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About the program

The Surgical Scholars Program at Children's Mercy was established in 2005 to provide clinical research opportunities for aspiring pediatric surgeons. The Program has formally trained over 30 trainees and many of the previous graduates are now academic surgeons across the country. This level of productivity is possible because the division has maintained a very active surgical research for the past 10 years. The Surgical Scholars Program expanded from training one surgical scholar every other year to two-three scholars per year.

Though the program was initially based on interest in prospective clinical research, it has since expanded to include health services research with the creation of the Quality Improvement and Surgical Equity Research (QISER) Center led by Dr. Tolu Oyetunji. Scholars therefore actively participate in clinical and health services research.

Surgical research

Being a very active clinical division, the surgical volume has provided the opportunity to answer many questions through the conduct of rigorous surgical research. The Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery (established and led initially by Dr. Whit Holcomb III) and Center for Prospective Randomized Trials (established and led by Dr. Shawn St. Peter), have conducted high-level randomized trials and prospective observational studies in the surgical management of appendicitis, empyema, pyloric stenosis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in children. Results from these studies have drastically altered the way these conditions are currently managed in children around the world, leading to less invasive procedures and a shorter hospital length of stay. The focus of the research has always been patient-driven care. These findings have subsequently been incorporated into practice as clinical protocols and pathways at CMKC. The “Kansas City” protocols have been adopted by many institutions and the research veracity of the department as it relates to pertinent pediatric surgical issues is well recognized. Consequently, our scholars obtain a strong appreciation for the true “bench to bedside” research as they see in practice the findings from their research endeavors. This combined clinical and research opportunities provide an ideal environment for training true academic surgeons in the field of surgical research as a whole, with a special focus on children. Read more about our research.

Where are they now?

The Surgical Scholars program has formally trained 30 trainees since its establishment in 2005. Many of the previous fellows currently occupy academic surgical positions across the country.

Apply for the program

To apply to the Surgical Scholars program please complete the Application.

If you have further questions contact Tolu Oyetunji, MD, MPH, Surgical Scholars Program Director, or email the Surgical Scholars Program.

Prospective scholars must have completed at least 3 years of general surgery residency, so they can participate in senior-level call responsibilities. Junior residents are welcome to inquire about possible opportunities.