General Surgery Residency Program Overview

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

About Cottage Health

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is the largest private teaching hospital on the California coast between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Cottage Health has one of the longest running surgical training programs in the western United States. Founded in 1921, Cottage’s Surgical Residency Program has been fully approved since 1944, shortly after the founding of the American Board of Surgery. 

Cottage is a tertiary referral center and Level 1 trauma center with the largest geographic catchment area in California. Approximately 14,000 operations are performed annually in the main operating rooms and 4,500 are performed in outpatient surgical centers. Cottage is noted for its outstanding patient care, superb support services, state-of-the-art technology, and excellent teaching environment. 

In addition to providing care at the Cottage inpatient and outpatient facilities, the surgical residents also run their own weekly county surgery clinic. Staffed with the program director, the residents evaluate and treat a diverse underserved population of patients with a wide spectrum of surgical disease. While providing a much needed service for this underrepresented population, the clinic also provides great continuity of resident care. 

Outside Rotations


Cottage residents spend one month during the 2nd year at Cedar-Sinai rotating on the transplant service. Residents work closely alongside attending surgeons and fellows and are exposed to both liver and kidney transplant cases. This is a highly valuable experience and a well-like rotation by the Cottage residents.  

University of Southern California-Los Angeles County (USC-LA) 

Surgical residents spend two months during the 3rd year on the USC-LA trauma service. While Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is a level 1 trauma center, the USC-LA experience offers residents diverse exposure at one of the nation’s busiest trauma centers and ensures residents graduate with plenty of blunt and penetrating trauma experience. 

Resident Rotations

Year One (R1)

Year One (R1)

The entire first year of training is based at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH). Emphasis is placed on pre- and post-operative care and the performance of operative procedures. R1 residents rotate through the general surgical services, and later in the year are exposed to surgical critical care. R1 residents gain substantial operative experience with most R1 residents completing approximately 250 cases by the end of the year.

Year Two (R2)

Year Two (R2)

Second-year residents are assigned to the general surgical and specialty services, with an emphasis on the Trauma/ICU experience. Second year residents spend two months in the surgical ICU, where they work one-on-one with the surgical intensivist. Emphasis is placed on increasing operative experience and caring for more critically ill and injured patients. One month is spent at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in transplantation.  

Year Three (R3)

Year Three (R3)

Third-year residents spend 10 months at Cottage, concentrating on general surgery, trauma, and surgical critical care, with increasing operative experience in more complex cases. Two months are spent at USC-LA on the trauma service.  

Year Four (R4)

Year Four (R4)

The fourth year is spent on the general surgical and specialty services at Cottage. Emphasis is on technical and cognitive proficiency and increasingly independent patient and operating responsibility. R4 residents have one elective month that may be done at Cottage or, if they choose, another institution. 

Year Five (R5)

Year Five (R5)

The entire fifth year of training is based at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH). The R5, or Chief Residency year, is one of great responsibility. Chief residents assume overall clinical responsibility for pre-, intra-, and post-operative care in the surgical services at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. With two elective months, there is ample opportunity to individualize your final year of general surgery training. Chief residents also have major administrative and teaching roles, in collaboration with the Program Director. Leadership skills are also emphasized. 


Resident education/conferences occur every Wednesday from 7:00am to 10:00am and Friday 7:30am to 9:00am. Below is an outline of a typical schedule. 


    0700-0800 -- Morbidity & Mortality Conference

    0800-0900 -- Surgical Grand Rounds 

    • First Wednesday of the month: Tumor Board - a multidisciplinary conference involving Surgery, Radiology, and Pathology. The assigned residents will present a case and discussion. 
    • Last Wednesday of the month: GI Conference - an up-to-date evidence-based lecture on a topic involving the gastrointestinal system. The assigned residents will present a case and discussion.

    0900-1000 -- Educational Lecture 

    • Lectures are given by surgical attendings, guest physicians and residents.


    0730-0900 -- Resident Run Basic Science Conference - protected resident teaching time, with an emphasis on high-yield general surgery board topics. Conference is led by the residents with attending participation. 


    • Cottage Health residents have 24hr access to a skills labs where they are able to practice their technical skills as well as become facile with the FLS and FES simulation trainers 
    • Robotic curriculum, led by Dr. Lexine Yurcho, is fully integrated into the resident education experience with OR skills labs and hands on training. Residents are able to graduate with a certificate in robotic surgery training. 
    • PGY-2 residents have a dedicated simulation month to hone in and practice these skills. 

    Contact Us

    Cottage Health logo

    General Surgery Residency Program

    400 W. Pueblo St.
    Santa Barbara, CA 93105

    Program Coordinator
    Veronica Campuzano