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Education / Graduate Medical Education / Prospective Fellows / Thoracic Traditional Surgery Fellowship

Thoracic Traditional Surgery Fellowship

Christian Probst at TSDA Boot Camp

Christian Probst at TSDA Boot Camp 2017

The University of Rochester Traditional Thoracic Surgery Fellowship is a fully accredited ACGME two year program dedicated to developing capable, autonomous thoracic surgeons to be leaders in their fields.

This traditional (independent) fellowship in thoracic surgery has a longstanding history of ACGME accreditation.  Dr. George L. Hicks has been the program director since 1991 and serves in this role for both the traditional fellowship and integrated residency at the University of Rochester. The program has approval for both the 5+2 and 4+3 tracks.

The program is based entirely at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital with rotations on thoracic/foregut surgery, adult cardiac surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery.

At the time of a recent ACGME self-study site visit there was one PGY-6 fellow enrolled in the 4+3 track and the program is approved for an additional thoracic surgery fellow every other year.   The most recent graduates of the traditional fellowship completed the program in 2018.

Dr. Sunil M. Prasad was appointed Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery which consists of four adult and two pediatric cardiac surgeons. Dr. Carolyn Jones is Chief of the Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery comprised of four surgeons. 

Program Aims

Christian Probst presented with the Chief Resident Teaching Award 2017 – 2018.

Our Fellow, Christian Probst Presented with
Chief Resident Teaching Award 2017 – 2018

The program has four primary aims that include:

  • Provision of robust clinical experience for fellows interested in a career in thoracic surgery involving OR, out-patient experience, CVICU experience, in-patient care and evaluations to develop confident, capable and autonomous CT surgeons.
    • The clinical rotations emphasize fellow participation and the mastery of basic skills in both Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery. These opportunities include Catheterization Laboratory, Vascular Surgery, Echocardiography, Pulmonary Lab, Manometry Lab and the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. The fellows have a unique experience in the CVICU providing primary care for patients in that unit. The program provides an extensive experience in Thoracic Surgery with over 1,000 clinical cases per year plus 2,000 cases of bronchoscopic evaluation and esophageal manometry.  Likewise on the Cardiac side over 1,000 pump cases are performed both in adult and in pediatric Cardiac Surgery with significant emphasis on complex cases, cardiogenic shock, use of ECMO, implantation of left ventricular assist devices and transplantation.
  • Promotion of a supportive environment to allow recognition and prevention of faculty, fellow or staff burn-out to maximize retention and productivity. 
    • Need to provide shared goals and hopes with ability to develop leadership programs relevant to role in program
    • Enhance the effectiveness of faculty's skills as educators
    • Teams of Residents, NPs, PAs and Medical Students
  • Systematic use of Milestones by fellow as a self-assessment tool.
    • Use Milestone assessment to measure individual fellow progress for discussion with program director. Have fellow develop a self-learning plan where they address what they feel are deficits and how to strengthen their skills in those areas.
  • Promotion of a safety first culture
    • Promote a safety first culture in which information is not lost during shift changes or patient transfers. Patients are fully informed of respective roles of faculty/fellows. Fellows actively participate in quality improvement or patient safety activities.


Our Facilities

Strong Memorial Hospital

Strong Memorial HospitalOne of the nation's top academic medical centers, the University of Rochester Medical Center forms the centerpiece of the University's health research, teaching, patient care, and community outreach missions. With more than $145 million in federal research funding, UR School of Medicine research funding ranks in the top one-quarter of U.S. medical centers, while the School of Nursing ranks 12th highest in funding. The University's health care delivery network is anchored by Strong Memorial Hospital—a 739-bed, University-owned teaching hospital—which boasts programs that consistently rank among "America's Best Hospitals," according to U.S. News & World Report.

Our Program Focus

  • Residents will receive training of the highest caliber by Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery faculty of Strong Memorial Hospital that are strongly committed to prepare them for practice, teaching, and research in their future careers. 
  • All training is designed to promote six broad goals based on the six ACGME core competencies and the ABTS core Milestones and Life Learning competencies .
  • All residents are continuously evaluated to ensure educational, technical, and professional progress throughout their training paradigm.
  • Our program provides our residents with progressive responsibility at all levels, with emphasis placed on academic knowledge and accomplishment as well as expertise in patient care. Graded responsibility under appropriate attending supervision is delegated to residents based on demonstrated capability in order to provide quality patient care in addition to excellent training.

Contact Information

Attn: Ms. Rachel Zapata-Bermudez
Department of Cardiac Surgery
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box SURG
Rochester, NY 14620

Phone: (585) 275-1510

Program Director: George L. Hicks, M.D.