Breast Surgery Selective | NYU Langone Health

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Surgery Selectives Breast Surgery Selective

Breast Surgery Selective

The Breast Surgery Selective offered by NYU Grossman School of Medicine is a four-week session that provides medical students with in-depth exposure to breast surgery. Two students are enrolled per session in this selective, which is offered throughout the year. A surgical clerkship is a prerequisite for this selective.

Students actively participate in all aspects of patient care, including preoperative and postoperative assessment of patients who have breast cancer and other breast diseases. Students also assist in the operating room (OR) and learn about performing mastectomies and lumpectomies, breast biopsies, percutaneous tissue sampling procedures, and treatment of benign breast disease.

Weekly science sessions with breast surgeons are an integral part of the selective. Students participate in at least one didactic session with a basic science researcher who specializes in breast disease and another session with a cancer genetics counselor. The attending breast surgeons are committed to maximizing learning opportunities for students on the selective.

Goals of the Breast Surgery Selective

Our goal is to offer students in this selective an in-depth exposure to breast surgery and an understanding of the natural history, diagnosis, pretreatment evaluation, and surgical management of breast cancer and breast diseases. Students learn to perform an appropriate physician exam of the breast and become familiar with indications for surgery, workup, and operative and nonoperative management of breast diseases.

Key Responsibilities

Every student has responsibility for two to four inpatients. As an important part of the breast surgery team, they attend breast surgery operations as well as pre- and postoperative office hours at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. Students attend breast clinic, multidisciplinary conference, and journal club at Bellevue and a breast case conference and pre- and postoperative office hours at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. They also participate in rounds on inpatient consults and postoperative patients, and resident teaching conferences.

Didactic Program

Each student is assigned an attending breast surgeon as their preceptor for the course of the selective. A routine day includes daily rounds with residents and multiple teaching sessions in the OR and during office hours or clinic. Weekly breast surgery conferences, monthly multidisciplinary endocrine conferences, and weekly morbidity and mortality conferences are mandatory. In addition, students select a topic based on a case they observe in the OR and meet at least once with their basic science preceptor to discuss the biological mechanisms of disease.

The selective also includes lectures by faculty and course directors on various topics including the following:

  • Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Controversies in Screening
  • Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes and Disparities in Outcomes
  • The Cell Cycle, Novel Therapeutic Targets, and the Tumor Microenvironment
  • Breast Cancer Genomics and Personalized Therapy

Method of Evaluation

Students are evaluated on their performance by surgical residents and faculty, including their breast surgery basic science preceptor. Students are encouraged to participate in breast surgery-related research with Kathie-Ann Joseph, MD, MPH, which can be initiated during this rotation and pursued during the subsequent academic years. Evaluation is based on the level of knowledge the student displays on a daily basis, the depth of their reading, and their clinical performance as evaluated by residents and faculty.

Breast Surgery Course Directors and Faculty

Breast Surgery Selective course directors and faculty are renowned for their skills and expertise.

Course Directors

Kathie-Ann Joseph, MD, MPH
Freya R. Schnabel, MD


Deborah M. Axelrod, MD
Amber A. Guth, MD
Karen L. Hiotis, MD

Basis Science Preceptor

Freya Schnabel, MD

Contact Us

For more information or questions about the Breast Surgery Selective, contact Acacia Sharma, program coordinator, at 212-263-2225 or