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Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery Observer

The Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery participates in the Observership program designed by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Observership program is for academicians and educational trainees who are interested in observing surgical procedures in our department. This is a one-way relationship in that we provide service to the trainees; they do not provide service to us. This is a hands-in-pocket training experience. Observation only.

There are two types of observership programs offered at MD Anderson: a Short-term Observer and an Observer. 

Observership program requirements in the Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery

  • Must demonstrate proficiency in English
  • The maximum appointment for an Observer is three months
  • If approved, there is a fee in the amount of $200 per day up to $1,000 per month
  • White lab coat required (Department will provide scrubs for the operating room)

After the Department receives your application and required documents, they will be distributed to the faculty for review and to establish a faculty sponsor. Once there is a sponsor the application and documents will be presented to the monthly Faculty Meeting for final departmental approval.

If your application is approved

  • The Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery will recommend you for an educational appointment.
  • Your application and supporting documents will be sent to Office of Trainee and Alumni Affairs.  If approved as a Short-Term Observer, you will receive an email from TAA with a copy of your approved application. As an Observer, you will be sent an appointment letter signed by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • The Visa and Immigration Services Administration Office (V.I.S.A.) can help you secure a Visa, if applicable. Non-U.S. citizens, including permanent residents, are required to check in with V.I.S.A. before the first day of the appointment. V.I.S.A is located at Pickens Academic Tower, 1400 Pressler Street, Suite 6.5000, Houston, TX. Phone: 713-792-1112; e-mail: Non-U.S. citizens should bring all original immigration documents.
  • All short-term observers and observers (regardless of citizenship) must check in with Trainee & Alumni Affairs (TAA) after they clear V.I.S.A. TAA is located in the Pickens Academic Tower, 1400 Pressler Street, Suite 7.5000, Houston, TX. Phone: 713-792-2696, e-mail: Please have your Visa and Immigration Services Administration Office clearance documents and passport for verification when you check in. Non-U.S. citizens must present the clearance forms they received from the V.I.S.A.
  • After you check in with the Office of International Affairs and Trainee and Alumni Affairs, please report to the Program Coordinator’s Office, Faculty Center, 1400   Holcombe Blvd., 9th Floor, Rm. FC9-2006.
  • Short-term Observers and Observers will need to bring the required fee in a money order or a cashier’s check payable to MD Anderson Cancer Center to Judy Corke, Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery, 1400 Holcombe, Faculty Center, 9th floor, FC9.2000.

The Clinical Instructor and the Program Coordinator will design a program for the observer during his/her appointment. Learn more about our observership curriculum (PDF). 

If you have any questions, please contact program coordinator Judy Corke at or 713-563-1975.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center