Welcome from the Program Director

Photo of Dr. John Fey, MD
John D. Fey, MD
Program Director,
General Surgery

I'd like to tell you a little bit about our residency program, SUNY Upstate Medical University, the Department of Surgery and Central New York.

Upstate Medical University is part of the much larger SUNY system; we are the only level I trauma center in central New York. We provide all General Surgery training experiences within the city of Syracuse; it is not necessary for any resident to rotate away from their home or family. Opportunities do exist however, for senior residents who elect rotations elsewhere. Our program has the great advantage of utilizing each of the five hospitals in Syracuse: Upstate Medical University Hospital, Syracuse Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center, Crouse Hospital, St. Joseph's Medical Center, and Upstate University Hospital at Community Campus. Each venue offers the resident a different experience including private practice in general surgery, colorectal surgery and vascular surgery. Upstate offers the tertiary care perspective and the VA offers the advantage of a resident led team approach to a wide variety of general, thoracic and vascular patients.

We are a growing department. Dr. Cooney, our Chair, has been here three years and has been very successful recruiting new faculty. Newer faculty include two thoracic surgeons, a revitalized Department of Pediatric Surgery, a new Burns/Trauma Surgeon, and a new advanced laparoscopic/bariatric surgeon. Recruitment is ongoing for additional Surgical Oncologists, Transplant Surgeons, and Plastic Surgeons. Community Campus is a rapidly expanding venue for the Department of Surgery. Currently the Bariatric program is expanding there as is Breast and Endocrine Surgery. New Acute Care Surgeons have also been added to help cover there. Construction on the new Cancer Center is well underway; this will open in a year or so which will afford you many new state of the art learning opportunities.

The Department of Surgery is large enough to have expertise in nearly all surgical disciplines. However, it is not so large that you become just another body. We as faculty are acutely aware and concerned about each resident. We get to know you personally as well as professionally. It is our mission to help each of you attain your goals and be as good as you can possibly be. In this regard, we have an excellent track record in getting our graduates into the fellowships and jobs they want. We have a long list of highly successful graduates - both in academia as well as private practice.

Lastly, I'd like to say a word about our community. I was born and brought up in central New York so I am a highly biased observer. Having said that, I have no desire to live elsewhere. CNY is a great place to live. Housing is very affordable and very convenient. Many residents own their own homes within easy commuting distance, some even within walking distance! With mortgage rates at an all time low you have a great opportunity to own your own home. I personally live in a very nice suburban neighborhood only 5 miles away; I often ride my bike to work via back roads and it's a nice 7 mile ride.

For those of you with families, CNY is very family friendly. Local school districts are excellent. Socially, CNY is not Manhattan or San Francisco. However, we aren't North Podunk either. There is an excellent music scene with plans to rebuild a high quality symphony orchestra. There is a high quality stage company that is very active. There is a very visible (and audible) blues scene, and other entertainment. Syracuse University and LeMoyne College do attract a variety of rock bands, etc. The nearby Turning Stone Casino and Resort have almost weekly national headline acts. Sporting events are readily available as well. We have professional baseball and hockey teams in town. Syracuse University has a very competitive D1 men's basketball (National Champs in 2003), lacrosse (10 time National Champs), and a work in progress but very optimistic football team.

For the outdoor enthusiast (my personal area of interest and knowledge) CNY is a vastly underrated and unappreciated resource. There are three decent ski areas within a 30 minute drive of the medical center. They all have good snow making so even during thaws there is ample opportunity to ski. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing are readily available; Tug Hill, a geographical area to our north gets snow measured in feet, not inches! CNY is a cyclist's and runner's paradise; there are hundreds of miles of good country roads with decent shoulders right out your door. For the more adventuresome, mountain biking is well practiced here as well. Hunters can enjoy plentiful deer and small game in the immediate vicinity. Trout fishing is also plentiful and Oneida Lake hosts a national bass fishing tournament yearly. Boating is readily enjoyed on nearby Oneida, Cazenovia, or Skaneateles lakes. Lake Ontario can be reached in little more than an hour as can the St. Lawrence Seaway. There is an amazing amount of remote hiking on maintained trails a short distance away. For the serious hiker, canoeist/kayaker, rock or ice climber, wilderness photographer, etc., the Adirondack Mountains are within an easy morning's drive. Lake Placid is the site of an international competition ski resort complete with ski jumping, luge, and bobsledding facilities. It is only 3 hours away. Similarly, many of the big resorts in Vermont including Killington are only about 4 hours away. Triathletes in CNY are numerous and have many opportunities to compete; this includes a sanctioned Ironman competition. For those who want to enjoy the outdoors in a more sedate fashion, the fingerlakes region is a wonderful area to explore. It is full of wineries, art and craft galleries, parks and has innumerable scenic destinations. Cooperstown, complete with the Baseball Hall of Fame, Farmer's Museum, and James Fennimore Cooper house is just a little over an hour away.

Finally, for those of you who just have to have a big city fix, the Big Apple is only a 4-5 hour drive. Boston is about 5 hours and even Montreal, a truly international city is about 5-6 hours; Toronto is even closer.

So, I am certain you can find both professional and personal satisfaction here with us at the SUNY Upstate Medical University Department of Surgery. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

John Fey, MD, FACS
General Surgery Residency Program Director