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The core conferences are the most important conferences in the surgical residency program and are the basis for the clinical aspect of surgical education. These conferences are held regularly on Fridays, and attendance is mandatory for all residents in the program. The core conferences consist of weekly general surgery morbidity and mortality conferences and bimonthly surgical grand rounds as described below. All core conferences are conducted through the video conferencing system with residents and medical students attending at all four campuses. Residents from the Northeast Campus in Grand Forks attend through the conferencing facilities at the Altru Health System. Residents at the Southeast Campus in Fargo attend through the conferencing facilities at either Sanford Health or the Southeast Campus Office, both located in Fargo. In addition, third- and fourth-year medical students at all of the clinical campuses including Grand Forks, Minot, Fargo and Bismarck attend through video conferencing facilities in these locations.
Morbidity and Mortality Conference
The General Surgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference is held on a weekly basis each Friday morning, 7-8 a.m. This conference is based on the surgical cases that have been done in the week prior to the conference. All cases done during that time period are included on a weekly list. In addition, all complications, mortality or unexpected outcomes are listed separately. These cases are then presented by the responsible resident in a brief and concise fashion. Residents are expected to be familiar with the background, material and surgical rationale leading to the operative intervention as well as any alternative methods of management that could alter the outcome. Each case is then discussed among the attending surgical faculty and resident staff as educational objectives are addressed.
General Surgery Grand Rounds
General Surgical Grand Rounds are held on the first and third Fridays of each month except for the month of July. Topics include new and recent innovations and changes in general surgery as well as comprehensive reviews of pertinent surgical topics.
Surgical Education Conferences
Educational conferences in basic science, professionalism and ethics, and critical care topics are held for one hour immediately after Surgical Morbidity and Mortality each Friday morning. This is a rotating schedule that is pertinent to the residency program. These educational conferences are also mandatory for all residents.
A surgical journal club is held at 7-9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. This conducted through video conference on both the Grand Forks and Fargo campuses. The journal articles are chosen by the moderating resident. Typically a clinical article and a methodological article are discussed.
At 7-8 a.m. on Monday mornings, conferences are held for trauma and critical care. The first Monday of each month is a critical care conference dedicated to pharmacologic management. A clinical pharmacologist from Altru Health System attends to facilitate discussion of pharmacologic therapy in surgical patients, which is conducted through video conference between Grand Forks and Fargo. The third Monday of the month is a critical care conference held at Altru Health System in Grand Forks, and is conducted by Dr. Randolph Szlabick, associate program director and a fellowship-trained critical care specialist. Critical care rounds may be in either a bedside teaching format or a didactic discussion format regarding current and controversial critical care topics. Trauma conference is held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. This is a case presentation conference where residents present interesting trauma cases from the prior two weeks. Second-year residents are responsible for gathering and presenting cases at this conference.
On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, a vascular conference is held 5-6 p.m. This conference is dedicated to vascular cases. The Department vascular surgeons as well as interventional radiology and vascular medicine physicians attend. The conference is based either on case presentations or didactic discussions. This is only done at Altru Health System in Grand Forks.