Cardiothoracic Surgery Integrated Residency Program

Surgery

The Cardiothoracic Surgery Educational Program at the Medical University of South Carolina is a six-year integrated program in which a resident is matched out of medical school at the PG-1 level. Residents for the integrated program apply in their fourth year of medical school, similar to standard applications for other residency programs. Upon completion of an integrated residency, residents are eligible to sit for ABTS certification. One position is matched each year.

Historical Background

MUSC’s Cardiothoracic Surgical Residency training program began in the early 1960’s with a two-year traditional program and was one of the first programs in the country to expand to a three-year program in 1987.   The traditional program was deactivated after the six-year integrated program was up and running with a full complement of residents.

The six-year integrated CT residency program was developed in 2007 with residents matching directly out of medical school. This was approved by the Thoracic Surgery Residency Review Committee in July 2008, and the first six-year program resident began training July 1, 2009. Our program is proud to be one of the first three programs along with Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania to pioneer the six-year integrated program.

It is significant to note that the program at MUSC has a strong and solid history having been continuously accredited by the ACGME for over 30 years with no citations. 

Program Description

The rotation schedule for the first three years of the six-year program includes some traditional general surgery rotations with a five-month rotation in the third year at a community hospital. Rotations in related specialties (heart failure, imaging, echo, interventional radiology, etc.) throughout the first two years provide in depth exposure to these disciplines which relate closely to cardiothoracic surgery. Increasing exposure to cardiothoracic surgery itself will occur in each of the first three years. The final three years is dedicated to increased emphasis on cardiothoracic surgery. Operative experience has historically exceeded ABTS requirements.  

The overall CT residency program includes rotations at the Ashley River Tower facility, MUSC Children’s HospitalRalph Johnson VA Hospital and Trident Hospital. Ashley River Tower has facilities for the complete care of the adult cardiothoracic and vascular patient including chest pain center, out-patient clinics, wards, ICUs, operating rooms, etc. This facility opened in February 2008 and is absolute state-of-the-art in every respect, but especially in the cardiothoracic surgery operating rooms.  A hybrid operating room with state-of-the-art imaging equipment for endovascular and other procedures is also available. Immediately next door to the Ashley River Tower is the Ralph Johnson VA Hospital which houses a very important component of the CT residency program. Both cardiac and general thoracic procedures are performed in that facility for veterans referred from throughout South Carolina. The MUSC Children’s Hospital is one block away and houses the congenital heart surgery component of the residency. Children with congenital heart disease in South Carolina are cared for through the South Carolina Children’s Heart Network, and any patients requiring surgery have it performed at MUSC Children’s Hospital.  

Trident Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital located in North Charleston, SC. Their community based facility allows our residents to have a different clinical experience. The CT residents rotate at Trident their PGY 2 year for two months in CT and for six months during their PGY 3 year in General surgery. Due to the faculty leadership, case variation and volume the Trident rotation has quickly become a favorite among the residents.

Eligibility

Only applicants with qualifications as required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and American Board of Thoracic Surgery are considered eligible for residency positions.

  • Integrated Program: Completion of an M.D. or D.O. degree from an institution accredited by the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME). Graduates of medical schools from countries other than the United States or Canada must present evidence of final certification by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  • Independent Program: Successful completion of surgery residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

How to Apply & Selection

The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina is a participating member of the National Resident Matching Program and accepts applications only through the ERAS system. All applicants are required to complete the universal application form available through the Electronic Residency Application Services of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and submit this along with a curriculum board scores (including ABSITE scores for the independent program applicants), three letters of reference, personal statement, a dean's letter, and medical school transcripts. All applicants must have successfully passed USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams (or the equivalent COMLEX Step 3 Exam or MCCQE Parts I and II).

Residents are selected on a fair and equal basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or sexual orientation. Selection of applicants for both programs is based upon qualities such as publications, test scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement and upon how an applicant will fit into the department based upon interview. Of particular importance is demonstrated commitment to cardiothoracic surgery. Interested medical students can optimize their chances of getting into the new integrated program by doing more than just their required clinical rotations by either spending time doing cardiothoracic-related research or more focused time in cardiothoracic surgery rotations. It is also strongly encouraged that applicants to the integrated program spend time in clinical rotations on Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.   Contact the Program Coordinator, Diana Gillard, at 843-792-6296 or by emai at gillardd@musc.edu for further information regarding scheduling an elective rotation.

Educational Activities

Throughout the program, there are several regularly scheduled conferences to make sure are residents are receiving an education both in and outside of the OR. The CT Resident Teaching Conference is held every Tuesday and this conference utilizes the TSDA Thoracic Surgery Curriculum.  This conference is mandatory for CT residents and attending faculty.  This conference is intended to be question-and-answer based sessions where assigned attending surgeons conduct discussions with the residents in order to determine that the residents have adequately reviewed and understand the assigned material. In addition, some sessions, the residents are in charge of leading the session on the assigned cardiac or thoracic topic of the week.  

On one pre-determined Tuesday of every other month at 7:00 a.m. the combined CT Surgery and Cardiology teaching conference is held.  In this conference the CT Surgery residents bring one or two interesting surgical cases with cardio logical implications, and the cardiologists bring one or two interesting interventional or other cases for discussion.  Resident participation is mandatory.Every Wednesday from 5:00 to approximately 6:30 p.m., the CT Service Conference is held.  At this conference, all patients operated upon or cared for non-operatively during the previous week are reviewed by the residents and the CT attendings.  Specific attention is paid to patients who have had complications or who have died.  Pertinent imaging data, Cath data, echo data, and autopsy findings are presented when appropriate.  Attendance by CT attendings and residents is mandatory. 

The South Carolina Cardiothoracic Journal Club is hosted by the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and is held off campus at a downtown restaurant on a monthly basis from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. the third Thursday of each month.  Attendance by CT faculty and residents is mandatory but the opportunity for all cardiothoracic surgeons in the State of South Carolina to attend is available by invitation.  The most pertinent journal articles the The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery from the previous month are presented by CT residents and faculty and discussed in detail.  Articles are critiqued for their scientific and statistical validity.

Cardiothoracic Surgery Faculty

Marc Katz, MD, MPH
Professor of Surgery
Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Scott M. Bradley, MD
Professor of Surgery
Head, Pediatric Cardiac Section

Fred A. Crawford, Jr, MD
Distinguished University Professor

Chadrick E. Denlinger, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Head, Section of Thoracic Surgery

Barry C. Gibney, D.O.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Minoo N.  Kavarana, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics

John M. Kratz, MD
Professor of Surgery

Lucian Lozonschi, MD
Professor of Surgery

Robert M. Sade, MD
Professor of Surgery

Sanford Zeigler, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Cardiothoracic Surgery Residents

Bradley LeNoir - PGY6
Ohio State University

Lloyd “Mac” Felmly - PGY5
Medical University of South Carolina

Alexander “AJ” Sbrocchi - PGY4
University of Toledo

Quiana Kern - PGY3
Morehouse School of Medicine

Jennie Kwon - PGY2
Medical University of South Carolina

Walker Blanding - PGY1
Medical University of South Carolina

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery