Program Details

Working with faculty

Residents work closely with a diverse, talented, and internationally-recruited faculty with expertise in the clinical, teaching and research domains. Each faculty member has something unique to impart as a teacher and mentor. Relationships with faculty are warm and friendly. Faculty treat residents with respect, providing increasing levels of autonomy appropriate to level of experience. Residents work primarily with faculty who have received outstanding teaching evaluations.


The operating rooms of all the major hospitals have a lively and congenial feel where anesthesia residents can develop great rapport with all those who work there, including the surgical staff, nursing staff, anesthesia technicians, biomedical engineering personnel, service coordinators, custodial personnel, unit secretaries, and patient care assistants. This culture extends outside the operating room as well. You will see people jump at the chance to help each other out and you will notice staff members of all types taking great pride in their patient care.

Clinical opportunities

During the clinical anesthesia years, there are multiple opportunities to provide anesthesia outside of the operating room, such as the cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs, neuroangiography and interventional radiology, MRI, and GI suites. At Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, anesthesia residents play a critical role in acute trauma airway and hemodynamic management in the emergency department and the operating room as part of the Trauma team. In fact, the wide variety of patient populations and surgical procedures that UCSF anesthesia residents encounter at the four major clinical sites provides a depth and breadth of clinical experience that is unparalleled.

Living in San Francisco

While UCSF residents work as hard as they would at other academic residency programs, they are blessed with some of the best surroundings outside of work: a beautiful, dynamic, progressive city—one of the most diverse in the world—with more than its share of culture and nightlife. San Francisco is surrounded by pristine coastline, redwood forests, mountains, with temperate weather all year-round. Residents have ample time outside of work to enjoy it all. 

The residency years

For some, the experience as a UCSF anesthesia resident begins with the interdisciplinary internship program at UCSF. This rigorous yet richly rewarding year includes intensive training in internal medicine, surgery, critical care, neurology, and emergency medicine alongside some of the finest physicians in the country. The year culminates with a month of anesthesia, celebrating your entry into clinical work in our department. 

Anesthesia interns at UCSF are expected to sit for the nationwide In-Training Examination in the spring along with their senior colleagues.

The CA-1 year centers on intraoperative training in anesthesiology. You will begin the first Clinical Anesthesia year with a month-long period of one-on-one faculty supervision, allowing tailored training with faculty specifically selected for their teaching abilities. Through the month of July, CA-1 residents are relieved from OR duties by 2pm every Tuesday and Thursday for afternoon lectures covering core concepts in anesthesia. CA-1 residents train in a wide variety of settings, including the administration of anesthesia for general surgery, OHNS, orthopedics, ambulatory surgery, acute pain medicine, trauma, evaluation of patients in the PREPARE (preoperative) clinic, ICU care, and post-op care in the PACU. Progress in acquiring medical knowledge is tested periodically with Anesthesia Knowledge Tests on Day 1, Month 1, Month 6, as well as the nationwide In-Training Examination (ITE) in the spring.

During your CA-2 year, you will undergo intensive training in a variety of anesthesia subspecialty areas, including anesthesia for cardiac and thoracic surgery, obstetrics, neurosurgery, acute and chronic pain, regional anesthesia, pediatrics, and critical care. Educational sessions continue in the form of Wednesday Grand Rounds or lectures tailored to each residency class, small-group case-based sessions led by volunteer faculty, and daily intraoperative teaching sessions (ongoing, informal). To celebrate the midway point in your training, a weekend CA-2 retreat is held in the fall. 

For those interested in pursuing fellowship training, the fall / winter of CA-2 year is the time when many residents prepare their applications for fellowship training programs.

During the CA-3 year, you will return to the general OR as a senior resident to provide anesthesia and intensive care with increasing autonomy. Specialty rotations include adult cardiac (at Kaiser San Francisco), TEE, thoracic and vascular surgery, regional anesthesia, ZSFG night team leader, and critical care. Whenever possible, senior residents care for patients undergoing the most complex procedures, such as liver transplant and heart and lung transplants. CA-3s have three months of “Selectives” with an array of options including pediatric cardiac, regional anesthesia at the Orthopaedic Institute, and additional training in OB, pediatrics, neurosurgery, etc. 

As residents have become increasingly involved with the UCSF Pathways Program, some now participate in several months of intensive study in Health Professions Education, Global Health, the interactions between Health and Society, etc. Residents participating in Innovative Residency Tracks (as Critical Care or Research Scholars) may extend their training into a “CA-4 year” as they acquire specialized additional skillsets. 

Residents with strong research interests can consolidate their clinical training into 2.5 years to participate in 6 months of research during their final year under the guidance of a faculty research mentor.

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