The Thoracic Surgery Residency Program at the University of Virginia was established in 1955 by Dr. William H. Muller. Our current Thoracic Surgery Residency Program Director is Dr. John Kern, and the Associate Program Director is Dr. Curt Tribble. There are currently four Thoracic Surgery training paradigms at UVA, which include:

  • The Integrated Thoracic Residency Program (I-6): 1 resident per year
  • The Joint Thoracic Residency Program (4-3): 1 resident per year
  • The Traditional Thoracic Residency (2 years of CT training): 1 per year
  • The General Thoracic Track Residency (2 years of CT training): 1 per year

Three residents in some combination of these training paradigms finish each year.
The Traditional Thoracic Residency and the General Thoracic Track Residency have different NRMP Match numbers.

I-6 Program

The Integrated Thoracic Residency Program (I-6) consists of 6 clinical years of training after medical school. Many of the UVA I-6 residents choose to obtain training in surgical research between the first two years of this program and the last four years. The 6 year Integrated Thoracic Surgery Residency program at the University of Virginia was approved January 2011 and is designed for residents entering directly from medical school for training in cardiothoracic surgery. Upon completion of the six year program, residents will be eligible for certification by The American Board of Thoracic Surgery. There is one (1) position each year designated for the I-6 program. The residency program runs concurrently with the nationally recognized and established thoracic surgery residency program.

Joint Thoracic Program

The Joint Thoracic Program (4-3) consists of approximately 4 years of General Surgery and approximately 3 years of Thoracic Surgery training in a program that allows the participating resident to be Board eligible in both Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. All candidates for this program must already be residents in good standing in the UVA General Surgery Residency when the selection process occurs during the third postgraduate year of the General Surgery Residency. The last 2 years of this program are identical to the traditional Thoracic Residency, while the ‘third’ year of training consists of rotations at various levels in the first 5 postgraduate years (about half of which are in the fourth postgraduate year), which include rotations in thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, and critical care.

The Traditional Thoracic Residency

The traditional Thoracic Surgery residency consists of approximately one third general thoracic surgery and two thirds cardiac surgery (including congenital cardiac surgery), while the General Thoracic Track rotations are weighted more towards general thoracic surgery with less emphasis on cardiac surgery.

The trainees for all of these residency tracks have consistently been chosen from amongst the most competitive candidates for Thoracic Surgery training in the country.

All aspects of The University of Virginia Thoracic Surgery Residency Program are accredited by the ACGME Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery.

Most of the cardiothoracic surgical training is based at the University of Virginia Medical Center, with the exception of a few months of training at other locations for the I-6 residents. At the completion of clinical training, residents are eligible for certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. The UVA Thoracic Surgery residents have a legacy of successful performance on their ABTS examinations, and all of our graduates are fully board-certified.

Training in Thoracic Surgery at UVA spans the continuum of care from pre-operative assessment, planning and execution of operations, critical care and post-operative management, and follow up in the outpatient clinics. Residents are exposed to a multitude of new and innovative treatments, such as minimally-invasive adult cardiac surgery, off-pump coronary cases, VATS lobectomies and segmentectomies, advanced laparoscopy and thoracoscopy, aortic stent grafts, ventricular assist devices, and percutaneous valve therapies.

The primary focus of our program is to produce cardiothoracic surgeons who are competitive for both premier academic and private practice jobs at the completion of their training. Our residents are exposed to a high volume of complex cases which ensures a stellar operative and clinical experience. An emphasis of the program is on developing the academic thoracic surgeon who has superb technical skills and solid clinical judgment. Given the high volume of clinical care there is no time for any laboratory research during the senior years of the Thoracic Residency Programs, although clinical projects, papers, and presentations are strongly encouraged and supported.