Chairman's Message

Dr. KarpThe Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine was founded in 1925 and is the product of a long tradition of surgical innovation. As an academic clinical department, our mission is to provide the finest quality care to patients, educate the next generation of surgeons, and produce solutions to surgical problems that change practice.

We are comprised of 129 full-time clinical and 33 research faculty, 95 residents and fellows, and more than 40 staff. The department provides services to distinct but geographically close hospitals including the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Saint Thomas Hospital, and Williamson Medical Center.

Our Department is organized into six Divisions: General Surgery, Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, Trauma and Surgical Critical Care including Burn Surgery, and Vascular Surgery. Each is remarkable in its own right. The Division of General Surgery features our general surgery residency program as well as our minimally Invasive, bariatrics, and colon & rectal surgery programs, with national leaders in hernia repair and foregut surgery. The Liver Transplant program is one of the largest in the nation. The Kidney and Pancreas Transplant program performs approximately 250 transplants per year and uses innovative technologies, including genomic analysis to manage immunosuppression. Surgical Oncology offers cutting-edge approaches to chemotherapy and features large programs in pancreas, breast, melanoma and thyroid malignancies. Our Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care is home to the only program in Tennessee to achieve the prestigious distinction of a Level 1 Trauma Center ranking from the American College of Surgeons. It is comprised of 10 board certified Acute Care and Burn Surgeons who lead the management of over 4000 critically ill and injured patients annually. Our Burn program is home to a 25-bed Level 1 Burn unit with over 700 admissions per year. Our Vascular Surgery division provides comprehensive services including advanced minimally invasive techniques for thoracic and aortic reconstruction.

Our surgical residency and fellowship programs are designed to provide an outstanding experience at all levels. Programs are individualized so each trainee is prepared to function as an independent surgeon upon graduation. We currently offer six fellowship training programs, including Minimally Invasive Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, Acute Care Surgery, Burn Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Breast Oncology.

The Department of Surgery is home to a remarkable group of investigators spanning the continuum from basic science through translational studies to clinical research. The Department is perennially one of the most successful in the nation in competing for National Institutes of Health funding with a portfolio of more than $30M in funding. Our program in basic science in surgical oncology for gastric, esophageal, and colorectal cancer supports a T32 training grant. Other programs include the basic science of liver regeneration, investigations into specific challenges of managing patients in the ICU, and numerous clinical trials.

In addition, the Department supports meaningful collaborations with some of the worlds foremost outcomes, global health, and health services researchers. In addition, relationships with our School of Engineering through the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgical Engineering (VISE) support joint efforts to address problems relevant to surgery.

Please look around our site to learn more about the Department, and please contact me if you have questions or if I can be of assistance.


Seth J. Karp, M.D.
H. William Scott Jr. Chair
Professor of Surgery
Chairman, Department of Surgery