Thoracic Surgery In The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery



We offer two ACGME-approved residency programs that lead to eligibility to become board certified in thoracic surgery:

For medical students, we offer a six-year Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgical Program (two positions per year) that provides training in all areas of the specialty but is particularly designed to train individuals who will ultimately focus in cardiac surgery.

For surgery residents, we offer a two-year “general thoracic track” program (one position per year) that also provides training in all areas but is particularly designed to train individuals who will ultimately focus in thoracic surgery and receive certification via the “General Thoracic Surgery Pathway.”

For Medical Students: Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgical Program

Reason's why this program is unique:

Our program meets the needs of tomorrow’s CT surgeon in less time. This program can be completed in less time than the current training paradigm that requires completion of general surgical training prior to commencing a two- to three-year cardiothoracic surgical residency. Despite the fact that six years of post-graduate residency specialty training still represents a major time investment, having the entire residency dedicated to what the trainees will be doing for the rest of their careers will produce better trained surgeons and be more gratifying for the trainees. 

Our program focuses on the evolution of cardiothoracic surgery. The field of cardiothoracic surgery has evolved tremendously over the decades, offering patients many more open and non-invasive treatment options for all intra-thoracic diseases. As technology relentlessly evolves, conventional open surgical treatments are giving way to less invasive strategies, more frequently involving percutaneous devices (such as coronary artery stents, peripheral arterial stenting, and endovascular stent-grafts for aneurysmal disease) or robotic or videoscopic/thoracoscopic/endoscopic tools for minimal access approaches.

Our program recognizes the importance of resident work/life balance. This integrated curriculum will proffer less onerous work weeks and a healthier lifestyle balance for the residents. With the emphasis on multi-disciplinary training, enhanced teamwork, and less burdensome staffing demands, compliance with resident duty hour limitations will be enhanced.

For more information, please visit the Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgical Program webpage.

For Surgery Residents: General Thoracic Track Program

The General Thoracic Track Program lasts two years and begins after successful completion of a five-year surgery training program. Application is made during the fall of the fourth clinical year of surgery training. The program is designed to train individuals in all areas of clinical thoracic surgery as well as to involve residents in clinical research in thoracic surgery. It is expected that the trainee will obtain sufficient operative experience in general thoracic surgery to receive the ABTS certification via the “General Thoracic Surgery Pathway.”

Clinical Training

Residents will spend approximately twelve months of their training on thoracic surgery rotations, approximately ten months on cardiac surgery rotations, and approximately two months in thoracic transplantation. There will be some flexibility to alter this basic plan according to resident interest. Ten of the twelve general thoracic months are planned to be at Stanford Hospital, with two months at Cedars Sinai Medical Center working with Rob McKenna. There may also be a possibility for additional general thoracic experience at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System. The cardiac surgery rotations will be approximately equally split between Kaiser Santa Clara and Stanford Hospital, and the transplant rotation will be at Stanford.

Thoracic Surgery Faculty

Cedars Sinai

All Thoracic Surgery attendings limit their practice to general thoracic surgery. They have all trained at leading thoracic surgery centers (Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, Brigham and Womens' Hospital, and Duke University) and have substantial expertise between them covering all of the subspecialties and advanced techniques within the field.

Clinical Exposure

Residents will be exposed to all areas of clinical general thoracic surgery, including both benign and malignant diseases. Both knowledge base and technical expertise will be developed. In addition to basic procedures, such as “open” lobectomy, esophagectomy, thymectomy, sympathectomy, etc., trainees will have extensive exposure to advanced procedures that are performed in only a handful of centers nationally. These procedures include: sleeve lobectomy, VATS (thoracoscopic) lobectomy, minimally invasive (thoracoscopic/laparoscopic) esophagectomy, anterior approaches to Pancoast tumors, lung volume reduction surgery, transcervical thymectomy, laparoscopic Nissen and paraesophageal hernia repair, lung transplantation, etc. It is expected that residents will finish the program with complete, independent facility in the cognitive and technical aspects of performing all of these procedures.

Conference Schedule

Mondays, 7 AM:
  • Faculty-led interactive CT Surgery teaching conference (cardiac and thoracic) (3/month)
  • CT Surgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference (1/month)
  • General Surgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference (1/month)
Monday, 6 PM:
  • CT Surgery Journal Club (1/month)
Tuesdays, 2 PM:
  • Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board
Wednesdays, 1 PM:
  • Pulmonary Case Conference
Thursdays, 7 AM:
  • Thoracic Surgery Case Conference (2/month)
  • Thoracic Oncology Research Conference (1/month)
  • Thoracic Surgery Divisional Administrative Meeting (1/month)
Every 3 months:
  • GI combined Surgical/Medical Conference

Research Experience

In preparation for a career in academic general thoracic surgery, an important part of the program will be resident involvement in clinical research. Each resident will choose a faculty member/mentor with whom to develop at least one clinical research project that can be carried out during the course of the residency. It is hoped that presentation at a major national meeting and ultimate publication will set the resident on a course to incorporate research into his/her career.

Benefits & Housing

Salary and Benefits

  • Hospital and major medical insurance for self and dependents
  • Dental insurance for self and children (available for spouse at your expense)
  • Vision and mental health coverage
  • Three weeks vacation per year

Departmental Reimbursement

  • Loupes
  • $5,000 per year housing supplementation

Hospital Reimbursement

  • New California license fee ($800+)
    Note: MUST be licensed in California before commencement of training at Stanford
  • Renewal of California license
  • Relocation costs not to exceed $3,000 (This amount is also taxed)
  • On-call meal allowance for in-house coverage
  • Educational benefit allowance of $2,000 per year

Stanford West Apartments Information

Stanford West Apartments

Stanford West is a 628-unit residential community of apartments and townhomes that opened in 2001. It is University-owned and is located on the northwest side of the Stanford campus, adjacent to the San Francisquito Creek and trail. Virtually everything you need for daily living is easily accessible by bike, on foot, or on the Stanford Marguerite Shuttle. Each apartment has a one-car garage, washer-dryer, and (for a fee) direct connection to SUNet, Stanford's computer network. A beautiful community center includes a lounge, pool, fitness center, and business center. Our campus is also home to the Stanford University Golf Course, which is consistently rated one of the finest courses in the world.

For more information and to view the picture gallery, please visit the Stanford West website.

How to Apply

General surgery residents apply to the program by February 15 of their fourth year of clinical surgery training. These applications will be via ERAS for positions starting July, one year and five months later, and they will be offered via the NRMP (use program code 1820460F0 when applying).

Please contact for additional information. Your application materials should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letters of recommendation from two surgeons and your program director
  • All ABME and surgery in-training exam scores
  • Medical school transcript and dean’s letter
  • A brief statement about why you have chosen general thoracic surgery

Mailing address:

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Falk Building
870 Quarry Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Attn: Stephanie Harrington, Residency Coordinator

Resources for Surgery Residents

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: