Units: 2 prerequisites: bisc 220L or bisc 221L; Chem 103 or 105; meds 220; meds 320, or excl 301L academic standing as Junior or Senior, prior approval

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MEDS 440

Introduction to Surgical Principles

FALL or SPRING Wednesdays 2:00pm-3:40pm


PREREQUISITES: BISC 220L or BISC 221L; Chem 103 or 105; MEDS 220; MEDS 320, or EXCL 301L academic standing as Junior or Senior, prior approval
Course Directors:
Maura Sullivan, MSN, PhD

mesulliv@usc.edu 323 442 8040

Peter Crookes, MD

Peter.Crookes@med.usc.edu 323 442 6236

Craig Baker, MD

Craig.Baker@med.usc.edu 323 442 6878

Office Hours:

Dr. Sullivan Tuesday 1-3 or by email

Dr. Baker by email

Dr. Crookes by email

Introduction and Purpose:

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of surgery and how it impacts health care in the community. Students will be introduced to the spectrum of surgical care with the goal of developing an appreciation of the role that surgery plays in society. The interaction between faculty and students is a critical component and students will be exposed to surgeons from multiple surgical specialties. Each session will consist of a short interactive didactic lecture followed by a skill module when applicable. Case-based teaching, small group discussions and independent study will be utilized. At the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the role of surgery in all aspects of health care and an appreciation of how surgical approaches are used to treat disease in the community. In addition, students will have an awareness of the career opportunities that exist within the surgical discipline.

Course Requirements and Grades:

  • Required texts:

There is no required text for this course. Students will be given an instructor prepared syllabus (8-10 pages/lecture) which is a synthesis of the current literature, along with 1-2 articles from the current medical literature and thinking about the topic on the first day of the course. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings. This will be reflected in their class participation grade.

  • Grading Breakdown:

The course grade will be determined by participation in class discussions, preparation (pre-reading) for each session and the two multiple-choice, short essay examinations.
The grading breakdown is as follows:
Class Participation/Preparation 10%

Mid-term multiple choice, short essay examination 40%

Final multiple choice, short essay examination 50%
Grading Scale is as follows:

A = 93- 100 %

A- = 90-92%

B+ = 87-89%

B = 83-86%

B- = 80-82%

C+= 77-79%

C= 73-76%

C- = 70-72%

D+= 67-69%

D= 63-66%

D- = 60-62%

F = below 60%

  • Attendance Policy

Attendance is required. An excused absence may be obtained for illness, personal emergencies or religious holidays by calling the course director before the date of the absence. An unexcused absence will be reflected in the overall course grade.
Class Sessions:





Week 1

Introduction to course
The History of Surgery

Maura Sullivan, PhD

Peter Crookes, MD

Week 2

Ethical Principles of Surgery and Society

Peter Crookes, MD

Week 3

Cardiac Disease and the Role of Surgery

Craig Baker, MD

Week 4

Epidemiology of Trauma

Trauma Faculty

Week 5

Laparoscopic Surgery

Namir Katkhouda, MD

Week 6

Economics of Surgery

Anthony Senegore, MD

Week 7

Surgical Oncology

Stephen Sener, MD


Week 8

Surviving Trauma; The Role of the Surgeon



Week 9

Obesity in Society and the Role of Surgery

Peter Crookes, MD

Week 10

Transplantation/Organ Donation

Transplant Faculty

Week 11

Plastic Surgery

Plastics Faculty

Week 12

Surgical Simulation

Michael Minetti, RCT, BA

Week 13

The Peri-Operative Environment

Craig Baker, MD

Week 14

The Regionalization of Health Care

Maura Sullivan, PhD

Week 15

Course summary and wrap up

Drs. Sullivan Baker and Crookes



Statement for Students with Disabilities

Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me (or to TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.

Statement on Academic Integrity

USC seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. General principles of academic honesty include the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Scampus, the Student Guidebook, contains the Student Conduct Code in Section 11.00, while the recommended sanctions are located in Appendix A: http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/SCAMPUS/gov/. Students will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review, should there be any suspicion of academic dishonesty. The Review process can be found at: http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/SJACS/.

Emergency Preparedness/Course Continuity:

In case of emergency, and travel to campus is difficult, USC executive leadership will announce an electronic way for instructors to teach students in their residence halls or homes using a combination of Blackboard, teleconferencing, and other technologies. Instructors should be prepared to assign students a "Plan B" project that can be completed at a distance. For additional information about maintaining your classes in an emergency please access: http://cst.usc.edu/services/emergencyprep.html

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