By Wendy Sarubbi | April 15, 2022 3:31 pm

UCF’s College of Medicine and HCA Healthcare are starting a new General Surgery Residency program at HCA Florida West Hospital in Pensacola, FL and are seeking applicants to begin training this July.

HCA Florida West Hospital in Pensacola is the site of the newest UCF-HCA residency.

The residency, which recently received initial ACGME accreditation, is the third UCF/HCA graduate medical education program at the hospital —   Obstetrics/Gynecology and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation began last year.   With the latest addition, the UCF/HCA consortium has 33 accredited residency and fellowship programs across Florida, training almost 520 doctors to meet the state’s physician shortage.

General Surgery is a five-year training program for training the residents in the art and science of surgery including how to diagnose, manage and operate on wide range of diseases.  Residents will be trained in a number of fields including vascular, trauma, critical care, emergency surgery, colorectal, surgical oncology, burn and pediatric surgery.  Residents will be able to perform open, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, as well as endoscopy.  The UCF/HCA program will accept three residents per year for a total of 15 accredited positions. 

All applicants must be graduates of LCME- or AOA-accredited medical schools.  Applicants from medical schools outside the US and Canada will also be considered.  All the applicants must have taken and passed USMLE Step I and II or COMLEX Step 1 and 2 by July 1, 2022 to qualify for this position.  Qualified applicants will be selected for virtual interviews this year.  The program also plans to participate in the NRMP and ERAS applications for 2023.

Dr. Sanda Tan, FACS, FASCRS will direct the program. Dr. Tan has over a decade of experience in graduate medical education and teaching medical students and residents. She served on the faculty of the University of Florida before joining HCA in June 2021. Dr. Tan received her M.D. and completed her General Surgery Residency at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and completed her Colon and Rectal Surgery fellowship at the Brown University in Providence, RI.

“This residency is an opportunity to train the next generation of surgeons who will want to continue providing care in the Panhandle area of Florida,” she said.  “The population in this community continues to grow and our surgical residents will provide care so that the people living in this beautiful area of the country do not have to drive long distances to obtain the healthcare they need and deserve. “With our exceptional team of existing surgeons, medical teams and support staff, we are committed to providing a comprehensive and rewarding educational experience for our trainees.”

The new program also will provide an additional opportunity for medical school graduates in Florida and across the nation. General Surgery is one of the more competitive specialties with 3,071 applicants competing for 1,622 positions available nationally in 2021.  

“We are delighted to partner with HCA Florida West Hospital and serve the Pensacola community,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and the founding dean of the UCF College of Medicine. “Our mission at the UCF College of Medicine includes improving healthcare for all. Residency programs are an important part of that effort. Physicians often remain in the community where they had their residency training and our programs will allow Pensacola to have a supply of outstanding, compassionate young physicians, now and into the future.”

National studies show that the majority of physicians begin their practices in the location where they did residency training.  UCF/HCA Healthcare GME is excited to train future surgeons in the Panhandle of Florida, who will also serve residents of Southern Alabama and Georgia.

For more information on the new residency, please contact Michelle Stevenson, the Director of GME, at

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