Physician Assistant Residency Program

Program duration: 12 months.

Class size: 2

Starting Date: Adjusted based on graduation date.


The Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, Dept. of Cardiovascular Surgery, is a world-renowned organization located in Houston Texas, performing over two thousand surgeries each year. Doctor Michael E. DeBakey was instrumental in the formation of Methodist’s Cardiovascular Surgery Service, performing the first successful coronary artery bypass in the early 1960’s. In state-of-the-art facilities, using some of the world’s most sophisticated technology, Methodist’s cardiovascular and Thoracic surgeons are on the leading edge of diagnosis, treatment and discovery. This tradition of innovative treatment continues today with new techniques for mitral valve repair, stenting of great vessels, robotics, off-pump coronary bypass and transplant surgery.

Due to limitations on Physician Resident duty hours, opportunities for Physician Assistants have increased dramatically, especially in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery. However, most employers require experience.

The Postgraduate Cardiovascular Residency for Physician Assistants is a twelve-month program established in 2007 by Houston Methodist Hospital in conjunction with Weill Cornell Medical College. The goal of the program is to provide qualified candidates with the opportunity to learn and improve on their basic surgical sciences, clinical and operative skills and in the process take advantage of the job opportunities available nationwide. Residents will have the opportunity to first and second assist on major cases early on in their training, without having to compete for cases with physician residents.


Clinical and didactic components of the program are integrated. Residents will attend lectures in Vascular, Cardiothoracic and Cardiac Anesthesia year-round. When rotating through I.C.U., more lectures will be given pertaining to the care of the patient in that setting. e.g., ventilator management, fluids and electrolytes, and inotropic / vasoactive drugs. Residents will become proficient in:
  • Endoscopic Vein Harvesting
  • Open heart Surgery: principles and practice of first assisting
  • Vascular surgery: principles and practice of first assisting
  • Endovascular procedures:
    • Femoral access, femoral closure techniques
    • Basic diagnostic angiography
    • Assisting in complex endovascular procedures
  • Cardiovascular ICU care
  • Floor care for the cardiovascular patient
  • Principles of non-invasive cardiovascular imaging

Additional lectures available in:
  • Thoracic journal Club
  • Vascular journal Club
  • Weekly peripheral vascular conference
  • Weekly MDHC lecture

All physician assistant residents will receive Robert M. Bojar’s Manual of Perioperative Care in Cardiac Surgery as reference. The Jesse Jones Medical library is steps away from the Hospital if in need of additional medical books, references or journals. Residents will have call duty which will vary depending on service assignment.


The Methodist DeBakey Heart Center is associated with Weill Cornell Medical College. There is an existing affiliation with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Physician assistant Program. At the present time, PA students have a four-week rotation in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery. This is an elective rotation.


Applicants must be graduates of an accredited bachelor’s or master’s Degree Physician Assistant Program.
Eligible or have passed NCCPA certification.
Physician Assistant license in Texas is mandatory once admitted to the Program. Background checks and urine/ blood tests will be performed as part of the pre-employment requirements by the Hospital.
Current certification in ACLS or obtained as soon as acceptance to program is received.

Application requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Three letters of reference. One must be from either recent employer or P.A. Program Director.
  • Brief statement describing reasons for interest in Cardiovascular Surgery.
  • No application fees


Notification of acceptance: within two weeks of interview.

Applicant’s response: within two weeks of acceptance.


Certificate of completion from The Methodist DeBakey Heart Center signed by Department Chairman, Medical Director and Program director.


Salary: $65,000
CME: $1,500
Paid Vacation.
Sick leave.
Medical and Dental Insurance.
Medical malpractice.
Life and Disability insurance.
Housing: Relocation and housing costs are the responsibility of the Physician Assistant Resident.


The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart Center
Department of Cardiovascular Surgery
Physician Assistant Residency Program
6560 Fannin Street Suite # 1842
Houston, Texas 77030
DeBakey CV Education
6565 Fannin Street
Fondren 401
Houston, TX 77030