The Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship is an ACMGE-accredited three-year program designed to enhance knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular, respiratory and upper gastrointestinal diseases. At completion, residents will be American Board of Thoracic Surgery eligible.

Clinical Experience

The majority of training occurs at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond.

VCU Medical Center has over 750 beds and over 30 operating rooms, and is a level one trauma center and a major referral center for the entire state of Virginia. During their second year of training, trainees will spend six months at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, also in Richmond, where they will participate in all aspects of cardiothoracic surgery. McGuire is one of the few VA hospitals that has its own in-house transplant and VAD program. For four months of their second year of training, trainees will be at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. This will provide the resident a complete immersion into the field of congenital heart surgery. While in D.C. a housing and stipend will be provided.

Learn about the Pauley Heart Center



  • Thoracic surgery (4 months)
  • Cardiac surgery (6 months)
  • Vascular surgery (2 months)


  • VA CT surgery (6 months)
  • Congenital heart surgery (6 months) at the National Children’s Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

PGY-8 Chief resident

  • Adult cardiac/transplant and mechanical support (6 months)
  • Thoracic and aortic surgery (6 months)

At the conclusion of their training, fellows are expected to function as independent surgeons in all aspects of preoperative assessments, surgical procedures and postoperative care in adult cardiac and general thoracic surgery. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of the diagnosis, treatment and management of congenital surgical diseases and be able to perform basic procedures such as ASD and VSD repair, PDA ligation and correction of abnormal pulmonary venous return. Fellows are also integrally involved with heart transplantation and the insertion of mechanical circulatory support devices, as well as the postoperative management of devices and immunosuppression.


All residents are expected to complete one research project each year and submit it for presentation at a national meeting. Research can vary from bench top research to quality and outcomes. The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery participates in the national Society of Thoracic Surgeons database as well as the regional Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative. Both registries are excellent sources for research on patient outcomes and quality.


Cardiothoracic surgery core curriculum: This weekly conference encompasses all aspects of CT surgery education, using a combination of didactic lectures and problem-based seminars.

Cardiology/cardiac surgery weekly conference: This conference is based on case management of cardiovascular problems.

Transplantation conference: Patients are reviewed before and after cardiac and pulmonary transplantation, and all management issues are discussed.

Pediatric cardiology/cardiac surgery conference (National Children’s Medical Center): Pediatric cardiologists and surgeons present patients and decisions regarding optimal management.

Chest tumor conference: A weekly multidisciplinary conference that includes radiologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists, radiotherapists and pathologists to evaluate and discuss thoracic oncology cases and decide upon the best treatment plan for each patient.

Monthly quality assurance conference (M&M): Complications and deaths on the service are presented by the operating fellow and the staff responsible for the patient’s care. Faculty and fellowship staff review cases to identify areas of improvement.

Cardiac surgery workgroup weekly meeting: Surgical, ICU nursing and support staff discuss inpatients’ progress and areas to improve their hospital course.

Additional conferences include:

  • Cardiothoracic surgery visiting professors
  • Combined anesthesia and cardiovascular surgery journal club
  • Research conferences
  • Cardiac surgery, cardiology cath, quality assurance and tumor boards at the VA Medical Center

From the Director

VCUSOM director message

From the Director

"We are performing the future of cardiothoracic surgery today."

Anthony Cassano, M.D., FCCP
Division Chair and Program Director

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Program Alumni

2017: James Wade, MD,  Northwestern-Feinberg School of Medicine, Central Dupage and Delnor Community Hospitals, Chicago, Illinois

2018: Luis Velazco Devia, MD, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2019: Josue Cherry, MD 

How to Apply

Applications are accepted using Electronic Residency Application Services.

Contact Us

Anthony D. Cassano, M.D.
Fellowship Program Director

Demetria Patterson
Fellowship Coordinator

Office location:
West Hospital
Seventh Floor, South Wing
1200 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23298 

Mailing address:
Box 980068
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0068

Phone: (804) 828-4620
Fax: (804) 827-0527

Current Fellows

Katherine M. Klein, MD
CT Fellow (PGY-8)

Nils-Tomas McBride, MD
CT Fellow (PGY-6)