Message from the Program Director and Chair of Academic Surgery

Gazi B. Zibari, MDWelcome to the Department of Surgery and to the General Surgery Residency Training Program at the Willis-Knighton Health System (WKHS). We appreciate your interest and hope that you will explore the outstanding and comprehensive general surgery residency training program that we have to offer.

Our mission is to train talented & diverse surgeons who will transform our profession to benefit the lives of patients through compassionate, evidence-based, high quality and comprehensive surgical care in the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas regions. We strive to achieve excellence in education, research and quality patient care while minimizing waste. 

We have structured and established a very robust, didactic program to meet the required and specific needs of our diverse surgical house staff. Also, we provide very early surgical simulation in minimal invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery that will prepare our house staff to practice surgery of the future. Because a thoughtful surgeon requires a clear understanding of evidence-based medicine, we incorporate research to be an integral part of the training.  Thus, surgical residents are expected to do research and publish their scientific work annually. Costs of travel, hotels, and incidentals to present their work at national meetings will be covered by the support system of WKHS.

A major advantage at our training program is the lack of fellowships; hence, our residents will not have to compete with fellows for complex cases. We do more than a sufficient amount of complex cases for cardiovascular, endocrine, oncology, hepato-pancreato-biliary, transplant and pediatric surgery. Our institution has the state of the art innovation center to further enhance your surgical skills.  Additionally, a brand new headquarter has been built for surgical house staff, not to mention a $15 million new education center. Finally, our faculty are actively engaged with medical outreach and capacity building abroad, thus providing our house staff the opportunity to travel abroad for medical outreach trips.

Albeit, our residency program is new, rest assure that the surgical leadership and faculty are highly seasoned academician surgeons with ample experience under their belts. They are well published and have played major leadership roles at national and international levels. Additionally, residents and medical students from other institutions have rotated through our healthcare  system for decades. Most importantly, we have a highly committed institutional leadership and abundant resources invested in the office of Graduate Medical Education, clinical departments, as well as for research, technology and simulations. 

We do recognize that individuals choose general surgical training for different reasons and may have different ambitions. Our team strives to fulfill each resident’s interest and goals, while at the same time, adhering to the requirements of ACGME. You will become an excellent general surgeon and, if you wish to pursue an academic career and/or pursue a fellowship, we have faculty who stand ready to assist you in such a pursuit.

In summary, our goal is to provide you with the necessary experience and tools so that you will be competitive as you practice your life-long evidence-based surgical skills.  Finally, we are very grateful that you are considering our top-notch, comprehensive general surgery residency training program that will incorporate extensive experience in minimal invasive surgeries.

Gazi B Zibari, MD, FACS
Program Director and Chair of Academic Surgery
Willis-Knighton Health System