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The Department of Surgery at Baylor University Medical Center has a long history of research participation. The department includes eight clinical divisions: colorectal, general, hepatopancreatobiliary, minimally invasive, oncology, transplant, trauma/acute care/critical care and vascular. Each division is focused on education and research in that specialty area.

The Department of Surgery at Baylor is committed to fostering an environment that promotes clinical research. A structured research education program, designed to attract attending and resident participation, provides the guidance, support and stimulus for department-wide involvement in scholarly activities. Through the collaboration of attending physicians, residents, Baylor Research Institute (BRI) staff, biostatistics support staff, Division of Surgical Education faculty, Surgical Research Peer Review Committee members, Associate Surgical Program directors in research and Surgical Simulation faculty, the Department of Surgery develops, studies and enrolls patients in clinical trials to benefit future patient care and change the way we educate students, residents and faculty.

The Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Seeger Fund have provided support for local trials in the areas of trauma, oncology, vascular, colorectal, minimally invasive, pancreatic, liver and general surgery. The Department of Surgery contributes patient enrollment to the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center medical oncology trials, especially in the areas of breast and pancreas cancers and melanoma. The Innovative Clinical Trials Center (ICTC) at the Sammons Cancer Center provides collaborative support for pilot studies of new modalities in surgical and medical treatment of advanced-staged cancer.

The Surgical Oncology Cancer Research Database (SOCRD) houses primary source data collected through multidisciplinary teams related to most types of cancer. The Baylor Foundation and Seeger Funds continue to support development of new platforms to support the teaching of the multidisciplinary cancer care teams. Not only does SOCRD provide data for research, but it also serves as the core data for process and quality improvement within the clinical areas of cancer care. Dr. John Preskitt, chief, Division of Surgery, has built this area into the basis of all future projects at Sammons Cancer Center.

The Department of Surgery has developed criteria for establishing Centers of Excellence (COE) based on the divisions within the department. As each of these Centers of Excellence is established, research and data collection will be major features for maintaining COE designations. Currently, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer, breast cancer and esophageal cancer COEs are under development. Registries and prospective trials are available for patients.

The faculty within the Department of Surgery is actively involved in industry-sponsored clinical trials that are focused on new technology, new drugs and new interventions for surgical disease. The department is a member of SWOG (formerly the Southwest Oncology Group), the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) and the Alliance Cooperative groups and also has numerous cooperative groups’ studies open and enrolling patients at any time.

The Division of Transplant is one of the largest clinical programs in the US and has one of the most active research programs in transplant immunology in the world. A robust clinical database has been maintained for more than 30 years, and collaborative projects between surgery and hepatology are constantly enrolling new patients. The industry-sponsored clinical trials mechanism is relevant to all aspects of transplant medicine and surgery.

The Division of Surgical Education, headed by Dr. Thomas Cox, PsyD, is the newest division within the Department of Surgery. The division is focused on surgical education at all levels (student, resident, faculty) and is committed to research-driven processes to improve the educational and clinical environment within the department and hospital. Numerous collaborative prospective trials are under way at all levels of the educational process.

The Simulation Program within Baylor University Medical Center is headed by Dr. Sanket Chauhan and affects all areas of the hospital. The Surgical Simulation Program within this department has been strengthened to improve resident education. Numerous research projects in the areas of new technology, resident training and education through simulation are ongoing.