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Department of Surgery

Chairman's Welcome

Sharmila Dissanaike, MD

Sharmila Dissanaike, M.D.
Professor and Peter C. Canizaro Chair, Department of Surgey

Welcome to the Department of Surgery at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. Our mission statement is on the introduction page, but our daily ethos can be summarized as “We train the best of the next generation of surgeons to provide the highest standard of surgical care.” We do this by providing early graded autonomy in diagnosis and clinical decision making, pre and post-operative care, and in the operating room itself. We believe that in order to practice surgery well, you must actually be in the operating room from the start of your surgical training. We set this on a background of collegiality as we teach and learn from each other, while holding ourselves to the highest standards in all that we do. Our faculty hail from diverse backgrounds, with each faculty member bringing a unique skill set that complements our educational, patient care and research missions. They provide appropriate supervision, training and mentorship as you grow as a surgeon. Most importantly, we will be your surgical family even after you graduate, serving as a resource to discuss ideas and help with difficult situations as you use and continue your training for the benefit of humanity.

Surgery is an art and science that extends far beyond the operating room. Several of our pillars of excellence focus on the care of critically ill and injured patients. We have well established Centers of Excellence in the John A. Griswold Level 1 Trauma Center (see video)and the Timothy J. Harner Regional Burn Center (see video), both of which have over 20 years of continuous verification by the American College of Surgeons. We are very proud of our track record of taking care of the sickest patients, a legacy that we continue to this day. We are unique in that we are geographically isolated from other major competing centers while maintaining a very large referral base from a widespread rural population. In fact, we are the most isolated Level 1 Trauma Center, as judged by being the furthest distance from the next Level 1 center. This provides us with a unique opportunity to have high volume patient care with minimal competition in the region. In order to maximize the educational value of these patient care opportunities, we have made a deliberate commitment to not develop fellowships that compete with our general surgery residents’ experience. Therefore the one fellowship that we support is a Burn Fellowship, since our patient volume is so high that this does not dilute resident experience but provides additional help support and guidance on this very busy rotation.

From a strong foundation in broad-based general surgery, we are developing new Centers of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, and Cancer Surgery which will allow us to continue to train residents to be exceptional in all aspects of surgical care. We perform all types of minimally invasive surgery including robotic and endoscopic surgery. To help trainees develop these advanced technical skills in the relatively short duration of training, we have not only a robust case volume but a strong FLS accredited simulation center with dedicated faculty and personnel. Since one goal of an academic surgical department is to continually advance the science of surgery, we have a vigorous clinical and basic science research program, centered on the Burn Center for Research Excellence (BCORE), but also expanding into epidemiologic and outcomes research through the TTUHSC Clinical Research Institute (CRI) and the School for Public Health. Through alliances with the Southwest Cancer Center and TTU departments of engineering, we have developed translational research programs in cancer genetics, molecular biology and biomedical technologic innovations; the list of research projects with department of surgery involvement seems to grow daily.

In addition to General Surgery, Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery , Surgical Oncology, Breast Surgery, Trauma, Burns, and Critical Care, we have Divisions of Vascular Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, and Neurosurgery. Each of these divisions is an integral part of our department and the surgical training we provide. Additionally, we have rotations in high volume rural general surgery with Midland Surgical Associates  group in Midland, a private practice rotation with SWAT Surgical Associates  here in Lubbock, and a transplant surgery rotation at The Methodist Hospital Transplant Division  in Houston which provides heavy exposure in liver, pancreas and kidney transplant surgery. Finally, we work closely with the Departments of ENT, Orthopedics and Urology, and our residents benefit from this experience and exposure.

I hope this brief synopsis gives you a taste of who we are, and what we value. Our culture is what makes us special, but is difficult to convey on a website; we hope you will visit us to explore further why this department is the best place to work and train in the art and science of surgery. Thank you, and welcome.

Sharmila Dissanaike, M.D.
Peter C. Canizaro Chair, Department of Surgery