Vanderbilt University’s Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care fellowship programs are designed to train leaders in academic Surgical Critical Care, Acute Care Surgery and Burns through an intensive clinical, educational, administrative, and research experience. The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care directs the clinical programs in Surgical Critical Care, Trauma, Emergency General Surgery, and Burns and offers three distinct fellowship training tracks:

  1. Surgical Critical Care Fellowship: Single year experience for those with academic and clinical interests outside of acute care surgery.
  2. Acute Care Surgery Fellowship: A program requiring a 2-year commitment that combines an ACGME-accredited Surgical Critical Care year followed by a year dedicated to advanced experience in trauma, emergency general surgery, burns, and surgery in the vascular and thoracic disciplines.
  3. Acute Care Surgery with Burn Fellowship: A program requiring a 2-year commitment that combines an ACGME-accredited Surgical Critical Care year followed by a year with 6 months dedicated to the treatment of burns and 6 months of combined trauma, emergency general surgery, reconstructive and thoracic surgery.

Four fellows matriculate annually into the fellowship programs and are immersed in the management of critically ill surgery, trauma, emergency general surgery, and burn patients. Directed efforts are devoted to the development of specific areas of interest for each fellow during their two year program and to expand their research, educational, and administrative skill sets.
Qualified applicants should meet the following prerequisites:

  • Completion of an ACGME-accredited General Surgery residency program
  • Board eligibility or certification by the American Board of Surgery
  • Established ability as a teacher of medical students and residents.

Application Process:

Applicants for the fellowship will now utilize the online SAFAS (Surgical critical care and Acute care surgery Fellowship Application Service) application process. The complete application file will then be reviewed for the interview process. Applications must be submitted within deadlines listed on SAFAS. Please indicate your desire to complete only the 1 year Surgical Critical Care (SCC) OR the 2 year Acute Care Surgery (ACS) or ACS with Burn fellowship track on the SAFAS application indicating 1 or 2-year fellowship. Communication of the desire for Burn fellowship track should also occur via email:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a comprehensive health care facility (x beds) dedicated to patient care, research, and the education of health care professionals. Its reputation for excellence in each of these areas has made Vanderbilt a major patient referral center for the Mid-South as well as a prime example featured on The Learning Channel's Trauma: Life in the ER, Maternity Ward, and Resident Life. A Vanderbilt medical education has long been held in high esteem among its peer institutions, and the number one reason given by medical students for choosing Vanderbilt continues to be the collegial atmosphere between faculty and students and the close personal attention that students receive.


The Level I regional trauma center provides service for 80,000 square miles in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, averaging ~ 4,000 patient admissions per year with a case mix of 80% blunt trauma and 20% penetrating trauma. The trauma unit consists of a 31-bed integrated acute and sub-acute care unit, which contains a 14-bed Trauma ICU, a 7-bed acute trauma admission area, and a 10-bed subacute trauma unit. Fellows direct care in the Trauma ICU during their 1st year as well as direct the resuscitation, stabilization, and operative management during their on-call experience. Second year fellows function as supervised junior faculty while on the Trauma service.

Surgical Intensive Care

A 22-bed SICU provides surgical critical care for approximately 1,400 patients a year from general, emergency general surgery, transplants, thoracic, vascular, and subspecialty surgical services. All critically ill patients are managed by the Surgical Critical Care Service in conjunction with the primary team. Fellows are an integral part of the multidisciplinary surgical critical care service that provides management for all critically ill patients in the unit.

Emergency General Surgery

The Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care runs the Emergency General Surgery service, which serves roughly 2,000 patients each year. The EGS service provides timely surgical assessment and operative management of patients with diverse acute general surgical problems, concentrating the care of the patient into one service with dedicated faculty. Between 20 and 40% of this population requires ICU management and many require staged or repeated operative interventions. The EGS service allows fellows to gain considerable expertise in surgical infections, complications of acute surgical disease, and complex surgical management.


Our regional burn center provides specialized care for greater than 600 burn admissions, roughly 3,500 out-patient visits and comprehensive adult and pediatric burn care. The burn team is a multidisciplinary group of physicians, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, and social workers. The Critical Care Fellow rotation features educational opportunities in child and adult airway management, fluid resuscitation of the major burn victim, high-frequency percussive ventilation, wound management, surgical infectious diseases, nutrition, and catabolism. Additional training in surgical management and certification in the use of skin substitutes is available.

Elective Experience

The program provides the opportunity for fellows to gain unique expertise in specialty areas through elective rotations—including neurological, pediatric, medical intensive care, and research, among others.

Specific Advanced Training

During the fellow’s two-year program, additional didactic clinical education is provided through several weekly conferences including two specifically for the fellows: the Critical Care Fellows' Conference and the Fellows' Acute Care Surgery Operative Conference. Fellows participate in a variety of curricula, courses and seminars as outlined below. Fellows may attain the appropriate credentials to become course directors of these educational endeavors if desired.

  • ATLS instructor/course director
  • ATOM (advanced trauma operative management) instructor
  • FCCS (fundamentals in critical care support) instructor
  • Critical Care and Trauma Ultrasound/ECHO
  • Bedside placement of IVC filters

Fellows are closely mentored by the program director during their training and encouraged to define and develop areas of interest that will enable clinical, research, educational, and administrative skills to be concentrated into a particular niche for long-term academic growth and success. Numerous opportunities are available. Some are described below.


The division has a very active program in clinical and basic research. Ongoing NIH-funded clinical research provides access to research opportunities for fellows. The Division also participates in numerous multi-center clinical trials in the areas of trauma, critical care, burns, and surgical infectious diseases. The Division currently employs four dedicated study coordinators to support clinical research. The Division maintains a Surgical Critical Care database and an extensive trauma registry.

MPH/MSCI Programs

Opportunities are available for fellows who wish to obtain masters level education in either the Vanderbilt University Masters of Public Health or Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation. Each of these programs is both outstanding and competitive and mandates considerable commitment from those participating.

Surgical Infectious Diseases

Educational programs and clinical research initiatives are provided in the area of surgical infectious diseases offering unique research opportunities for Critical Care Fellows. A number of faculty have a particular interest and expertise in research in surgical infectious disease. A large database of nosocomial infections exists to support research endeavors.

Pre-hospital Flight Program

Life Flight—the critical care air medical transport service with four helicopters, a fixed-wing aircraft, and specialized neonatal critical care ambulances—serves a 250-nautical mile radius in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and Northern Alabama. Providing the highest level of care available in the region, over 2,000 flights annually serve critically ill and injured patients and children. Educational and administrative responsibilities are open to second-year fellows.

Two Year Burn and Acute Care Surgical Fellowship

 As of June 2014, this is the ONLY 2 year fellowship in the United States offering:

An American Board of Surgery Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgical Critical Care


A Certificate of Added Qualifications in Burn Surgery


An AAST certificate of added qualifications in Acute Care Surgery

This fellowship is designed to provide a combined integrated experience of burns, surgical critical care, trauma, and emergency general surgery, resulting in a unique and highly sought after skill set. In addition to a robust burn surgical, outpatient and reconstructive experience, the fellow will perform open, laparoscopic, thoracoscopic and abdominal surgery throughout the fellowship. The fellow will expand upon the operative foundation built in residency and achieve the highest level of training in burn surgery as well as trauma and emergency general surgery.  Within these 2 years of training, fellowship in Surgical Critical Care will be completed.  There is a strong focus on professional development, research interests and leadership skills over the 2 years. Depending upon career goals, the fellow will emerge with a high level of proficiency to satisfy any career goal within the realm of the true Acute Care Surgeon.


Two Year Burn Fellowship and Surgical Critical Care

A Certificate of Added Qualifications in Burn Surgery


An American Board of Surgery Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgical Critical Care


One Year Burn Fellowship

A Certificate of Added Qualifications in Burn Surgery


The goal of the Burn fellowship is to train surgeons and leaders in the care of patients with severe thermal and other etiologies of burn injuries. This includes an understanding of the operative management of critically ill patients requiring intensive care, outpatient, long term sequelae and reconstructive management of the burn patient.  There is a strong focus on professional development, research interests and leadership skills developed over the 2 years. Depending upon career goals, the fellow will emerge with a high level of proficiency to satisfy any career goal within the realm of the Burn Surgeon.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION on the Burn and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship 


First Year Fellows are evaluated based on the ACGME Milestones

See Samples of Second Year Fellow Performance and Overall Program and Faculty Evaluations here