Surgical Physician Assistant Residency Program

A Message from the Director

If you’re a physician assistant who’s looking for the ideal opportunity to continue your education or gain diverse clinical experience, you’ll find it in the Physician Assistant (PA) Surgical Residency offered by Norwalk Hospital/Yale School of Medicine.

Launched in 1976, this program was designed exclusively for graduate PAs – and it continues to offer a unique and consistently excellent learning environment. Here’s what you can expect:

  • You’ll be a member of the surgical house staff at Norwalk Hospital, providing 24/7 coverage for all surgical patients. This means there’s no standing in line behind MD surgical residents to first-assist in the OR. You’ll also participate in all aspects of perioperative care.
  • You’ll learn to think on your feet and present findings with clarity, receiving supportive guidance from the PAs on staff
  • You’ll collaborate with MDs in decision-making while honing your problem solving skills
  • Through offsite rotations, you’ll be challenged by a range of experiences and procedural opportunities beyond the community hospital setting

This rigorous 12-month program is demanding, but it’s also thorough and rewarding. You’ll emerge with greater self-confidence, the ability to handle increased responsibility, and command more respect for your professional endeavors.

If you choose to make this commitment to your future, you’ll never look back.





Richard Cassa, PA-C, MPAS, MBA


The program’s focus is in-depth education reinforced by hands-on experience. Residents divide their year between Norwalk Hospital and Yale School of Medicine. The program is designed so that the curriculum at one institution effectively complements the other.

PA curriculum:

  • Comprehensive daily lecture series
  • Hands-on instruction
  • Workshops
  • Didactic sessions at Yale School of Medicine
  • Animal surgery lab
  • Cadaver lab
  • Weekly/monthly conferences
  • Journal Club
  • Case presentations
  • Multidisciplinary rounds


Clinical instruction and patient care responsibilities in general and multi-specialty surgery to include:

  1. Thoracic and vascular
  2. Colorectal
  3. Genitourinary
  4. Orthopaedic
  5. Plastic/reconstructive surgery
  6. Neurosurgery
  7. Trauma
  8. Otolaryngology
  9. OB-GYN
  10. Trauma and acute care surgery
  11. SICU
  12. Minimally invasive surgery
  13. Bariatric surgery

Academic Program

Norwalk Hospital’s academic program offers a comprehensive curriculum through a structured year-long series of daily lectures. Instruction covers general surgery and the subspecialties, clinical anatomy, specialty topics, and evaluation of specific organ systems. Also included are managing surgical emergencies, trauma complications and every aspect of post-operative management.

Other elements of the program include time in the simulation lab which includes procedural training as well as ultrasound training. Suture workshops and laparoscopic workshops are conducted throughout the year to enhance surgical technique and procedural workshops are held periodically to reinforce competence. Attendance is required at monthly conferences including Surgical Grand Rounds, Trauma Rounds and periodic Morbidity and Mortality Conferences.

The importance of the PA’s role at Norwalk Hospital cannot be overstated. PAs constitute the entire surgical house staff, taking an active role in the assessment, management and daily care of patients. PAs provide 24-hour coverage, including night and weekend on-call hours, staffing the hospital floors, the OR and the ICU.

There is a didactic portion of the curriculum the Yale School of Medicine. Human cadaver dissection is taught in a clinically oriented anatomy course. In addition, residents participate in animal surgery lab, performing various surgical procedures with instructors from the Yale faculty.

Employee Benefits

At Nuvance Health, we deliver exceptional care to our patients and our community every day. When it comes to benefits, we want our residents to have the coverage they need to take excellent care of themselves and their families. Our residents receive a comprehensive and competitive program with valuable coverage and the flexibility to choose the options that work best for them.

Eligible Nuvance Health employees may choose to enroll in the following benefits:

  1. Medical and prescription drug coverage
  2. Dental coverage
  3. Vision coverage
  4. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

Nuvance Health provides the following benefits to eligible employees:

  • Basic life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability
  • Employee assistance program (EAP)
  • Thirty-four days Paid Time Off (PTO) each academic year

Additional voluntary benefits include:

  • Pet insurance
  • Auto and home insurance
  • Employee discount program
  • Critical illness insurance


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Clinical Postgraduate Program status to the Norwalk Hospital/Yale Physician Assistant Surgical Residency sponsored by Nuvance Health.

Accreditation-Clinical Postgraduate Program is the status of accreditation granted when a new or currently accredited clinical postgraduate program is in compliance with the Standards for Clinical Postgraduate Programs. Accreditation-clinical postgraduate program remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards, ARC-PA requirements or procedures.

Accreditation-Clinical Postgraduate Program does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at

Program Accreditation History