Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

  • Overview
  • Curriculum
  • Research/Presentations
  • Current Residents
  • How to Apply

The Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Residency Program at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center is a newly accredited 3-year Independent Plastic Surgery Residency Program through the ACGME.

We accept one applicant each year into the independent program for three years. Throughout their time in residency, the residents are exposed to ample training in all aspects of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Our full time faculty supplemented with our voluntary private plastic surgeons provide excellent guidance and training to encourage independence and scholarship. Our goal is to provide our residents with comprehensive training through a vigorous clinical volume and faculty-driven educational conferences.

St. Joseph’s is a Craniofacial Center which supports a robust patient population in North New Jersey. Residents work hand-in-hand with the Craniofacial Team and learn to become leaders in our institution.

Our program has a generous educational curriculum driven by our faculty in order to provide our residents with the best possible educational experience during their three years at St. Joseph’s.

The residents are also encouraged to participate in our international trips with the Program Director. This allows an opportunity to learn how to adapt to different healthcare systems while operating in severely underserved areas of the world.

Our robust educational curriculum follows a didactic schedule based on the PSEN Residency Education Curriculum which is lead by our faculty. We supplement our didactic schedule with multi-discipline conferences such as Hand Conference and Craniofacial Conference. Our residents discuss preoperative, operative and postoperative patient planning during the Program Director Case Review. Monthly, Morbidity and Mortality Conference along with Journal Club refine our residents into outstanding academic surgeons.

The residents rotate through a variety of specialties in Plastic Surgery to ensure they are receiving a broad and comprehensive clinical education.

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• Becoming a Plastic Surgery ACGME Accredited Program. Oral Presentation, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Annual Conference, April 2018
• Refinements in secondary cleft lip and nose reconstruction. The simultaneous use of multiple grafts to reduce operation rate and restore normal anatomic features. Oral Presentation, New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons, March 2018
• Medscape. 2017 Dec 21. eCollection. Electrical Burn Injuries. Vande Ven H, Podda S, Narayan D.
• Plastic Surg Education Network. 2017 August. eCollection 2017 Aug. Abdominoplasty for Recurrent Pannicular Infections. Szymanski K, Vande Ven H, Podda S, Berlet A.
• StatPearls. 2017 Jun 25. StatPearls Publishing. Gynecomastia. Vande Ven H, Pensler JM. PMID: 28613563
• Plas Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2017 March 30; 5(3):e1234. doi 10.1097. eCollection 2017 Mar. Improving Pressure Ulcer Reconstruction: Our Protocol and the COP (Cone of Pressure) Flap. Gargano F, Edstrom L, Szymanski K, Schmidt S, Bevivno J, Zienowicz R, Stark J, Taylor HO, Podda S, Lui P. PMID: 28458961
• J Surg Case Rep. 2017 Feb 17; 2017(2): rjx032. doi 1031093/jscr/rjx032. eCollection 2017 Feb. A surgical approach to the craniofacial defects of Opitz G/BBB syndrome. Regan JP, Szymanski K, Podda S, Gargano F, Kopiecki A. PMID: 28458838
• Eplasty. 2016 Nov 8; 16 e29. eCollection 2016. Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the scalp and Calvarium: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Stark J, Podda S, Szymanski K. PMID: 27909467
• Persistent buccop[haryngeal membrane: report of a scase and a novel surgical technique. Oral Presentation, Americal College of Osteopathic Surgery (ACOS) Conference, November 2013
• Management of craniosynostosis: endoscopically assisted craniectomies vs. traditional open craniotomy approach. Should they all be part of the craniofacial surgeon’s armamentarium? Oral Presentation, European Society of Craniofacial Surgery (ESCFS), 2012
• Outcome Analysis of Helmet Therapy for Deformational Plagiocephaly. Oral Presentation, Societa Italianadi Chirurgia Plastica Riconstruttiva ed Estetica (SICPRE), 2012
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Heather Vande Ven, Chief Resident

General Surgery: Lutheran Medical Center/Palisades Medical Center
D.O.: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
B.S.: Biology and Neuroscience, Colorado State University
Hometown: Denver, CO

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John-Paul Regan

General Surgery: NYMC Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
D.O.: University of North Texas Health Science Center
B.S.: Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
Hometown: New Orleans, LA

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Jennifer Stark

General Surgery: St. Joseph’s University Medical Center
D.O.: Nova Southeastern University College of Medicine
B.S.: Nutritional Science, University of Florida
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Our newly accredited program participates in the San Francisco Matching Service using the Central Application System. Please apply directly through this service.

All applicants must have prerequisite training acceptable to the American Board of Plastic surgery and must be eligible for licensure in the state of New Jersey.

Individuals accepted for a position in the program must be U.S. citizens, classified as a resident alien, or hold a J-1 visa.

For further information please email:


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