Thoracic surgery fellowship

Surgeons working on a patient

We are pleased to introduce the Spectrum Health/Michigan State University Thoracic Surgery Fellowship at the Spectrum Health Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are committed to providing the best academic and clinical training program for our fellows. This two-year Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education program prepares our physicians for certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

Spectrum Health has the highest-volume cardiac surgery program in Michigan. To see our latest outcomes and quality data, download our 2018 heart, lung and vascular outcomes report. Fellows enjoy opportunities to learn in a state-of-the-art facility providing innovative cardiovascular care. From open heart surgery and transplant to minimally invasive interventions, our physicians and clinical teams are experienced in blending individualized patient plans with a complete dedication to quality outcomes.


At our Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine thoracic surgery fellowship program, we are committed to providing the best academic and clinical training program for our fellows.

Our passion is teaching, and the entire program is designed with the fellow in mind. Fellows train at the largest medical center in West Michigan. As a fellow in our program, you will pursue your passions in clinical and academic cardiac and general thoracic surgery. Additionally, you will have research opportunities to engage in, with exposure to innovative clinical and translational research studies on a national level.

Spectrum Health is a nationally recognized, high-quality center with high clinical volume allowing physicians to perform innovative surgical procedures and advanced techniques, reassuring patients they are receiving the best clinical care from some of the most experienced and skilled surgeons in the world. We have among the highest clinical volumes in the state of Michigan for left ventricular assist device (LVAD), transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), valvular and coronary surgery. Our tremendous procedural volumes enable our fellows to be exposed to complex adult and congenital cases while maintaining the highest-quality outcomes and an exceptional patient experience.

Our dynamic conference series focuses on the fellows' educational needs, attending physicians, residents, medical students and staff. Fellows also have the opportunity to be part of quality improvement programs, internal and external lecture series with international experts, and cardiovascular-based journal clubs and participate in and lead educational conferences.

The goal of the thoracic surgery faculty is to make your fellowship training the best in the country. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Tomasz Timek, MD, PhD
Spectrum Health Medical Group
Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute
Program Director, Thoracic Surgery Fellowship
Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Associate Professor of Surgery, Michigan State University


Program Aims

  • Able to perform routine operations common to cardiac and thoracic surgery independently
  • Have the experience to perform more complex cardiac and thoracic surgery cases
  • Competent and comfortable managing patients in all phases of care
  • Continue to develop in professionalism and leadership at the local and national level

    Clinical Environment

    Spectrum Health offers a wide breadth of cardiology, cardiothoracic and vascular services. Through Spectrum Health’s partnership with Michigan State University-College of Human Medicine, fellows are surrounded by an academic environment including residents and medical students. Fellows will also enjoy opportunities to learn in a state-of-the-art facility providing innovative cardiovascular care.

    Our experts use a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to care. Formal heart team meetings allow our doctors and clinicians to develop treatment plans unique to each patient. Our mortality rate (1.9 percent*) is below the national average for all cardiac surgeries. Spectrum Health has reduced the extubation times after cardiac surgery. Our process improvement efforts have allowed us to successfully reduce ventilation times in more than 73 percent of our patients to six hours or less.*

    *Volume and quality data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS Registry)

    As a nationally recognized health care system, Spectrum Health provides high-quality clinical care to thousands of patients each year. Here are some of our clinical volumes from calendar year 2018.

    Cardiothoracic Surgeries
    Cardiac Surgery1,504
    Thoracic Surgery436
    Heart Transplant19
    Lung Transplant31
    Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)43
    Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
    Structural Heart


    The curriculum of the cardiothoracic surgery fellowship training program is designed to meet the goals delineated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and prepares our physicians for certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. The 24-month core curriculum gives exposure to the essential rotations in cardiothoracic surgery.

    Sample Rotation

    Fellows participate in outpatient clinics half day per week and take call during the entire three years. Call is Q4 weekdays and Q4 weekends. The below rotation schedule is a suggested two year schedule:

    First year

    • Thoracic: 3 blocks
    • Cardiac: 7 blocks
    • Pediatric/congenital heart: 3 blocks

    Second Year

    • Thoracic: 3 blocks
    • Cardiac: 10 blocks


    Education has been a long-standing mission of Spectrum Health/Michigan State University and Spectrum Health/Frederik Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute. Faculty have designed a dedicated lecture series designed for fellows addressing basic management of all aspects of cardiology specifically geared towards fellows during their first few months of training. In addition, the faculty has a list of conferences throughout the year that fellows, attendings and staff are expected to attend.


    At the Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute our cardiology faculty is actively involved in innovative clinical research. Clinical research is a part of our key strategic vision at Spectrum Health and cardiovascular has an active research portfolio that focuses on industry clinical trials, pre-clinical animal studies and investigator-initiated studies. We have a large cardiovascular research department which provides support to our physicians, and includes research nurses, coordinators, and assistants; statisticians; budget negotiations and financial analysis; and Q&A. The Heart and Vascular Institute works in collaboration with numerous institutions across the globe, including the Magdi Yacoub Institute, Van Andel Research Institute, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University and the DeVos Cardiovascular Research Program.

    Cardiovascular Simulation Center

    Spectrum Health opened a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art dedicated cardiovascular simulation center in July 2017. The simulation center will train and educate future physician leaders and staff by utilizing innovative simulation, applied experiential learning, and hands-on technology to improve patient safety and outcomes. By providing medical education in a supportive, controlled environment, clinicians will master key competencies and skills with zero risk to patients. The Spectrum Health Cardiovascular Simulation Center features:

    Monitor room to view fellows, residents and staff
    Simulation Center conference rooms
    • 2,700 square feet, with a flexible design for education, training and outreach
    • A simulation operating room to support complex procedures allowing fellows to practice multidisciplinary patient care transitions
    • An operating room procedural monitor room that allows the viewing of fellows, residents and staff, and controlling high-fidelity simulation
    • Technology equipment linked for two-way communication between the hybrid and simulation OR
    • A flexible conference space for didactics and training, hosting outside partners
    • Viewing into the hybrid and simulation operating room utilizing information system equipment
    • A flexible wet lab space for smaller simulation equipment and potential for “wet tissue” training
    • A dedicated study space for residents and fellows to use throughout their training
    Study space for residents and fellows to use

    Application Requirements

    All applications need to be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service. Please be advised of the following:

    • Applicants must have completed an ACGME-accredited residency program, or an RCPSC-accredited or CFPC-accredited residency program located in Canada.
    • All applicants must possess U.S. work authorization or be eligible for J-1 status

    For more information on our program, contact Angela Schuett, program coordinator.

    Salary and Benefits

    Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our residents, staff and their families. In addition, our program provides educational monies to support your ongoing education. Download our salary and benefits document to learn more.
    Sky view of Grand Rapids

    West Michigan - A Great Place to Call Home

    As the second largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids is an amazing place to work, live, play and explore. This vibrant city is known for some of the best festivals in the world, like ArtPrize, and is only a short 45 minute drive to Lake Michigan. The city has been recognized by numerous sources, including The New York Times, where Grand Rapids was ranked as one of the 52 Places to Go. Additionally, Thrillist considers Grand Rapids the best food city in the state of Michigan, and in 2018, Trulia chose Grand Rapids as the Hottest Real Estate Market to Watch in the country. Grand Rapids is a city with endless experiences for people of every age.

    Program Director

    Associate Program Director

    Core Faculty

    Class of 2023

    M. Neal Foley, DO
    M. Neal Foley, DO

    General Surgery: HCA Healthcare Sunrise Health

    Class of 2022

    Pulkesh Bhatia, MBBS
    Pulkesh Bhatia, MBBS

    General Surgery: Creighton University Medical Center

    Jordan Groskurth, MD
    Jordan Groskurth, MD

    General Surgery: University of Kansas - Wichita

    Ready to Apply?

    We participate in the National Resident Matching Program and use the Electronic Residency Application Service.