Keesler Air Force Base is home to Keesler Medical Center, a busy 60 bed hospital that cares for active duty service members and their families, retired service members and VA patients, located in beautiful Biloxi, MS, right on the scenic Gulf Coast.
The General Surgery Residency is a 5-year program that provides extensive training in all avenues of General Surgery with emphasis on endoscopy, Critical Care and Trauma surgery, Minimally Invasive/Bariatric surgery, Vascular surgery, and Colorectal surgery. With progressive autonomy and responsibility, we prepare active duty Air Force General Surgery residents to excel in their military careers and beyond.
Additional training in surgical subspecialties to include Burn Center, Plastic Surgery, Transplant surgery, Cardiothoracic surgery are available throughout the residency. Our program has training affiliations with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center-Joint Base San Antonio, Sacred Heart Hospital-Pensacola, 96th Medical Group-Eglin Air Force Base, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center-Germany.
Located in Biloxi Mississippi, Keesler Medical Center is within Keesler Air Force Base and home to the 81st Medical Group. The 81st Medical Group’s mission is to maintain medical readiness for worldwide contingencies by providing quality, cost-effective health care for more than 27,000 enrollees, including almost 7,500 active duty members. In addition, the 81st MDG provide oversight for the Gulf Coast Multi-Service Market, which includes five military treatment facilities from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana coordinating care for 80,000 beneficiaries along the Gulf Coast.
Keesler Medical Center is a 60 bed facility with a 24hr physician staffed emergency department and 10 mixed bed ICU. Surgical capabilities include 5 conventional ORs including a Siemens Artis Zeego Hybrid Suite, da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgical System with dual console in addition to two endoscopy suites. A full range of medical and surgical subspecialists are stationed on base including gastroenterology, cardiology, infectious disease, pulmonology/critical care, interventional radiology, otolaryngology, urology, vascular and colorectal surgery.
The Keesler general surgery residency program is approved for 20 surgical residents and 4 preliminary intern positions. Although most graduates continue onto a career in general surgery, Keesler has a 100% 5 year fellowship match rate into the fields of vascular, colorectal and cardiothoracic surgery.
Keesler is one of four core sites which comprise the majority of your rotations during your residency. The other three include Sacred Heart, Biloxi VA and Eglin AFB.
Sacred Heart Hospital (Pensacola, FL) is a 566 bed Level II facility. Serving the greater Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast, Sacred has the acuity and volume of a Level I facility. The acute care surgical experience obtained while rotating here is second to none.
The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (AKA the Biloxi VA) is conveniently located down the road from Keesler Air Force Base, allowing residents on rotation to participate in weekly Wednesday morning conference. Experience a wide variety of pathology in the fields of vascular, general and colorectal surgery while giving back to our local veterans.
Eglin Air Force Base (Fort Walton Beach, FL) is located just minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches in America. While on rotation in this 56 bed facility, expect to stay busy as Eglin has one of the largest outpatient workloads in the USAF while still supporting a 24hr ER and inpatient capabilities.
Additional facilities you will rotate through:
University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson, MS)San Antonio Military Medical Center (San Antonio, TX)University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Didactics at Keesler are highly structured and bolstered with enthusiastic attending staff dedicated to furthering your surgical education. Our model is based on the SCORE Portal curriculum, which gives you access to chapters from 12 leading surgical textbooks, 2000+ multiple-choice questions for self assessment, and This Week in Score (TWIS), which allows us to cover general surgery topics over a two year cycle.
Weekly Conferences held at Keesler-Wednesday morning: protected education consisting of basic science and clinical topics, pre- and post-operative case discussion, staff lectures, morbidity and mortality, interesting case presentations and senior resident grand rounds.-Friday morning: attending table rounds provide opportunities for informal teaching with current inpatients. Also look forward to monthly journal club and evidence based medicine lectures on recent topics of interest.
PGY1-Biloxi VA-Orthopedics (Keesler)-Urology (Keesler)-Otolaryngology (Keesler)-Anesthesia (Keesler)-General Surgery (Keesler and Eglin)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery (Sacred; categorical interns only)
PGY2-Transplant (UT San Antonio)-Burn (SAMMC)-Surgical ICU (UMMC)-Biloxi VA-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery (Sacred)-Pediatric Surgery (UMMC)-Cardiothoracic Surgery (UMMC)
PGY3-General Surgery (Keesler and Eglin)-Vascular Surgery (Keesler)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery (Sacred)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery Night Float (Sacred)-Transplant (UMMC)
PGY4-Vascular Surgery (Keesler)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery (Sacred)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery Night Float (Sacred)-General Surgery (Eglin and Landstuhl)-Colorectal Surgery (Keesler)
PGY5-Biloxi VA-General Surgery (Keesler and Eglin)-Trauma/Acute Care Surgery (Sacred)
Research and Simulation
Keesler Medical Center offers ample opportunities for research built into your five years. The Clinical Research Laboratory (CRL) is located next to the hospital and available throughout your residency. The CRL is staffed by a veterinarian for assistance with porcine studies, statistician and additional support staff.
Recently, the CRL established the Institute for Defense Robotic Surgical Education (InDoRSE) for surgeons to train and obtain their official robotic surgery credentials. This is a one of a kind program within the Department of Defense
Keesler has an established curriculum for Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) and Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES). Once a month, residents participate in a day of virtual training either in our laparoscopic/endoscopic sim lab or the operating room with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.
Additional training opportunities occur throughout the year at the CRL porcine lab with live animal models covering a multitude of clinical scenarios in trauma, minimally invasive, robotic and open surgery. These are resident led with attending staff oversight allowing for autonomy with expert assistance available as needed.
During your fourth and fifth years of residency, you will participate in quarterly mock oral board sessions. Residents receive 12 clinical scenarios administered by 6 board certified surgical staff recreating the real life ABS Certifying Board experience. This is an invaluable resource for residents which helps our graduates exceed the national average for board pass rates.
Col Robert Cromer, MD
General/Minimally Invasive Surgery
Assistant Program Director:
LtCol Jennifer Sexton, MD