The Department of Surgery at NYHQ (formerly BMMC) initiated and was approved for a freestanding residency-training program in surgery in 1960. This approval was for 2 categorical residents per year and the first graduating class was in 1965. At that time the hospital had 250 medical/surgical beds, and was performing 2000 surgical cases per year.
The medical Center grew in parallel with the population and diversity of the community. The Department of Surgery was affiliated with the Department of Surgery at NYU and PGY-2 and PGY-4 NYU residents worked alongside the BMMC residents. The first Surgical Intensive Care Unit on Long Island, staffed by Surgical Intensivists was opened and this continues to provide a rich teaching environment for our surgical resident staff as well as Critical Care and ED residents rotating to our unit from other departments and outside programs.
The medical Center was designated a Level I Trauma Center in 1984. This designation served the dual purpose of improving resident training in the management of the critically ill and injured patient and meeting the needs of the community. The residents participated in injury prevention programs sponsored by the hospital, the department of Parks and the Department of Pediatrics.
In 1990 the hospital was purchased from the Salvation Army by the NYH. And this changed the academic affiliation from NYU to Cornell. Initially, surgical residents from NYH rotated to NYHQ as had been the case with NYU; but this rotation was eventually terminated due to staffing issues stemming from the reduced work week mandated by NYC and the RRC. We continue to teach the Cornell Weill medical students and this has become their favored rotation. The surgical residency was unaffected by the change in sponsorship. This change in academic affiliation and sponsorship did bring along with it approval from NYS for a Cardiac Surgery Program. This permitted the program to provide our residents with an excellent cardiac surgery rotation on our campus. It also provided the experience need to manage postoperative cardiac surgery patients with both general and vascular surgery emergencies.
The change in sponsorship opened opportunities for residents with regard to the required rotations in Burn, Transplant and Pediatric Surgery. Many of our resident seized upon opportunities for basic science research opportunities at Columbia Presbyterian and New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. This elective basic science or clinical research rotation for lasting 1, 2, and on one occasion, 3 years has been encouraged by the Department of Surgery. The Department provides financial support for the first research year and the research laboratories have generally provided support for the second year. All employee benefits packages are continued by NYHQ in an uninterrupted fashion for the duration of the elective. The research experience has been of enormous benefit to the participating residents. It has proven to be a maturing influence for some, provided tools for critical thinking and problem solving for all, and stressed the importance of evidenced based decision making. For many, their research projects have resulted in numerous peer reviewed publications and presentations at national meetings. This has lead to fellowships at major academic institutions as well as tenure track positions in academic departments of surgery.
In the 1990s NYHQ assumed the management of a local community hospital (Flushing Hospital). This institution had a freestanding surgical residency program with a dwindling caseload. As the case volume at NYHQ was sufficient (in fact it was increasing at a substantial rate) the RRC approved the merging of both programs into the NYHQ program resulting in an increase in categorical positions from 2-4 residents per year. Although the institutional affiliation was eventually dissolved our relationship with the Flushing Hospital GI Service continues and this provides our residents with supplemental GI endoscopy experience.
The Department of Surgery performs all of the emergency surgery for the institution and 20% of the emergency surgery in the borough of Queens.