. Margaret, UPMC Mercy, Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. All 18 vascular surgeons hold privileges and participate in the provision of care at these hospitals.
The vascular surgery residents manage the core vascular surgery clinical service at each hospital. General surgical residents rotate on the services and share call responsibilities. All patients admitted to our service are assigned to an attending vascular surgeon. The patient populations are a mixture of elective cases, scheduled admissions from the office, and urgent transfers. All residents have an opportunity to attend clinic almost any day of the week during different rotations and can work with all surgeons in the group.

 The operative experience is one rich in exposure to the treatment of the following illnesses: aortic disease, aneurysms, carotid artery stenosis, peripheral arterial disease, renal arterial stenosis, leg ulcers, traumatic vascular injuries, and venous pathology. The vascular surgery resident will acquire an operative experience in excess of 300 cases per year. The residents are given a gradual increase in direct responsibility for pre- and postoperative patient care, and for the performance of surgical procedures under the direct supervision of the attending vascular surgeon.


Rabih A. Chaer, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Director, Vascular Surgery Residency Programs
UPMC Presbyterian, A-1011
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-864-2474
Fax: 412-291-1669


Sherry Steppling
Fellowship Coordinator
UPMC Presbyterian, A-1011
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-802-3031
Fax: 412-291-1669

Vascular Conferences

An academic conference is held on a weekly basis, which includes topics for educational review, lectures by visiting professors, and case presentations. The conference is approved for one hour of Category I CME credit by UPMC. In addition, a bi-monthly Basic and Clinical Research Conference, supported by topics related to bench research and clinical trial investigations, is held. Morbidity & Mortality Review and Journal Club also are included in the curricula. On a business level, coding and reimbursement meetings to keep abreast of the latest issues are held on a regular basis.

Vascular Surgery Research

The scope of research currently available in the division includes clinical trials, clinical reviews, bioengineering, molecular biology, gene therapy, methods of inhibiting neointimal hyperplasia, and other aspects of vascular biology.

Residents entering into the integrated five-year program as interns are expected to do two additional years of research in the division of vascular surgery. This can be in one of the basic science labs devoted to vascular research, in the biomechanical engineering laboratories, or by doing clinical research. The University of Pittsburgh has been designated as a center for development of translational research and as a location to foster young physicians in clinical research.

Currently several members of the division have NIH grants investigating various aspects of vascular diseases. The division also employs four vascular research coordinators who are working on active prospective trials, and a full time Statistician PhD faculty member The vascular surgery resident has the opportunity to become familiar with the current ongoing trials, methodology used, and statistical methods of analysis in order to carry out independent investigations in the future.


  • Competitive salary
  • Health, dental, and life insurances
  • Three weeks of vacation per academic year
  • Financial support for one scientific meeting
  • Yearly educational fund
  • Holiday time off
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance


All applications for both training pathways are handled through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

Applications for two positions in our five-year vascular surgery residency program are accepted until October 31st of each year or until all interview slots are filled.

Applications for a position in our two-year fellowship training program are accepted until December 31st of each year or until all interview slots are filled.

Applications for both programs are accepted only via ERAS. The vascular surgery residency office will not accept any paper applications.

Personal interviews are by invitation only and are required for acceptance to our program. Completed applications should include:

  • ERAS application
  • Personal statement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Official transcript from your medical school
  • Dean's letter
  • 3-4 current letters of recommendation
  • USMLE Board scores

If you need additional information, please contact Sherry Steppling at 412-802-3031.

Our interview process for both programs is a one-day process. We prefer that applicants arrive the night before for a dinner with faculty and trainees. The five-year residency interviews are held in December and January, scheduled on two Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Interviews for the two-year vascular surgery fellowship program are held in February and March, scheduled on two Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Information for International Medical Graduates

We do not have a minimum USMLE score requirement but all scores must be passing. There is no requirement regarding length of time since medical school graduation, and prior United States clinical experience is not required.

The preferred visa for training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Medical Education Program is the J-1 visa sponsored through the ECFMG for residency/fellowship training.

All international medical graduates must hold a current and valid ECFMG certificate in order for their application to be considered complete, including the clinical skills assessment which must also be current and valid. Each applicant must have taken and passed both Steps I and II of the USMLE, and their English qualifying examination must be current and valid.

If you have any questions regarding visas, or obtaining a graduate license for training in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, please contact the Graduate Medical Education Office at 412-647-5815. For information regarding ECFMG certification, visit the ECFMG website.

National Resident Matching Program 

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Medical Student Electives

Kathy Haupt
Medical Student Coordinator
Phone: 412-647-5314
Fax: 412-647-4889

All requests for fourth-year electives for visiting LCME applicants can be processed only through the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine website. This website explains the different electives available in the Department of Surgery and how an application can be processed on-line.

To access an application or for further information, visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine website.

If you have difficulty with the application, contact Ms. Joanne Colligan via e-mail or by phone at 412-648-8935.

Course descriptions and program requirements are subject to change.

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