Thoracic Surgery Fellowship

Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship  

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. In 2015, we performed nearly 1,500* open heart surgeries. 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.

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

Hear From Our Program Director

Tomasz Timek, MD, program director of the thoracic surgery fellowship, discusses highlights of training at Spectrum Health.

For Applicants

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)

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:
  • 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
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.
  • Six months thoracic
  • 15 months cardiac surgery
  • Three months pediatric/adult congenital heart

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: Three blocks
  • Cardiac: Six blocks
  • Pediatric/congenital heart: Three blocks

Second Year
  • Thoracic: Three blocks
  • Cardiac: Nine 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.
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. 
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.

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