General Surgery


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH), part of the not-for-profit Cottage Health System, was founded in 1888, and has grown to be the largest hospital on the central coast of California. SBCH has one of the oldest surgical training programs in the western United States; the surgical residency program was instituted in 1921, and has been fully approved since 1944, shortly after the founding of the American Board of Surgery. The residency is a five-year program, approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, The American Board of Surgery, and the American College of Surgeons through the Residency Review Committee.


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is a 465-bed community hospital. The comprehensive surgical teaching program at SBCH is structured to provide progressive surgical education as well as clinical and research experience. The general surgery residents are able to acquire a variety of experiences and procedures covering the broad base of general surgery. General Surgery encompasses vascular, oncologic, gastrointestinal, thoracic, endocrine, pediatric, and colorectal surgery, and trauma and surgical critical care. Training and experience are also provided in plastic, urologic, gynecologic, orthopedic, and neurologic surgery. The residency program provides a balance between patient-oriented activity in the clinics, on the ward, in the operating room, and in the intensive care unit.


The categorical surgical residency is a five-year program. The program matches for three categorical general surgical residents per year.


For many years the residency was a joint program with the Santa Barbara County General Hospital. There is no longer a county hospital, but Cottage maintains a close affiliation with the County Department of Public Health, which operates a network of clinics. The surgery and surgical specialty clinics are staffed by residents from the program, with the supervision of attending physicians. All County patients requiring hospitalization are admitted to SBCH, providing continuity of resident care. In addition, a large number of private surgical patients are an integral part of the surgical teaching program. Affiliated hospitals also play an important role in the surgical residency, including Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center (trauma), and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (transplantation).


The surgical attending staff at SBCH represent a wide diversity of backgrounds, providing a rich variety of training experience for the residents. Because of the small size of the program, an unusually close relationship exists between the house staff and the attending surgeons. Director Dr. Jeffrey Gauvin joined the faculty in June 2011; Associate Program Director Dr. David Thoman joined in 2004.