Our curriculum is based on the ACGME milestones, with additional goals that are outlined by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. All teaching is based on the core competencies set out by the ACGME.  


The weekly Interactive Core Curriculum conference is a comprehensive review of the foundation of adult cardiac, general thoracic, and congenital heart surgery topics organized in the Thoracic Surgical Curriculum (TSC) of the TSDA designed to assist in preparation for the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. The e-learning platform includes textbook readings and journal articles, case presentations, videos and benchmarked quizzes with weekly reading assignments based on the TSC format. The teaching sessions are fully interactive and designed to optimize the fellow’s fund of knowledge with board-type scenarios and questions.


The bimonthly Clinical Case Review Conference is an interactive discussion session to review and emphasize learning opportunities provided by recent clinical experience. Recent surgical cases or non-surgical consults are detailed including workup, differential diagnoses, indications for procedures, clinical options, evidence-based expected outcomes and possible complications, technical details of operations, postoperative management and potential or actual complications, long-term outcomes, and follow-up recommendations. 


Fellows will actively participate in Cardiac and Thoracic Morbidity and Mortality conferences, Thoracic Tumor Board, and Cardiovascular Grand Rounds. Fellows will also participate in several bimonthly or monthly multidisciplinary conferences including Structural Heart, Complex Valve, Ischemic Heart, Complex Aorta, Adult Congenital, Suspicious Tumor Nodule, and GI Conferences. A monthly Research Productivity Conference reviews the progress and direction of all departmental research activities to facilitate and encourage ongoing projects and ideas from origination through completion.


Houston Methodist Hospital holds a Cardiovascular Fellows’ Boot Camp each year for incoming fellows in Cardiac Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Cardiology, and Cardiac Anesthesiology. This multidisciplinary program provides expert-led lectures on the fundamentals of cardiovascular disease and management complemented by hands-on training by faculty using cadavers, animals, and simulators. It has been described as “an amusement park for surgeons”.


All of our curriculum content is organized into topics to cover all the objectives in the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. 


∙Patient care and technical skills
∙Medical knowledge
∙Practice-based learning and improvement
∙Interpersonal and communication skills
∙System-based practice



Rotation Schedule

Fellowship Year


Length of Rotation

Year 1

General Thoracic

4 Months

Year 1 Adult Cardiac 4 Months
Year 1 Cardiac Transplant 1 Month

Year 1

Structural Heart

1 Month

Year 1 Congenital Heart

2 Months Off Site, Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, TX

Year 2 General Thoracic 2 Months
Year 2 Adult Cardiac 6 Months
 Year 2 Heart Failure
1 Month
 Year 2  Elective Cardiac Surgery 3 Months