University of Pittsburgh


Combined Clinical Years

Surgery and Perioperative Care Clerkship (SPCC)

 6 weeks

Clerkship Director
Javier Salgado, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Surgery

Clerkship Co-Director
Kelly McCoy, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Surgery

Clerkship Co-Director
Gregory A. Watson, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Surgery

Clerkship Co-Director
Giselle G. Hamad, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Department of Surgery


Course Description

This 6-week clerkship covers the discipline of general surgery. Students are assigned to general surgery service (3 weeks) and a surgical specialty service (3 weeks). Teaching with attending physicians and residents occurs in conferences, on rounds, in the operating room, at the bedside, and in small groups.

The objectives of the clerkship are for students to:

  1. explain the etiology, differential diagnosis and management of common diseases requiring surgical care.
  2. recognize the need for routine, urgent and emergent surgical referrals.  
  3. demonstrate proficiency in common bedside procedures, and simple suturing.
  4. demonstrate proficiency in the approach to preoperative evaluation of patients for surgery.  

Additional goals include developing skills in the management of acute pain and postoperative complications. Overall the course is primarily designed to prepare students to assume the role of a primary care physician and to become familiar with the clinical presentations and management of common surgical problems.

Clinical sites include Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, UPMC Montefiore, UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside, UPMC Mercy, UPMC Passavant, and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Every student participates in hands-on simulation sessions at the WISER Center, where they gain experience in airway management and trauma resuscitation. The laparoscopic skills lab provides students with an opportunity to practice laparoscopic techniques on specialized simulators. During the mid-clerkship OSCE, students refine their skills in the evaluation of common surgical conditions.

Educational Methods


Clinical experiences Lectures Workshops Simulations
Oral presentations Conferences Ward rounds Standardized patient sessions (OSCE)
Web-based palliative care modules            



The Surgery evaluation is based on feedback from faculty and residents (70%), a National Board web-based subject exam (20%), and two formal surgery case presentations (Walk Rounds and Saturday Case Conference, 10%).

Grading: The clerkship is graded Honors, High Satisfactory, Satisfactory, Low Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Clerkship Co-Director Gregory A. Watson, MD, is a two-time recipient of the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award, and was honored with the 2016 Simmons Mentorship Award in Surgery. Kevin Garrett, MD, FACS is a recipient of the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award. In addition, Drs. Kevin Garrett, Giselle Hamad, Kenneth Lee, and Andrew Peitzman are members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.