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The Endowed Surgical Scholar Program at Northwell Health is a unique and competitive program, designed to provide a comprehensive clinical experience for gap year students with a strong interest in a career in academic medicine. Applicants will have completed undergraduate studies and be in the process of applying to medical school with a strong interest in pursing a career in academic medicine.

Surgical Scholars choose this program because of their interest in clinical exposure, patient education, quality improvement, innovation, information technology, and/or continuing medical education. This one-year program immerses the Surgical Scholar to many aspects of clinical surgery through a variety of activities. These include:

  • Outpatient ambulatory care observation
  • Surgery observation
  • Clinical research
  • Educational conferences such as grand rounds, morbidity & mortality, indications, visiting professors, and journal club
  • Attendance at the annual American Society of Plastic Surgeons conference
  • Abstract presentations at annual Plastic Surgery conferences
  • IRB applications
  • CME applications
  • Grant applications
  • Patient education materials
  • Innovation projects

Clinical research activities include collecting clinical data to maintain databases, performing literature searches in support of research initiatives, analyzing data, and assisting in the preparation of research findings for posters, abstracts and manuscripts. Students will learn how to submit Institutional Review Board (IRB), grant, and continuing medical education (CME) applications. Scholars will be supported in authoring peer-reviewed manuscripts and presenting clinical research at national meetings.

The Surgical Scholar will function independently, but as part of a broader team including Plastic Surgery faculty, residents, medical students, physician extenders, and support staff. The Surgical Scholar will work directly under the mentorship of Dr. Neil Tanna, Associate Program Director and Professor of Surgery within the Division of Plastic Surgery at Northwell Health.

Scholar positions will typically start July 1 of the calendar year and run through June of the next year. Surgical Scholars are paid, full-time, employees of Northwell Health.

Current and previous Surgical Scholars have included:

Surgical Scholar Program, Dr. Tanna

Alexander Gibstein, BA (2019 -2020) is the current Northwell Surgical Scholar. He joined the Surgical Scholar program after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Alex coordinates and assists with our efforts to improve patient education and patient care, such as designing multimedia apps, videos, and instructional materials for use before and after surgery. In addition, he also works on several clinical research projects with faculty and residents at Northwell Health.

Surgical Scholar Program, Dr. Tanna

Ben Zhang, BA (2018- 2019) earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Columbia University before spending the year with the Surgical Scholars program. During his time as a Scholar he was highly prolific. He authored several peer-reviewed manuscripts, including earning first authorship. In addition, he attended and presented his clinical research at national meetings. Prior to the program, he had an interest in Emergency Medicine. With the broad ambulatory and surgical clinical exposure afforded by the program, he has decided to pursue a career in academic surgery. He started medical school at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in the summer of 2019.

Surgical Scholar Program, Dr. Tanna

William Chan, BA (2017 – 2018) completed a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northwestern University. During his undergraduate studies, he studied progressive motor deficits caused by Parkinson’s Disease in mouse models. His efforts helped his lab achieve a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Research Grant. During his year as Surgical Scholar, he was highly prolific, having completed an IRB for a novel surgical procedure, earned a successful innovation grant, and authored a peer-reviewed manuscript. In addition, he was instrumental in creating an online educational tool for breast cancer patients.

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