Education & Training

Program History

The Thoracic Surgery Residency Training Program began at Baylor University Medical Center in the 1960s under the direction of several private thoracic surgeons. It was relocated in the early 1970s to UT Southwestern and was based at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Children’s Medical Center, and the VA Medical Center. In 1998, the Training Program expanded from a two-year to a three-year program and included both UT Southwestern University Hospitals.

Today, two cardiothoracic surgeons complete the Residency Program each academic year, and all have gone on to practice in communities throughout Texas and beyond. The Residency Training Program has consistently received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery.

Aims of Program

  • Produce physicians who are well-versed in all the contemporary aspects of both cardiac and thoracic surgery at the time of completion of their residency training.
  • Attract and train highly qualified residents from a diverse set of ACGME accredited general surgery residency programs.
  • Prepare residents for thoracic board certification and independent clinic practice, fellowship training, or academic careers per their own preferences.
  • Educate residents in the principles of high value care, health care disparities, and population health management.
  • Offer and educational environment based on ACGME and ABTS guidelines that guides our residents in gaining knowledge, confidence, and competence to become well-rounded clinicians, lifelong learners, and future leaders in their field of practice.

Participating Training Sites

The Residency Program in Thoracic Surgery at UT Southwestern provides clinical training in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery and general thoracic surgery. Our traditional three-year training program begins on August 1 of each year and concludes on July 31. Residents rotate through:

William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital

Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Children’s Healthâ„ 

Residents participate in more than 1,700 major thoracic and cardiovascular procedures during their training. Our program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for Thoracic Surgery.


The curriculum includes both clinical teaching (in the operating room, on the wards, and in the outpatient clinics), and classroom didactics (lectures, small group discussions, and simulation). In addition, we encourage trainees to engage in courses offered by industry, our professional societies, and other institutions when appropriate. We encourage clinical research or quality improvement projects with our faculty’s supervision to help create well-rounded academic surgeons. Our curriculum is based on the ACGME milestones, and supplemented by additional goals that are identified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

All of these objectives are based on the six core competencies required by the ACGME:

  • Patient Care and Technical Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based Practice

Clinical Teaching

The fundamental goal for our Thoracic Surgery training program is to train residents to become competent thoracic surgeons. This is done through a system of graded responsibility and varied clinical experiences. Below is the typical time each resident will spend at each training site based on each year of training:

Year 1

Adult Cardiac at CUH- 4 months

General Thoracic at CUH- 2 months

Adult Cardiac and General Thoracic at the VA- 4 months

Congenital Cardiac at CMC- 1 month

Perfusion/Echo at CUH- 1 month

Year 2

Adult Cardiac at CUH- 4 months

General Thoracic at CUH- 2 months

Adult Cardiac and General Thoracic at the VA- 4 months

Congenital Cardiac at CMC- 2 months 

Year 3

Adult Cardiac at CUH- 4 months

General Thoracic at CUH- 2 months

Adult Cardiac and General Thoracic at the VA- 4 months

Elective- 2 months


Our Thoracic Surgery program is committed to providing an outstanding didactic curriculum to complement clinical teaching. All members of the cardiac and thoracic surgery faculty are full participants in the didactics curriculum. Below is a listing of educational activities provided:

  • Cardiothoracic Teaching Conferences
  • Multi-disciplinary Conferences
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery M&M Conferences
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Journal Club
  • Department Academic Meetings
  • Simulation Labs

Program Teaching Faculty

Diversity and Inclusion

UT Southwestern values diversity and inclusion because it enhances the educational experience of our students and enriches the Medical Center community. Welcoming a diverse student body is imperative as we strive to provide our state with health care professionals who mirror the population they serve. In the School of Health Professions, we are committed to building an inclusive and diverse community dedicated to excellence, equity, and respect for all persons.

We are committed to attracting and maintaining a high level of diversity within our student body. To meet this goal, we offer programs and organizations that support the needs and career aspirations of our students, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups.

The UT Southwestern Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is dedicated to helping ensure our students’ success. The Office promotes effective communication with minority students, supports student organizations, and maintains contact with faculty and appropriate departments. The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion serves all the students of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Students in the Medical School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Health Professions benefit from the programs and activities offered by the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion to enhance students’ learning and social environment.