A Message from the Program Director

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program


Colonya C. Calhoun DDS, PhD

OMFS Program Director

My residents would say this has been a whirlwind two years since I became Program Director of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program. During this short time we have made many changes and improvements to enhance our patient care skills by improving the quality of our training program. One of my many mantras is, “if the first year hasn’t cut one, then we aren’t busy enough” therefore our goal is to provide earlier resident OR experiences.  During the first 6 months of the 3rd year our residents have 3 months as “trauma senior” in which they “run the service” which includes providing direct supervision to junior residents on trauma call and operate as first surgeon on routine trauma cases.  As a result, our chief resident can focus on elective cases, implants and general anesthetics.  The chief resident also serves as teaching resident for the trauma cases so that they are able to manage any intraoperative complications which improves their surgical skill… see one, do one, and teach one.  All of these changes have increased our average monthly OR volume by 50%. Our 3rd year residents also rotate to Kaiser Sunset where they are first assist on all cases which primarily includes Orthognathics, TMJ and pathology.  Because of the sheer volume of referrals the residents are able to perfect basic surgical techniques and improve efficiency.  Because of these few changes, the last 6 months of training, our chief residents are functioning as teaching residents on all elective cases while the third year resident is the teaching resident on all trauma and deep space infections. In addition, we have been fortunate to have committed alumni who “donate” time for resident training. As previously noted, we have a cosmetic and TMJ fellowship trained volunteer faculty who operate monthly with our residents. In addition we are presently recruiting nationwide for at least one more fulltime and several part-time faculty positions to ensure diversity of training experience.

generaldentisryBesides our OR experiences, we continue to strive for excellence in the area of outpatient general anesthesia. When I started as program director, we were averaging 4 general anesthetics/day but with the cooperation of our faculty and staff, we can boast having 6 – 8 general anesthetics/day (3 days/week). This achievement was made possible due to our state of the art outpatient clinic at located at Martin Luther King – Outpatient Center (figure 1).  This clinic has 4 OMFS and 4 GPR operatories.  Each of our OMFS rooms have a full anesthesia cart, Pyxis machine to ensure safe delivery and management of our medications.  We also have operating room quality lights, surgical chairs and each room can safely accommodate at least 6 personnel which provide for a good experience for the residents as well as the patient. 

In the area of academics you will see in the description of our program that we not only want excellence in the OR but have the knowledge to workup and manage any case upon graduation.  Our efforts have been rewarded by the fact that our board pass rate from 2007 to 2016 for first time examines for written qualifying exam is 78% and the oral certifying exam is 83% (table 1). 


  Total Taking Examination Total Passing Examination Pass Rate
First-Time Candidates Written Qualifying 9 7 78%
First-Time Candidates Oral Certifying 6 5 83%
Second-Time Candidates Oral Certifying 1 1 100%

Table 1.  ABOMS Board Pass Rate 2007-2016