Past Events

Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp

Aired on 8.14.2020
Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp

The Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp, hosted annually by and sponsored principally through the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors (APSTPD), is designed to smooth the transition for residents leaving an adult and entering a pediatric hospital setting. The 2020 Boot Camp curriculum is structured around the Pediatric Surgery Milestones initiative of the ACGME and ABS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 event will be broadcast virtually to comply with North American recommendations for safe "professional” distancing and to mitigate any health risk to learners and faculty.




The Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp is hosted annually by and sponsored principally through the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors (APSTPD), and seeks to smooth the transition for residents leaving an adult and entering a pediatric hospital setting. While working in a children’s hospital is not new to the incoming Pediatric Surgery resident, the time between the last categorical rotation and this sudden full-time position as a "surgeon for children” can be lengthy. This gap in time, often several years, can result in the loss of both clinical knowledge related to children’s care and awareness of the cultural differences between adult and pediatric hospital environments. While historically the Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp has been held in-person and over 2-3 days, the 2020 version will be broadcast virtually to comply with North American recommendations for safe "professional” distancing and to mitigate any health risk to learners and faculty. As a result of this new virtual platform, the topics of greatest interest and import will be presented to the resident in condensed but interactive sessions over one day. Opportunities for resident participation will be possible through polling, chat boards, and live discussion during Panel Sessions. Upon completion of the day, a virtual social hour will be held to introduce residents to their peer group and faculty and to enjoy a beverage of their choice. So, join the fun and register to attend the 2020 Pediatric Surgery Virtual Boot Camp on Friday, August the 14th! All times on the schedule are Eastern time zone.  

History (provided by Drs. Pramod Puligandla, Harold Lovvorn, and Robert Baird):

As for the "origins" of the Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp, it was actually a Canadian idea!

Drs. Steve Lopushinsky and Chris Blackmore (who was a resident at the time) sent the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors (APSTPD) a "needs analysis" regarding a Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp. Their observations, published in 2015 (see PMID: 25783361), supported the concept of a boot camp, and its basic structure was proposed. 

Drs. Lopushinsky, Blackmore, and Puligandla subsequently discussed using this needs assessment to create a pilot Boot Camp with learning objectives, lectures, and simulation. Dr. Puligandla offered to host the first Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp with the intent to prove the beneficial concepts of streamlining the transition from Adult to Pediatric Surgery. Such an intervention would provide incoming pediatric surgery residents with the critical knowledge and skills needed to optimize patient care and safety, while also strengthening Pediatric Surgery resident confidence when treating the ill newborn or child.

After significant ground work, the first Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp in North America was held at the Montreal Children’s Hospital/Shriners Hospital for Children in July, 2017. This inaugural Boot Camp included only Canadian programs (8 fellows + 2 research residents) and Canadian teaching faculty. Dr. Barbara Gaines, who was president of the APSTPD at the time, was invited to Montreal to observe the Boot Camp and to see if this event would be something to propose to the entire APSTPD as a recommended "transition to pediatric surgery” educational experience for all training programs. 

With assistance from the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (CAPS), specifically Dr. Sherif Emil (who was critical to securing Departmental funding to support the effort, as well as from industry), the first Boot Camp emerged. It was a bona fide success! So much so that Dr. Gaines believed it was important enough to share with the APSTPD for consideration as an annual event.

In 2018, two courses were held to accommodate Pediatric Surgery residents from both Canada and the United States - one in Calgary, Alberta (hosted by Dr. Steve Lopushinsky, and all attendees but one were Canadian fellows), and the other in Baltimore, MD (hosted by Dr. Sam Alaish). Roughly 12 fellows travelled to each location. Canadian data from the 2017 and 2018 courses were gathered and analyzed for efficacy of the Boot Camp. These data, summarizing the early experiences in our specialty Boot Camp, were published shortly thereafter (see PMID: 30786988).

The next iteration of the Pediatric Surgery Boot Camp was held in Montreal, Quebec (East Course – hosted by Dr. Puligandla) and Portland, OR (West Course – hosted by Dr. Krishnaswami) in 2019. These two pediatric surgeons worked closely to harmonize the curriculum, and residents were encouraged to attend the course closest to them. Roughly 15-17 residents participated in-person at each site. As a testament to breaking any stigma related to a Canadian or US course, 9 of the 15 residents who attended the course in Montreal were American. Furthermore, the success of the Boot Camp led both CAPS and the APSTPD to provide guaranteed, short-term funding for this activity. With preparations for the 2020 course well underway, along came a virus…

2020 Boot Camp Directors & Faculty

2020 Boot Camp Directors

Harold Lovvorn, III, MD

Dr. Lovvorn is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Program Director of the Pediatric Surgery Residency at Vanderbilt, where he has practiced for 18 years.

Robert Baird, MSc, MDCM

Rob Baird is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Surgical Director of the Pediatric Trauma Program, and Fellowship Program Director at the University of British Columbia.

Additional Faculty

Uchenna Anani, MD

Dr. Uche Anani is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital, where she completed her clinical training. Dr. Anani is a proud dual graduate of Howard University, having received both her B.S. (Biology) and M.D. degrees. She also serves as a faculty member and consultant in the Fetal Center at Vanderbilt (FCAV) where she works with MFM physicians and other subspecialists to provide advance counseling and care for high-risk pregnant mothers.

Douglas Barnhart, MD, MSPH

Douglas Barnhart is currently the Vice Chair of the Pediatric Surgery Board and a Councilor of the American Board of Surgery.  He is a Professor of Surgery in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Utah and program director of the pediatric surgery fellowship.  Doug is the Medical Director for Surgical Quality and Safety at Primary Children’s Hospital. He participated in the Task Forces for Children’s Surgery that preceded the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification Program (CSVP). He is currently the Co-Chair for the Children’s Surgery Verification Program.

Alana Beres, MDCM, MPH

Dr. Alana Beres's clinical interests include inflammatory bowel disease, solid tumors and Global Surgery. Her research is focused on barriers/access to care, as well as practice evaluation with the goal of improving patient outcomes. 

Martin Blakely, MD, MS

Dr. Blakely received his B.S. degree from Rhodes College, Memphis, TN and his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine. He subsequently completed an M.S. degree in clinical research at the University of Texas, Schools of Public Health and Medicine. Dr. Blakely served as chief resident in both Surgery and Pediatric Surgery during his residencies at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine.  He also completed his postdoctoral research fellowship in immunology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Blakely is currently a Professor of Pediatric Surgery at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Darrell Cass, MD

Darrell L. Cass, MD is a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio, where he serves as Director of Fetal Surgery and Director, Fetal Care Center.  Prior to moving to Cleveland, Dr. Cass was in Houston, Texas for 18 years where he was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Texas Children's Fetal Center.  

Gabriela Crane, MD

Gabriella Leite Crane, MD, is Associate Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. She joined the staff in 2010 after completing a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Boston University Medical Center and a fellowship in Pediatric Radiology at Boston Children's Hospital.  She specializes in pediatric body imaging with a particular interest in GI, GU, and neonatal imaging. 

Melissa Danko, MD

Dr. Danko currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where she completed her Pediatric Surgery Residency in 2014. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Danko then completed her categorical Surgery training at Duke University before coming to Nashville, TN.

Sherif Emil, M.D.

Director of the Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Associate Chair for Education and Departmental Citizenship in the Department of Pediatric Surgery, and Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Surgery, and Pediatrics at McGill University. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Maggie Gallagher, MD

Dr. Gallagher is originally from Waukesha, Wisconsin.  After completing her undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point she received her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD.  She completed her general surgery residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI.  She then completed her pediatric surgery fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN.  She is board certified in general and pediatric surgery and is currently a pediatric surgeon at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.

Lauren Gillory, MD

Dr. Gillory is a Texas native, having graduated college from the University of Texas, Austin, and Medical School at the Medical Branch of UT-Galveston. She completed her junior years in categorical Surgery at UAB in Birmingham and senior/Chief years from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC. Dr. Gillory recently finished her Pediatric Surgery residency at Vanderbilt and will begin her Assistant Professor Faculty position at the Dallas Children’s Medical Center of UT-Southwestern this fall, 2020.

Colin Martin, MD

Colin A. Martin, MD is an Associate Professor and Associate Vice Chair for Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He completed his general surgery training at the University of Cincinnati and Pediatric surgery training at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Martin has a traditional clinical pediatric surgical practice with a specific interest in patients with intestinal failure and serves as the surgical Director of the Children’s of Alabama/UAB Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation. He also has developed a basic science and translational research program that focuses on understanding the effects of environmental influences on neonatal immunity which has been funded by the NIH, American Surgical Association, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS).  He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Surgical Research and the American Journal of Surgery. He also holds numerous national surgical societal leadership positions including serving  as an executive committee member for the Society for Black Academic Surgeons and the AAS. 



Andrew Murphy, MD

Dr. Murphy is a pediatric surgeon-scientist who focuses on the surgical treatment of pediatric solid tumors. His research laboratory explores novel insights in high-risk Wilms tumor subtypes including anaplastic and bilateral Wilms tumor. He serves as the Program Director for the Pediatric Surgical Oncology Fellowship at St. Jude.

Nathan Novotny, MD

Nathan Novotny, MD, is the Director of International Outreach for Beaumont Children’s and Beaumont Health. He completed his training in Pediatric Surgery at Vanderbilt University after his categorical Surgery Residency at Indiana University. While at Indiana University, he completed a two-year research fellowship in both clinical and basic science research. Dr. Novotny is passionately committed to global health and is a leader in the field with publications and leadership positions in multiple international societies. He has established a fellowship training program abroad and is tasked with training an entire country of Pediatric Surgeons in minimally invasive surgery. Regardless of which country he is in, Dr. Novotny is committed to providing the best possible operation through the least invasive option.

Pramod Puligandla, MD, MSc

Dr. Puligandla is Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Pediatrics and Surgery at McGill University and functions as the Associate Chair for Peri-Operative Services and the Program Director for the Pediatric Surgery fellowship program. He has worked at the MCH for the last 17 years both as a pediatric surgeon and as a pediatric intensivist. He is a current member of the Pediatric Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery.


Jeff Upperman, MD

Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS is a tenured Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and serves as both Chair of Pediatric Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dr. Upperman graduated from Stanford University in 1987 and completed his M.D. and Surgery residency at New Jersey Medical School.  He completed his clinical training in Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2001. Dr. Upperman is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Medical Corps and served his country as Chief of Surgery during operation Iraqi Freedom 2 in 2004.

Kyle Van Arendonk, MD, PhD

Dr. Van Arendonk is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Wisconsin. He practices the full breadth of pediatric surgery and leads quality improvement and research efforts for the pediatric surgery division.

Irving J. Zamora, MD, MPH

Dr. Zamora is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and serves as the Director of Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Florida College of Medicine. He completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Florida – Jacksonville and a 3-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine - Texas Children's Hospital, during which time he obtained a Master of Public health degree.  He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2019 after completing his Pediatric Surgery training at Emory University – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He practices the full scope of pediatric surgery and has clinical expertise in advanced minimally invasive surgery in children with a particular focus on neonatal and congenital anomalies. He has a passion for surgical education and enjoys training residents and fellows.  


9:00 am - 9:05 am
Opening Remarks by APSTPD Secretary
9:05 am - 9:15 am
Introduction/Orientation Team Building Exercise

9:15 am - 9:30 am
Citizenship and Professionalism: Communication in a Children's Hospital
9:30 am - 9:45 am
Leaders, Ambassadors, and Educators
9:45 am - 10:00 am
Self-study and Academic Productivity During PS Residency
10:00 am - 10:15 am
Surviving Fellowship - Trainee's Perspective
10:15 am - 10:30 am
Panel Discussion and Break
10:30 am - 10:45 am
Troubleshooting Common Pediatric Surgery Problems
10:45 am - 11:00 am
International Pediatric Surgery
11:00 am - 11:30 am
Fetal Evaluation and Surgery
11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Oncology and Protocols
12:00 pm - 12:15 pm
Panel Discussion and Break
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
Caring for the sick child – a family perspective (cancer survivor)
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Meetings to target, timeline for job interviews, and surgical societies
1:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Preparation for the Pediatric Surgery In-Training Examination and Boards
1:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Panel Discussion and Break
2:00 pm - 2:20 pm
NEC and SIP: operate or drain
2:20 pm - 2:40 pm
Neonatal Bowel Obstruction
2:40 pm - 3:00 pm
Neonatal physiology and ventilation strategies
3:00 pm - 3:20 pm
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and Pulmonary Hypertension
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm
Extracorporeal Life Support in Newborns and Children
3:40 pm - 4:00 pm
Panel Discussion and Break
4:00 pm - 4:20 pm
Pediatric Trauma Primer
4:20 pm - 4:40 pm
Pediatric Imaging: Help me Help you
4:40 pm - 5:00 pm
Abdominal wall defects
5:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Panel Discussion and Break
5:15 pm - 5:25 pm
Laparoscopic pyloromyotomy
(video by Sherif Emil)
5:25 pm - 5:35 pm
Laparoscopic duodeno-duodenostomy (duodenal atresia)
(video by Laura Diefenbach)
5:35 pm - 6:00 pm
Thoracoscopic esophago-esophagostomy (EATEF)
(video by Steve Rothenberg)
6:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Thoracoscopic diaphragmatic herniorrhaphy
(video by Irving Zamora, Matthew Clifton)
6:15 pm - 6:30 pm
Thoracoscopic lobectomy
(video by Sherif Emil)
6:30 pm - 6:45 pm
Laparoscopic-assisted endorectal pull through
(video by Steve Rothenberg)
6:45 pm - 7:00 pm
Oh, the Things Kids Ingest and Inhale
(video by Harold N. Lovvorn)
7:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Panel Discussion and Break
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Reception, virtually!