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Medical Students

medical students collaborating
Our department provides a variety of medical student training programs, including experiences in each year of medical school and research opportunities.

M4 Experiences

The objective of this externship is to provide KU School of Medicine students and visiting medical students with advanced experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery.  Students will spend three weeks with the plastic surgery service at KUMC and one week at Children’s Mercy Hospital. This will allow the student to experience the full breadth and diversity of cases our program has to offer. Students will participate in the management of plastic surgery conditions in a role similar to that of a resident. Visiting medical students will also be expected to attend the weekly conference, held every Monday from 4-6:30 p.m. In the final week, rotating fourth-year students will be expected to prepare a brief presentation on a topic of their choice, in collaboration with a faculty member, to present to the department. 

For more information, visit the Information for Visiting Medical Students and the Plastic Surgery Externship.

This rotation is offered to fourth year KU School of Medicine medical students and emphasizes the care of burn patients ranging from outpatient treatment to ICU-level care.  The experience includes the floor and ICU-level burn patients along with extensive operative experience. The OR experience includes a combination of acute burn surgery, burn reconstruction and surgery for complex wounds including flaps. The burn service is made up of a collaborative team of plastic and trauma/critical care surgeons, as well as a dedicated burn fellow, a PGY-1 or PGY-2 plastic surgery resident and two advanced placement providers.

The department of plastic surgery is pleased to offer a scholarship for fourth-year medical students from under-represented groups within plastic surgery. This scholarship supports travel expenses and includes a stipend for a four-week immersive clinical experience within our department and is awarded to up to three students each academic year.

Learn more about the Visiting Student Externship Diversity Scholarship and apply.

M3 Experiences

The Department of Plastic Surgery offers a three-week elective to M3 students at KUMC during their junior surgery clerkship. During this rotation, students will learn about the diagnosis and comprehensive management of plastic surgery patients. The scope of operations performed by plastic surgeons is extremely broad; students will be able to participate in: facial trauma, hand trauma, wound care, congenital deformities and reconstructive operations. Students will spend time both in the clinic and in the operating room. Students will also be expected to attend weekly conference held every Monday from 4-6:30 p.m.

Contact Kendra Harms to set up a brief meeting for your evaluation during the last week of your rotation with Dr. Lai or Dr. De Souza.

M1 and M2 Experience

This enrichment experience will provide students with an opportunity to spend one week within the Department of Plastic Surgery.  Students will be exposed to the broad range of plastic surgery, including reconstructive and cosmetic procedures ranging from head and neck, upper and lower extremity and torso surgery in both adult and pediatric patients.  They will spend time in the plastic surgery outpatient clinics, as well as the operating rooms at The University of Kansas Health System’s main campus and Indian Creek campus. Students will have opportunities to learn about the management of inpatient and outpatient plastic surgery procedures. Focuses will be placed on learning practical anatomy, associating knowledge gained from course work to real-time operations, fundamentals of surgery and developing basic suturing techniques.

The plastic surgery interest group at KUMC offers students the opportunity to learn more about plastic and reconstructive surgery. A student-led and -organized group, the topics are at the discretion of the interest group.  Faculty and residents from the KUMC Department of Plastic Surgery routinely visit the group to present information about the specialty, the department and also provide suturing workshops. Annually, sessions are held on plastic surgery as a discipline, international volunteerism and preparing to apply for residency.  As a perk, food is always provided!

plastic surgery interest group meeting

The Department of Plastic Surgery is pleased to offer diversity scholarships designed to provide an opportunity for medical students from underrepresented groups to have intensive summer experiences in research (MS 1/2) and clinical rotations (M3/4). Additional goals include facilitating appropriate networking opportunities and helping with career planning. Recipients will be paired with faculty and resident mentors. The application period runs from December 1 to March 1 for the upcoming academic year, and scholarships will be awarded during the month of March. Travel costs from each recipient's home or medical school to and from Kansas City will be provided by the department, along with lodging and a living stipend.

Learn more about the scholarship and to apply.


The Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Kansas offers research opportunities for medical students throughout the year.  We perform a variety of clinical, translational and basic science research, and we routinely work with medical students in all phases of the research process.  Students gain experience in plastic surgery, IRB protocol development, database building, statistical analysis and scientific writing. For further information, please omplete the  Plastic Surgery Research Inquiry Form for more information.

Student Resources

Contact Information

Clerkship Directors:
Eric C. Lai, M.D.
Michelle De Souza, M.D.

Residency Coordinator:
Kendra Harms

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Plastic, Burn and Wound Surgery
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 3015
Kansas City, KS 66160