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Chair's Message

Douglas S. Tyler, MD


The Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) has a rich history as the first Department of Surgery in Texas. Since 1891, the Institution and Department have been a fertile ground for developing academic surgical leaders. Educating and training surgeons of the future continues to be the core focus of the Department. In doing so, we strive for scientific excellence and novel investigation to advance the science of surgery.

The Department of Surgery has a strong history of NIH-funded programs highlighting the quality of work being performed by members of our faculty. We currently have two NIH-funded T32 training grants designed to provide surgical trainees with a protected opportunity to be exposed to research experience during their training. 

Our research efforts also focus on surgical education where we have an American College of Surgeons Accredited simulation center called the Sealy & Smith Laboratory for Surgical Training, Assessment & Research or LSTAR. This facility has allowed us to expand our academic focus on optimizing learning experiences for surgical trainees and faculty. We have also created a two-year American College of Surgeons accredited educational fellowship for trainees to optimize their focus on education as a science that functions out of the LSTAR. 

The Department of Surgery is also rapidly expanding in one of the largest and most exciting growth phases in its 133-year history. Since my arrival at the end of 2014, UTMB has grown from a single hospital on the island of Galveston to a key player in the Texas Medical Center with a 3 billion dollar budget, and a 4 hospital health care system covering the southern Houston market. Our facilities include: a 437-bed new state-of-the-art tertiary care facility on Galveston Island, a new hospital in Clear Lake (approximately 250 beds), a growing League City hospital complex (approximately 150 beds), and a fourth facility in the Angleton-Danbury area. 

We have added over 80 new faculty to expand programs in: 

  • Cardiovascular & thoracic surgery 
  • Transplantation 
  • Pediatric surgery 
  • Minimally invasive surgery 
  • Surgical oncology 
  • Colorectal surgery 
  • Vascular surgery 
  • Acute care 
  • Trauma 
  • Urology 
  • Plastic surgery 
  • Surgical simulation 

Our growth and quality have allowed us to expand several of our educational programs including the Integrated Plastic Surgery training program to 4 categorical positions, the Urology training program to 2 categorical positions, the Integrated Vascular Surgery training program to 2 categorical positions, and General Surgery residency to 7 categorical positions per year. We have also added an ACGME approved Cardiac Surgery training program, an ACGME approved Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, and a Society of Surgical Oncology approved Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship.

I am enthusiastic about our faculty, and excited about the institutional commitment to surgery. With the combination of new faculty and facilities, we plan to perform approximately 14,000 cases this year. Our organization has been recognized as a top ten hospital for quality in 3 of the last 6 years by the Vizient rankings of academic medical centers. With a new footprint, we are committed to providing state of the art clinical care and novel research experiences that will provide fertile ground for our seven ACGME approved residency programs focused on training our surgeons of the future.

I want to sincerely convey my personal commitment to helping trainees realize their goals and achieve the opportunities they choose in the field of surgery. We welcome your interest in the surgical training programs at the University of Texas Medical Branch. 




Douglas S. Tyler, MD, MSHCT
John Woods Harris Distinguished Chair in Surgery
Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery
University of Texas Medical Branch, John Sealy School of Medicine