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Goals and Objectives

The curriculum is based on the Thoracic Surgery Curriculum developed by the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association (TSDA- and the Joint Council on Thoracic Surgery Education (JCTSE), hosted on-line at and based on the objectives established by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. This is a new online curriculum that addresses most of the medical knowledge and some patient care competencies. Local courses produced by UTMD Anderson addresses additional competencies in communication, practice-based learning, system-based practice, and professionalism.

Additional instruction in patient care and to a lesser degree medical knowledge comes through clinical cases delivered by the trainees. Faculty supervision is one-on-one in the first year with an increasing graded level of responsibility that is commensurate with the abilities of the trainee as they move towards completion of their training. Trainees are, of course, expected to perform those operations appropriate with their skill level but are also required to participate in the clinic at least once a week and work with the mid level providers to deliver efficient, timely, evidence-based and cost-effective postoperative care.

Rotations & Educational Conferences

The rotations are structured to allow trainees to gain exposure to the various clinical materials necessary to gain competence in all six core competencies. Rotation structure is based on educational needs as the primary determinant and is organized to fit the specific needs of the general thoracic track and the cardiothoracic track position. Service needs are achieved through the judicious use of mid level providers.

The small group teaching session is a 1 year repeating curriculum and has 16 sessions assigned to General Thoracic Surgery, 18 to Cardiac Surgery, and 7 simulation labs, along with two mock oral exams built into the curriculum. Each session will be moderated by at least one faculty member. Readings will be assigned, and the focus of the two hour session will be on clinical decision making. Simulation sessions are built into the curriculum.

The multidisciplinary conferences and the morbidity and mortality conferences are self-evident. The weekly case presentations at MD Anderson allows trainees to choose a topic of their choice based on a recent clinical scenario. The evaluation and management of the patient are reviewed and expanded upon. In addition, there is a monthly journal club that is somewhat unique in that its primary goal is to develop the tools necessary to access the literature and perform an evidence based analysis of clinical questions.

Participation of two faculty librarians is a key feature of journal club. All incoming trainees spend four sessions reviewing the basics of designing and evidence based search, conducting the search using existing Internet-based search engines and assessing the quality of the literature. The remaining monthly meetings are then led by the trainees who pose their own clinical question, perform the literature search and then present the findings. The librarians participate at these meeting by presenting their approach to literature search and the surgical faculty assists in assessing the quality of the literature.

Resident Supervision

Resident supervision is available 24/7. Residents are encouraged to call with any and all questions. Pager, cellular and home telephone numbers for each of the faculty will be provided.

Duty Hours

The program complies fully with all ACGME requirements regarding duty hours.

On-Call Activities

All ACGME requirements regarding on-call duties are adopted. At-home call is monitored both to record duty hours and for signs of abuse that would lead to diminished quality of care. The majority of call is home-call.


No moonlighting is allowed during the two-year residency at MD Anderson.


Beginning July 1, 2014, Thoracic Surgery will be a part of the Next Accreditation System (NAS) by the ACGME.  Along with case logs, duty hours, and the annual resident survey we will now have multiple direct observation of clinical activity to provide data for assessment of trainee’s milestones.  Milestones are calculated and assigned for each trainee every six (6) months by the Clinical Competency Committee (CCC).

Personal review with the program director is performed biannually. Faculty is evaluated at the end of each rotation, but the evaluations are released at six-month intervals to protect the anonymity of the residents. Evaluations by rotating residents are included to further protect the identity of our residents. Program evaluations are also performed every four months (to match the rotating resident schedule).


Fellows in the program will be provided with the following amenities:

  • Books for the small group teaching sessions
  • Laptop computer provided during the two years
  • iPad provided during the two years
  • Statistical support within the department
  • Database within the department
  • Funded trip to the Doty course
  • Funded trip for presentation at any national meetings
  • Funded trip to a national meeting in the second year


Learn more about MD Anderson, training programs, the Texas Medical Center and the City of Houston:

  • GME Resources: Information for MD Anderson fellows, including e-forms, visa requirements, benefits and the GME Training Manual
  • Trainee Survival Guide: Information about the city of Houston, housing, transportation and more
  • MD Anderson e-Tour: An on-line virtual tour of the MD Anderson campus

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