Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center offers a non-accredited advanced training opportunity in complex thoracic surgery for individuals who will have completed a cardiothoracic training program, are board certified or board eligible (or their equivalent), and are interested in an additional intensive experience in advanced thoracic surgical oncology. The Thoracic Surgical Oncology Fellowship is a one-year program designed to provide in-depth exposure to the multidisciplinary treatment of all types of thoracic malignancies. The fellow will spend the entire duration on the Thoracic Surgery Service. Depending on interest and availability, the fellow may have the opportunity to spend one to two months of elective time on allied services such as GI, medical oncology, or radiation oncology, or on research. The fellow should be capable of leading a multidisciplinary effort in thoracic oncology by the time he or she graduates.
Our faculty is currently composed of eleven full-time thoracic surgeons. More than 5,000 procedures are performed on our service each year, making us one of the largest and busiest thoracic units in the country. In addition to the unparalleled volume and breadth of cases, a strong belief across the faculty in the importance of mentorship and teaching serves as the foundation of our training program. The fellow will enjoy broad exposure to a variety of both malignant and benign pathology, including pulmonary, esophageal, mediastinal, pleural, pericardial, and chest wall diseases; emphasis is placed on the multidisciplinary management of thoracic cancers. Minimally invasive techniques, including VATS, robotic, and advanced endoscopic procedures, are equally emphasized alongside complex open surgical approaches. Experience in the clinic is integral to the fellows training as well and offers an intensive experience in the evaluation of patients being considered for surgical management. A highly structured didactic program complements an extensive operative experience that is truly second to none, and the fellow will have ample opportunity for academic scholarship.
The fellow is expected to understand the evaluation and treatment of thoracic malignancies. The fellow will receive a large volume of operative experience, which provides the technical facility necessary to manage complicated thoracic surgical problems. The fellow will have broad exposure to open resections as well as minimally invasive, VATS, robotic, and endoscopic approaches. While on clinical services, the fellow is responsible for all preoperative and postoperative patient care. He or she will also have extensive exposure to the outpatient evaluation in the clinic of patients with newly diagnosed thoracic malignancies and the long-term follow-up care of cancer survivors. In addition, the fellow is responsible for the teaching of residents and medical students who are rotating on the service.
The treatment of patients with thoracic cancer at MSK utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach. The Disease Management Team (DMT) consists of attending surgeons, pulmonary and GI medicine physicians, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists. The trainee will be exposed to each of these disciplines on a daily basis with each patient, which leads to a more complete understanding of these complex patients and their disease processes.
In addition, a major aim is the development of academic surgeons. The trainee is expected to gain a thorough understanding of clinical research methodology. This is done through lectures (including the Summer Clinical Research Methods lecture series), conferences (including Journal Club and Research Conference), directed readings, and individual research projects.
As described, training in clinical research is essential to the development of the academic thoracic surgeon. The academic year begins with the 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 fellowship, and the fellow should plan to complete one to two research projects during the course of the year. He or she will be mentored by a faculty member, with expectations for presentation at a national meeting and subsequent publication.
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