Surgical Critical Care Fellowship

The University of South Alabama is one of three Level 1 trauma centers in the state of Alabama  and also serves as one of three Level 1 trauma centers of the state of Mississippi. The Acute Care  Surgery Services is quite active, admitting over 1,400 trauma patients annually with an 80% blunt trauma and 20% penetrating trauma ratio. The Acute Care Surgery Service is responsible for all surgical admissions and consults through the emergency room.

The Surgical Critical Care Fellowship received its initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education in January 2013 and began training our first fellow in July 2013. The goal of the fellowship is to provide an intensive one-year experience in surgical critical care that trains surgeons to have a leadership role in the care of critically ill patients. The educational philosophy is not only to teach the care of the critically ill surgical patient, but also the integration of care through multiple practitioners in the interdisciplinary process.

The critical care fellow will be directly involved in all phases of care of critically ill surgical patients. The focus of the clinical experience will center around the 16 bed combined STICU with rotations in the 8 bed burn unit, 8 bed neuro intensive care unit, and 8 bed medical intensive care unit. The case mix of the STICU includes approximately 50% trauma patients, 25% neurosurgery patients and 25% general surgery patients. In addition, subspecialty admissions in other surgical subspecialties are admitted to the STICU. Initial resuscitation management of trauma patients is a unique and integral part of the training offered in this surgical critical care fellowship.

Broad opportunities are available for clinical research as well as basic science research. The surgical critical care fellow rounds daily with attending staff and attends weekly conferences that include trauma/critical care, critical care journal club, critical care lecture, grand rounds, and morbidity and mortality conference. Nine months of the one-year fellowship will be spent managing patients in the surgical-trauma intensive care unit, burn intensive care unit or neuro intensive care unit with two months of electives, and one month is allocated toward vacation.

What sets USA apart from other Surgical Critical Care Fellowships is the size of our program. We have a small surgery department and a small hospital, so it is easy to get to know everyone, including the consulting services we work with on a daily basis. This also allows us to have good working relationships with all of the services in the hospital. This small size also allows for more autonomy for the fellow. During the fellowship, we treat our fellow more as junior faculty instead of a PGY6. Lastly, the fellowship is customizable within ACGME standards and can be tailored towards the fellow's future goals.

On behalf of the entire faculty, we appreciate your interest in USA Health University Hospital.


  • Christopher Kinnard, M.D. 
  • Christopher Kinnard, M.D., FACS
    Fellowship Program Director
    Associate Professor
    Trauma and Acute Care
  • Nathan Polite, D.O., FACS, FACOS 
  • Nathan Polite, D.O., FACS, FACOS
    Assistant Program Director
    Associate Professor
    Trauma and Acute Care

▼   Clinical Training

The University of South Alabama Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program was developed with the Surgical-Trauma Intensive Care Unit as the primary area of focus. The rotation schedule includes Nine months of the one-year fellowship will be spent managing patients in the surgical-trauma intensive care unit, burn intensive care unit or neuro intensive care unit with two months of electives. However, the actual number of months spent in the units may be individualized to meet the educational needs of the fellow. While on the STICU Critical Care Service, the fellow will have consulting responsibility for all surgical patients admitted to the STICU. 

It is expected that while on the STICU critical care service, the fellow will round daily with the general surgery residents and use this opportunity to create plans of care for each patient under his/her care in the STICU. A similar process will occur for patients on the neurosurgery service and other specialty surgical services admitting to STICU. Rounds on this service will be conducted by a faculty member with both team and one-on-one interactions occurring on a daily basis. The fellow’s responsibility is to be knowledgeable about every patient on the STICU service and be prepared with a treatment plan for each of these patients.

The surgical critical care fellow may spend at least a one-month rotation in the MICU at the USA Health University Hospital. The MICU is a multi-disciplinary unit that receives all critically ill medical patients for the hospital. The surgical critical care fellow will round daily with the MICU critical care attending staff and will be directly under their supervision while in the MICU. The fellow’s responsibility is to be knowledgeable about every patient on the MICU service and have a treatment plan for each of these patients.

The surgical critical care fellow may spend at least a one-month rotation in the Burn Unit at USA Health University Hospital. The surgical critical care fellow will be involved in all aspects of critical care in the burn unit. As part of the burn team, the fellow will be involved in the initial resuscitation and management of burn patients. The fellow’s responsibility is to be knowledgeable about every patient on the Burn Service and be prepared with have a treatment plan for each of these patients.

▼   Vision, Mission and Program Aims


To create a culture of well-rounded Surgical Critical Care Physicians, who strive to excel in our field for the betterment of the patients we serve.


In accordance with our sponsoring institution's mission to "help people lead longer, better lives," the principle goal of the University of South Alabama Surgical Critical Care Fellowship is to create a family of faculty with the fellow. We work together to provide the best care to critical patients in a healthy and educational working environment that fosters a diverse group of intelligent physicians, excellent critical care surgeons, and tremendous humanitarians capable of becoming surgical critical care leaders in this region and beyond. 

Program Aims

  • Tailor fellowship training to prepare fellows for providing outstanding critical care to patients in a variety of clinical settings from major trauma centers to community hospitals.
  • Train the future leaders in surgical critical care that will advance the science of medicine and promote evidence-based medicine in the region and community in which they serve.
  • Provide a healthy work environment.
▼   Current Fellow

Steven Miller, M.D.Steven Miller, M.D.

Hometown: Louisville, KY

College: University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Medical School: Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Residency: General Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Bio: Dr. Steven Miller graduated from the University of Kansas with Honors in Biochemistry. While at the University of Kansas, he was a member of the KU football team and received the Scholar Athlete Award. He displayed academic excellence and received numerous Dean’s List nominations and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Outside of academics, he was active in student leadership and served as the Social Chairman for his scholarship hall and the Philanthropy Chairman for his fraternity.  Additionally, he was involved in basic science research, which resulted in peer-reviewed publications for his work in Hepatitis C genotyping and mRNA translation in cancer cells.

He subsequently matriculated into Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. During medical school, he was involved in leadership roles for the Student Recruitment and Student Orientation committees. He was also an active member of the Student Section of the American Medical Association and served as the Regional Philanthropy Chairman and the Social Chairman for the national meeting.

Dr. Miller matched into a categorical General Surgery Residency at the University of Cincinnati. During residency, he was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society for his clinical excellence. He was active as a committee member for Resident Education Development, the Resident Selection Committee, and the Surgery Resident Retreat Committee. During his research fellowship, he published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and presented at multiple national conferences for his work on the effect of systemic inflammation on intestinal cytokine production and the integrity of intestinal mucosa. He was elected as an honorary member to the American Association of Thoracic Surgery and was awarded the Outstanding Minimally Invasive Surgery Resident Award from the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons.

He is excited to join the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at USA Health. He was attracted to the program by the people he met during the interview process, based on their welcoming and genuine personalities as well as their interests in community and international outreach, quality improvement, and high-level patient-centered care.  

▼   Application Process

The Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program participates in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). All applicants are considered and appointments are made subject to the rules and regulations of the NRMP.

Interested applicants may apply through the SCC and ACS Fellowship Application Service of the Surgical Critical Care Program Directors Society (SAFAS).     

Applicant qualifications include:

  1. Completion of approved general surgery residency
  2. Alabama license (or eligibility) and Board eligible or certified by the American Board of Surgery

For further information about the fellowship or application process, please contact Ms. Cynthia Dennis at (251) 445-8230 or via email at

▼   Fellowship Training Verification

According to the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, the following fee structure applies to requests for postgraduate training verification:

  • $75.00 – Verification of training dates and/or program completion,  program specifics rotations on training including procedures (if available) to be used for credentialing purposes,  narratives on resident performance on institution or agency's form with a valid authorization for release information. 

Payment by check, cashier check or money order ONLY is to be made Payable To:

South Alabama Medical Science Foundation (SAMSF)

Mail to:

University of South Alabama Department of Surgery
ATTN: Tyronda Rogers
2451 University Hospital Drive, Mastin 711
Mobile, AL 36617

Requests submitted without payment will not be processed. Requests are to be specific and must be accompanied by an authorization for release form. If you have questions you may contact the Surgical Education office at (251) 471-7992 or email Cynthia Dennis at

▼   Contact Information

Mailing Address:
USA Health University Hospital
Surgical Critical Care Fellowship
2451 University Hospital Dr., Mastin 709
Mobile, AL 36617


Christopher Kinnard, M.D.

Christopher Kinnard, M.D., FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Surgical Critical Care Program Director
USA Health University Hospital
Telephone: (251) 471-7992
Fax: (251) 471-7022


Cynthia Dennis

Cynthia Dennis
SCC Fellowship Coordinator 
University of South Alabama
Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care
USA Health University Hospital
Phone: (251) 445-8230
Fax: (251) 471-7022