The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery in the Department of Surgery of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine is a unique academic program that traces its origins to 1916.
The Division is led by Wolfgang B. Gaertner, MD, MSc, Professor of Surgery and holder of the Stanley M. Goldberg, MD Chair in Colon and Rectal Surgery. The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery combines the strengths of a major research university and Medical School, the Veterans Administration Medical Center and the clinical practices of the University of Minnesota Physicians and Colon and Rectal Surgery Associates. We treat the full range of colorectal disease including colon cancer, rectal cancer, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. We specialize in minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) surgery and have particular expertise in treating patients with complicated or advanced cancers and inflammatory bowel disease who require multidisciplinary or multi-surgeon care.
- Provide the compassionate, state of the art care for individuals with colorectal diseases or disorders
- Train residents and future leaders of colorectal surgery
- Improve outcomes through research, technology and education
- Support the missions of the Academic Health Center, the Medical School and the Department of Surgery
Professor & Division Chief
Wolfgang B. Gaertner, MD, MSc
Walter A. Fansler, M.D. established the Section of Proctology at the University of Minnesota in 1916, the first such program in the United States. In 1950, the "modern era" of the University of Minnesota training program in colon and rectal surgery began when William C. Bernstein, M.D., a student of Fansler, worked with Owen H. Wangensteen, M.D., the first Chief of the Department of Surgery, to establish a formal proctology residency at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.
From its inception, Dr. Bernstein created a training program based not only at the University Hospital but also in his own private surgical practice, the Veterans Hospital and the Ancker County Hospital in St. Paul. He recognized the value of serving different populations and wanted to combine the academic and research strengths of the University with a community-based surgical practice. This "town-gown" collaboration remains a hallmark of the University of Minnesota Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency Training Program. In 1958, following the retirement of Fansler, Wangensteen promoted Bernstein to the rank of Clinical Professor of Surgery and Director of the Division of Proctology within the Department of Surgery. In 1960, the American Board of Proctology changed its name to the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, thus reflecting the evolution in the scope of practice of the specialty.
In 1972, John S. Najarian, M.D., Chief of the Department of Surgery appointed Stanley M. Goldberg, M.D., to be the Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Over the next 20 years, Goldberg expanded and strengthened the Division following the Bernstein tradition of staffing the University of Minnesota Training Program in Colon and Rectal Surgery with a community-based clinical faculty. Under Goldberg's leadership, the Division faculty expanded and the became internationally recognized for its excellent training program, its postgraduate courses, and its surgical innovations.
In 1992, David A. Rothenberger, M.D. succeeded Goldberg as the Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. In 2004, Robert D. Madoff, M.D. became the the Stanley M. Goldberg, M.D. Chair in Colon and Rectal surgery and was appointed Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery in 2005.
Since its inception, the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Minnesota has trained 213 total CRS fellow graduates, many of whom have become leaders in colon and rectal surgery; 8 of our alumni have served as President of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
William C. Bernstein, MD, Familial Cancer Registry
The William C. Bernstein, MD Familial Cancer Registry enrolls individuals with cancer in order to identify those families at greater risk for familial or hereditary cancers.
Colon & Rectal Surgery Fellowship
The University of Minnesota has over a 50-year tradition of training surgeons in the specialty of colon and rectal surgery. In the early 1950s, the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery began to offer apprenticeships in the specialty, and since 1956, formal residencies have been awarded. Currently, a one-year postgraduate residency training program in the field of colon and rectal surgery is offered. The program meets the requirements of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
How to Apply
Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency Program Year 2023-2024
The Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency Program utilizes the Electronic Residency Application Service - ERAS®️, this service transmits residency applications, letters of recommendation, Dean’s Letters/MSPE, transcripts and other supporting credentials from applicants and medical schools to residency programs using the Internet via www.aamc.org. The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery requests a completed online application, a personal statement, curriculum vitae, copy of medical diploma, ECFMG certification, USMLE/ABSITE scores, and three (3) letters of recommendation.
Application Deadline Information
The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery's Interview Committee will accept and review online applications starting July 20, 2022 through August 15, 2022. Please note that applications submitted after the August 15, 2022 deadline or applications that were incomplete by the August 15, 2022 deadline will not be considered.
We will offer three virtual interviews dates for the 2023-2024 program year:
August 19, 2022
September 16, 2022
September 23, 2022
Academic conferences in the Division of Colon & Rectal Surgery are held every Friday morning for approximately two-four hours at the corporate office.
The Department of Pathology at Abbott Northwestern Hospital hosts a bi-weekly pathology conference open exclusively to colon and rectal surgery residents.