Department of Surgery Lubbock Chairman's Welcome | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Sharmila Dissanaike, M.D.

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

Welcome to the Department of Surgery at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. We are an academic surgery program with several hallmarks. First and foremost, we train the best of the next generation of independent, confident surgeons ready for general surgery practice or to pursue advanced fellowship training upon graduation. We do this by providing early autonomy in diagnosis and clinical decision making, perioperative 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 value the collegiality and support we provide each other and ensure that camaraderie remains a defining characteristic of this program. Diversity in race, gender, educational background and interests have been an active focus of our resident and faculty recruitment over the past several years, and we see the result in an enriched work environment each day.

We have well established Centers of Excellence in the John A. Griswold Level 1 Trauma Center (see trauma center video) and the Timothy J. Harner Regional Burn Center (see burn center video), both of which have over 20 years of continuous verification by the American College of Surgeons. We are unique in being the most geographically isolated Level 1 trauma center and burn center as judged by distance from competing centers; thus we maintain a large referral base from a widespread rural population. We also provide acute care general surgery services at the only Level 2 center in the region, and surgical services at the TDCJ Montford Prison Hospital, which received surgical referrals from half of Texas. In combination, these referral bases ensure that our faculty and trainees are caring for the sickest, most complex surgical patients in the entire West Texas Eastern New Mexico region, providing an unparalleled training experience.

Against this backdrop of acute surgical care, we are rapidly expanding the quantity, complexity and quality of elective surgery. We have Centers of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery and Breast Surgery and are developing similar centers in Pediatric Surgery, Foregut Surgery/Endoscopic Procedures, and Oncology, along with the recent addition of providing surgical services at the largest private hospital in the region. To help trainees develop 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, and formal programs in endoscopic and robotic training.

Since a key purpose of an academic surgical department is to continually advance the science of surgery, we have a vigorous clinical, basic science and outcomes research program, centered on the Burn Center for Research Excellence (BCORE), 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.

A big strength of the program is our close-knit structure; nearly the entire residency gathers in one room with faculty for check-out conference each morning, in addition to weekly academic conferences. There is a team structure in place that pairs junior residents with senior colleagues and faculty to afford mentoring and guidance from day one.Close working relationships are quickly developed and grow over the years so nobody feels isolated or without support. We are a family, and that is what makes Texas Tech in Lubbock the best place to work and train. Thank you, and welcome.

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