The Wright State University School of Medicine was begun in Dayton, Ohio, in 1974. Dan W. Elliott, M.D., was the founding chair of the Department of Surgery, and he served in that capacity from 1975 until 1988. He was succeeded by James B. Peoples, M.D., who served as chair from 1988 until 2002. Alex G. Little, M.D., served as chair from 2003 to April 2010. The current chair is Mary C. McCarthy, M.D.
Over this time span and under the initial leadership of Drs. Elliott and Peoples, the Department of Surgery and its residency have grown and evolved. During its early years, the department faculty consisted primarily of clinical volunteer faculty from the local community. Over time, full-time faculty members with clinical and academic interests have been added, and the department remains committed to continued development of these clinical and academic programs. Community volunteer surgeons will continue to be active faculty in our department as teachers and trainers of medical students and residents. At the same time, we are dedicated to growing and enhancing the numbers of academic full-time faculty who will participate in clinical programatic growth, be active leaders in the teaching and the training of medical students and residents and actively participate in academic and scholarly activities including both basic science and clinical research.
The department and the General Surgery Residency Training Program will continue to function in five hospitals in the Dayton area. These hospitals are Miami Valley Hospital, Kettering Medical Center, the Dayton VA Medical Center, Dayton Children's Hospital and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center. Integration of the Air Force residency program with the Wright State University program has been a very successful collaboration. This is a mutually beneficial relationship which the department values and will continue.
The undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Surgery is oriented around providing students exposure to an education about surgical patients and diseases that will enable them to function appropriately in their chosen career. Third-year medical students have a six-week general surgery clerkship and a two-week subspecialty clerkship. This is carried out across the spectrum of all hospitals. Fourth-year electives are available both for our students and visiting students in all surgical specialties and are geared for the student choosing a career in surgery, both to provide an appropriate education and have the type of experiences that support this career choice.
Our residency is geared to accomplish several goals. It is one of our goals that all residents finishing our training program be prepared and sufficiently trained to immediately enter a practice of general surgery should that be their desire. Maintaining the experience with a variety of surgeons, academic, community, VA-based and Air Force, ensures that we meet this first goal. We also feel strongly that our residents should be competitive for advanced residencies and/or fellowship training programs. Finally, we are committed to providing the foundation for an academic career for those who wish to enter academic surgery. This means providing research opportunities for those that are interested which is why we have at least one dedicated research position each year, and the capability to provide this opportunity for others if desired.