Traditional Cardiac Surgery Fellowship

General Thoracic Surgery Track

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.

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.

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.

Thoracic Surgery Faculty

All of our 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.


Cedars Sinai

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

Benefits & Housing

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 Stephanie Harrington 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

Current General Thoracic Surgery Fellows

Doug Liou - Incoming July 2016

David Demos - PGY7

Undergraduate: Michigan State University
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine

What do you enjoy most about thoracic surgery as a career?
"Thoracic surgery is one of the most diverse surgical subspecialties, equipping the surgeon with skills to perform both simple and highly complex operations in multiple areas of the body. The variety is refreshing and invigorating."

What do you enjoy most about training at Stanford?
"I look forward to the thorough, complete training that Stanford provides to be capable of handling any and all surgical diseases of the chest."

Mathieu Rousseau - PGY8

Quick Links

Our Thoracic Faculty

Joseph Shrager, MD

Professor and Thoracic Surgery Division Chief
Director, General Thoracic Track Program

Mark Berry, MD

Associate Professor

Leah Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS

Associate Professor