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The Thoracic Surgery Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) offers a two-year thoracic-track training program through a joint ACGME-accredited program with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College (NYPH/WCMC). This program was established by the late Dr. Robert Ginsberg in 1990, with the intention to train the future leaders in general thoracic surgery, and was one of the first programs in the country to provide this focus. This legacy continues today under the leadership of Dr. David Jones, Chief of Service, and Dr. James Huang, Program Director. The residency includes broad exposure to thoracic disease, including pulmonary, esophageal, mediastinal, pleural, pericardial, and chest wall pathologies. With the volume and breadth of operative cases, the dedication to teaching, and the structured didactic element, this program offers the trainee an intense and unparalleled experience.
Each year, the program accepts one thoracic-track resident through the MSKCC mechanism, which carries a separate National Resident Matching Program code from the two cardiothoracic positions offered through NYPH/WCMC. This individual will have completed general surgery training by the time of matriculation and should be board eligible or board certified by the American Board of Surgery.
Our internationally renowned faculty comprises eight full-time thoracic surgeons, and a strong belief in the importance of mentorship and teaching serves as the foundation for our training program. Trainees enjoy a broad exposure to a variety of both malignant and benign pathologies, and an emphasis is placed on the multidisciplinary management of thoracic cancers. Minimally invasive (including VATS), robotic, and advanced endoscopic techniques are equally emphasized alongside complex open surgical approaches. Experience in the clinic is integral to the resident’s training as well and includes a robust opportunity to evaluate patients who are being considered for surgical management. A highly structured didactic program complements an extensive operative experience that is second to none, and residents have ample opportunity to pursue clinical research and academic scholarship.
The thoracic-track trainee spends 15 months of their two years training on the Thoracic Surgery Service at MSKCC and nine months on the Cardiac Surgery Service at NYPH. During their time at MSKCC, the thoracic-track individual has the option to pursue a two- or three-month elective at another ACGME-accredited institution of their choice, to complement their experience. The Thoracic Surgery Service typically has four or five fellows in any given month, with more than sufficient case volume to support all of the trainees. The thoracic-track individual is entrusted with full administrative oversight and responsibility for the service.
Thoracic-track residents complement their large operative experience with a structured didactic program that consists of several lectures and teaching conferences run by the faculty. The academic year begins with a Summer Core Course in Thoracic Surgery, covering the fundamentals of thoracic surgical techniques and patient management. A weekly didactic lecture based on the TSDA curriculum is given by the faculty, drawing from the expertise present across the various specialties, and a weekly case conference follow-up discussion serves to consolidate the knowledge gained from the lecture. Presentations at Esophageal Conference, Tumor Board, and Morbidity and Mortality Conference provide opportunities to deeply explore a particular topic. The availability of a robotic simulator as well as a simulation lab offers ample opportunity for practice outside of the OR.
Training in clinical research is essential to the development of the academic thoracic surgeon. The academic year begins with a lecture series on clinical research methods and continues with monthly journal clubs, during which key articles are critiqued and reviewed and the study methods analyzed.
Research interests and opportunities are discussed at the beginning of the residency, and the resident should plan to complete one to two research projects during the course of the year, mentored by a faculty member, with expectations for presentation at a national meeting and subsequent publication.
Benefits and Environment
MSKCC is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan—a vibrant community with many amenities and attractions nearby, including numerous restaurants, museums, and shops. Central Park and Riverside Park offer beautiful outdoor escapes, and there are many activities for families and children. Several schools are in the vicinity.
Salary and benefits are provided to all residents according to level of training (number of postgraduate years). Thoracic-track trainees are provided a generous benefits package and housing through NYPH/WCMC. For more information, please refer to the Resident Housing and Benefits page.