This Is What We Stand For

Patient Care

For over 150 years, the University of Michigan Department of Surgery has stood as the standard of excellence in surgical care locally and nationally. With ongoing changes in health care economics and patient demographics, Michigan Medicine has evolved from the sole tertiary referral center in the state to a regional health system competing with other large medical centers.

We believe that future success depends on our ability to develop new approaches to delivering care across this regional network. We stand for innovation in delivery of care, including research that develops novel techniques, processes of care, and technology development. We stand for continuous learning from our experience with ongoing quality improvement, performed in a collaborative manner that elevates the performance of our faculty, trainees, and the entire surgical community.

To achieve this, we identify the following priorities: expanding our capacity at the main campus to provide care for patients with complex clinical problems; expanding our capacity at offsite facilities and partner hospitals to provide the highest quality care for routine or less complex clinical problems; prioritizing patient experience, particularly in the ambulatory care setting, in a manner that improves accessibility to and satisfaction with clinical care; investing in and developing pathways for promotion, success, and personal fulfillment for the variety of faculty types that will be necessary to achieve high quality care across our growing regional network.


The unifying goal of all training programs in the Department of Surgery is to create the next generation of academic surgical leaders. We aspire that University of Michigan surgical training will become the signature of American surgical leadership.

To accomplish this, our aims are to: develop outstanding technical skills and mature clinical judgment by a deliberate focus on the development of autonomy; provide the opportunity, training, and mentorship to launch an academic career grounded in substantive research contributions; develop residents as leaders of health care teams; use preparation, opportunity, and feedback to develop outstanding educators of all learners (including peers, patients, and self) over the arc of their career; promote a culture of constant quality improvement for health care systems; encourage work/life balance, personal insight, and wellness to sustain a career in surgery.

We are committed to a new paradigm of competency-based training. We believe in expanding the assessment of competency and autonomy such that individualized training and progression is achievable. Strong and intentional mentorship from senior faculty member to junior faculty member, and faculty member to resident and student will always be recognized as the utmost importance in educating the next generation of academic leaders in surgery. The current efforts of the Department in this realm are strong and must continue in perpetuity.

Scientific Inquiry

The Department of Surgery stands for excellence in scientific inquiry, as attested by its national and international prominence in a number of scientific disciplines and by its NIH ranking of 1st in the nation. We believe that inquiry is a core value of our department. It is built into everything we do. It is an inviolate tenet that all faculty are committed to inquiry as a central mission of this department. It is expected that all faculty will be intellectually curious and engage in academic inquiry to solve challenges and systematically advance care.

We are committed to scientific inquiry in all its domains (e.g. Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research, Health Service Research, Clinical Collaboratives, and Education Research). We believe in supporting and intentionally developing young investigators, and the department has developed an investment strategy to support inquiry, prioritizing support for early and mid-career investigators. We strive to provide a structured and transparent mentoring program and leadership development for all faculty.

We believe in the seamless integration of PhD scientists into the department. We recognize their critical role as force multipliers, mentors, and collaborators in advancing our understanding of diseases/processes related to surgical disciplines. Creating time for inquiry is essential for any effective effort and structuring approaches to support this are a top priority for the department. We support and value team science. These efforts integrate many disciplines, and span sections, departments, schools and external organizations.

Professional Development

We have a singular focus on faculty professional development we call “The Michigan Promise”. This is a promise from the department that we will provide a culture focused relentlessly on deliberately developing faculty. This promise is backed up by a series of faculty development opportunities offered at different levels of a faculty member’s career.

We stand for the intentional development of young faculty. To achieve this, we provide launch teams; an early career Leadership Development Program; and an early career visiting professor program with partner institutions. We stand for leadership development of mid-career and senior faculty. To achieve this, we provide a unique Leadership Development Program; an Innovation Development Program with an Innovation Prize; an opportunity for a directed 2-month sabbatical to develop new skills; and Leadership Masters Classes.

These professional development programs, The Michigan Promise, are responsive to each faculty member’s needs, and include support, mentorship, and sponsorship throughout an academic career. Our programs are dynamic, and incorporate innovative strategies from other disciplines tailored to the demands of academic surgery. Through these efforts, our faculty are well equipped and positioned to become leaders locally, nationally, and internationally.


We stand for diversity, equity and inclusion and have made this an explicit part of The Michigan Promise. We collectively believe in the power diversity—that combining different perspectives and integrating diverse cognitive repertoires is key to our future success. To achieve this, we have created a committee tasked with overseeing all faculty recruitment. Members are trained in implicit bias awareness and were chosen to represent the diversity in our department. Candidate pools are enriched for diversity by outreach and interview processes and questions are standardized. We believe in an open and welcoming environment in which everyone is provided the opportunity to advance and lead. To achieve this, we have implemented implicit bias training and engaged heavily in consciousness raising within our department. We ensure that individual barriers are addressed and eliminated, and that all individuals are empowered to reach their highest potential. In doing so, we strive to set the standard for diversity and inclusion in American Surgery.