From the Program Director

Thavam ThambiWelcome to the general surgery residency program at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine! Our program is the only general surgery residency in South Dakota and focuses on rural general surgery training. The concepts of graded and progressive responsibility under the guidance and supervision of faculty members, along with a focus on lifelong learning, are the core tenets of our program. 

The upcoming academic year will host surgery residents at all PGY levels from varied backgrounds and medical students from multiple schools across the United States. The distinctive healthcare characteristics of the Dakota region gives our residents a strong foundation and offers great opportunities to pursue a career in community-based general surgery in a rural health setting.

The faculty were trained at both community-based programs and academic centers from across the United States. The size of our program (three categorical residents a year) and the absence of surgical fellowship programs allows one-on-one interaction with faculty with early and high volume of operative experiences for all residents. 

Residents spend 50 months of their training, including the majority of subspecialty rotations, at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls. In addition, residents rotate through Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton for their rural experience, the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System, and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago (one of the busiest trauma centers in the country) for management of penetrative traumas, especially operative trauma training and burn experience. 

During training, residents are expected to complete at least two research papers, present their findings at regional/national conferences and publish the data in a peer-reviewed journal.

We hope that you enjoy exploring our program website, where you will find additional information on our clinical rotations, conference schedule, benefits, and living in Sioux Falls.

Thav Thambi-Pillai, MD, MBA, FICS, FACS
General Surgery Residency Program Director
Associate Professor of Surgery

From the Department Chair

Gary TimmermanWe are delighted to offer a general surgery residency that has been developed from its inception to produce primarily general surgeons to practice in rural or community-based hospitals across the country and abroad.

A central key to this program is there are no competing subspecialty residencies, thereby enhancing the resident's subspecialty experience. This program will offer operative experience at a large surgical volume hospital, a VA experience and a community-based surgical practice.

We believe this residency will offer significant surgical education opportunities, with emphasis on producing competent, confident, well-equipped, and well-trained general surgeons.

Gary Timmerman, MD, FACS
Department of Surgery Chair