Cardiothoracic surgeons receive fellowship grants for new robotic programs

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)-;along with its charitable arm, The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF), recently awarded $125,000 in fellowship grants to five standout cardiothoracic surgeons interested in launching new robotic cardiac surgery programs at their institutions.

TSF President Dr. Joe Bavaria and I had a vision to improve education and training by creating a partnership between STS, leading robotic cardiac surgeons, and industry. Our first step was to start a series of clinical symposia, and now TSF has established the next phase: fellowships for practicing surgeons to learn robotic cardiac surgery from the masters."

T. Sloane Guy, MD, MBA, chair of STS Task Force on Robotic Surgery

The Advanced Robotic Cardiac Surgery Fellowship-;available for the first time in 2019-;recognizes surgeons who are excelling in innovation and who demonstrate commitment to a cardiac care future that includes robotic technology.

In fact, to even apply, surgeons and their first assistants must have attended an STS Workshop on Robotic Cardiac Surgery.

The grant allows the award recipients, who were selected through a rigorous and competitive process, to offset costs associated with the initiation of high-quality robotic cardiac surgery programs at their home institutions.

Under this fellowship, the surgeons will choose to learn either coronary artery bypass grafting or mitral valve repair using a robotic surgical system.

The surgeon fellows are assigned to STS proctors, who also will serve as their primary mentors-sponsors. In addition to working closely with these mentors-;who are surgeons from high-volume training institutions-;the fellows will have the opportunity to attend a surgeon-led procedure training course.

The recipients of the Advanced Cardiac Robotic Surgery Fellowship are:

George M. Comas, MD, St. John Health System in Tulsa, OK

Tom C. Nguyen, MD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston

Matthew A. Romano, MD, University of Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor

Phillip G. Rowse, MD, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

Moritz C. Wyler von Ballmoos, MD, PhD, MPH, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, TX

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