Message From the Director

Burt Cagir, MDGuthrie Robert Packer Hospital has a long tradition of surgical education. Dr. Donald Guthrie, Guthrie’s founder, was one of the 13 original members of the American Board of Surgery in 1937 and Guthrie’s surgical residency program was established in 1959, a month after his death. We take great pride in our history, and in the expertise of our faculty, and this translates in a firm commitment toward the education of future surgeons. 

Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital is a rural, tertiary care center with full spectrum of surgical pathology and problems, giving residents broad exposure to complex and diverse cases. Teaching residents is the highest priority for our surgical faculty; and because we are a small community, our faculty is able to maintain a close professional and personal relationship with each resident. The physical proximity of faculty offices to the clinical areas and operating rooms allows residents to become involved early on in their patients’ cases and to maintain continuity of care throughout the recovery period. Our residents get hands-on operating room experience from their first year, and have the opportunity to assist in a wide range of procedures and cases. 

Residents receive solid training in all traditional areas of general, vascular, oncologic, hepatobiliary, acute care surgery and trauma, while mastering new techniques such as advanced laparoscopic surgery, endovascular surgery and surgical ultrasound. Residents are also involved in a wide variety of subspecialty cases in thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, urology and otolaryngology. Guthrie also has a teaching affiliation agreement with the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger Healthcare System in Danville, Pa. This affiliation allows our second and third year residents to complete a transplant rotation and pediatric surgery rotation at Geisinger. 

Our program follows the Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE) Curriculum. The curriculum is used to guide our weekly didactic activity which occurs on Fridays from 0800-1200 and is 100% protected teaching time. While our program follows the SCORE Curriculum, it is flexible enough to foster the individual strengths of our residents. The Donald Guthrie Foundation, our research institute, is located right on the campus, offering support for residents who wish to pursue clinical research. We are also affiliated with the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University for those with interest in basic science research. In addition, residents may select rotations at other medical centers to pursue special interests.

Guthrie offers our residents a unique combination of medical technology, professional expertise, large case volume and individual attention.  Clinical experience at Guthrie is considerably more extensive that in most general surgery training programs.  We are proud that the depth, as well as breadth, of experience are the hallmarks of a Guthrie-trained surgeon. 

Burt Cagir, MD
Program Director
General Surgery Residency