Your Career Journey Starts Here

In the early stages of your CT surgery career, one of the most important things you can do is partner with an organization that will help you broaden your skills, connect with peers and mentors, and take care of your health and wellbeing. These are the fundamentals of career development that will help you  

  • land the job you want,
  • deliver the highest quality of patient care,
  • develop leadership skills and increase your visibility within your practice setting among your peers,
  • make smart, strategic career decisions, and
  • connect and network with other surgeons.  

STS has what it takes to be that partner. Here you’ll find extensive professional development programs offering a wide variety of learning opportunities - from finding your first job and receiving fellowship awards to leading in the OR and becoming a voice on Capitol Hill where together we advocate for quality improvement and patient safety.  

STS’s resources and activities are developed and designed by surgeons for surgeons. At STS, you can find the support you need to thrive starting today and continuing through your CT surgery career. 

Join STS as a Surgeon Member for career-enhancing resources, complimentary subscriptions to The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and other publications, advocacy efforts, discounts on the STS Annual Meeting, and more. If you're not already a member, apply today.


STS offers a variety of high-quality, timely, and relevant opportunities for in-person and online learning. These include conferences, webinars, e-learning modules, and online courses. Some of these opportunities are available for free; others require purchase. STS members receive discounts on programs offered for purchase.  

Early Career Journey Webinar Series

The quarterly STS Early Career Journey Webinar Series provides fundamental information for successful career development in an out of the operating room. Surgeons from academic, private practice and hospital settings share practical information and personal insights on a broad range of topics from how to negotiate a contract and manage one’s finances to coping with second victim syndrome and supporting one’s OR team. These learning opportunities will help early careerists land the job they want, deliver the highest quality patient care, develop leadership skills, make smart strategic career decision, and connect and network with other surgeons. 

Early Career Journey: Pathway to STS Involvement and Leadership (June 6, 2024)
Free for STS members, $30 for nonmembers

View recordings of these past events:

Blogs and Publications

The Career Development Blog features posts written by early career STS members on topics relating to the specific career needs of surgeons in the first years of practice. Read selections from the blog and other STS publications for latest news, events, networking, and education opportunities for early careerists.

setting boundaries

As physicians, we spend the first half of our adult lives being told to always say yes. The goal is to build that CV so you can make it to the next step. Set a foundation to show you have potential and you’ll get accepted to medical school. Show academic, research, and leadership promise to land that coveted residency spot.

4 min read
Brian Mitzman, MD, MS, University of Utah

As physicians we are committed to caring for our patients, guiding them through physical and emotional traumas. Our training, especially as cardiothoracic surgeons, has taught us to be disciplined, self-sufficient, and strong. As cardiothoracic surgeons we deal with significant adversity and are resilient.

3 min read
Robert Van Haren, MD, and James Van Haren, MD

In a bid to foster professional development and guidance for aspiring cardiothoracic surgeons, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has unveiled a unique mentorship program tailored for medical students and residents.

The initiative, created with the Thoracic Surgery Medical Student Association (TSMA), aims to bridge the gap between seasoned professionals and the next generation of surgeons. It delves into the intricacies of cardiothoracic surgery and forms collaborative relationships between early careerists and students. The new program is an extension of the current STS mentorship program that matches trainees with senior surgeons. 

The newly introduced medical student and resident mentorship opportunity is set to personalize the way aspiring surgeons acquire training, career advice, and other essential insights. The goal is to connect medical students eager for guidance with cardiothoracic surgery residents and fellows and facilitate a dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience. It is an expansion of the current STS mentorship program that matches trainees with senior surgeons.  

Under this program, medical students are empowered to seek mentorship from residents and fellows, gaining crucial insights into cardiothoracic surgery as a specialty. The mentorship extends beyond theoretical knowledge, offering practical guidance on residency programs, the interview process, rotations, and other aspects vital for navigating the field successfully. This hands-on approach provides aspiring surgeons with a comprehensive understanding of the demands and opportunities within the specialty, aiding them in making informed career decisions. 

Moreover, the program benefits residents and fellows too, giving them an opportunity to hone their mentorship skills while contributing to the development of future generations of cardiothoracic surgeons. By assuming the role of mentors, residents and fellows gain valuable leadership experience and the satisfaction of guiding and shaping the careers of aspiring professionals. Through this reciprocal relationship, both mentors and mentees contribute to the advancement of the field while fostering a sense of camaraderie and community.

Joseph Phillips, MD, thoracic surgeon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and chair of the STS Mentorship Task Force, expressed confidence in the program's potential to significantly impact STS Medical Student and Resident/Fellow members. He emphasized the importance of mentorship in nurturing talent and fostering a supportive environment conducive to professional growth.

“In a rapidly evolving field like cardiothoracic surgery, mentorship serves as a cornerstone for success, offering guidance, support, and inspiration to young surgeons as they embark on their professional journey,” said Dr. Phillips. “With this initiative, STS reaffirms its dedication to nurturing talent, fostering collaboration, and shaping the future of cardiothoracic surgery.” 

It's just one more way STS is helping to cultivate a vibrant and resilient community of cardiothoracic surgeons poised to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

May 13, 2024
2 min read

Podcast Episodes

STS offers a variety of podcasts that feature surgeons and other professionals discuss topics to that will help optimize your performance in and out of the OR.

Same Surgeon, Different Light Podcast

Same Surgeon, Different Light: Drs. Fatima G. Wilder and Asishana A. Osho

Two first-year faculty at Boston hospitals share their upbringings, early career challenges, and aspirations for the cardiothoracic surgery profession.

Listen to the Episode

Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce discusses burnout

Strategies for Surgeons to Prevent Burnout

An expert panel discusses strategies to avoid burnout, a significant concern among cardiothoracic surgeons. 

Listen to the Episode

The Resilient Surgeon #BeYourBestSelf

The Resilient Surgeon: Dr. Christopher Barnes

A deep dive into the impact of sleep deprivation on leadership performance and behavior, as well as its effects on interpersonal relationships. 

Listen to the Episode


Designed for STS members at any career level, the Mentorship Program connects professionals seeking career advice and other guidance.

For Early Career Surgeons and Mid-late Career Surgeons
CT surgery trainees and early career surgeons can request mentorship from a more seasoned professional–as well as apply to mentor. Provide your contact information and notate your practice type and areas of interest (e.g., practice building, clinical research, contract negotiations) to assist in creating the best mentor/mentee match.

Find a mentor     Become a mentor 

Are you a medical student or CT surgery trainee looking for mentorship or are interested in becoming a mentor? Visit the Trainee Hub to learn more and register today!

Fellowships, Awards, and Scholarships

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF), the charitable arm of STS, provides research awards and grants aimed at developing the skills of early career surgeons, both as surgeon-scientists and health policy leaders, as well as scholarships for trainees and early career surgeons to attend various STS in-person events. 

Thoracic Surgery Foundation

TSF/STS Douglas Mathisen Traveling Fellowship in General Thoracic Surgery

Up to $20,000 to support the continuing education of early career general thoracic surgeons to travel domestically or internationally in order to learn a new technique, adapt new technology, and collaborate between investigators. 

Learn More

Thoracic Surgery Foundation

Robert L. Replogle Traveling Fellowship Award

Up to $10,000 for early career congenital heart surgeons committed to the treatment of congenital heart disease to travel to another institution for the purpose of learning a novel technique, adapting innovative technology, and/or fostering collaboration.

Learn More

Thoracic Surgery Foundation

Nina Starr Braunwald Research Award

Up to $85,000 per year for up to two years to support the work of an early-career woman cardiac surgeon (within five years of first faculty appointment).

Learn More

Ethics Forum Scholarships

The Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum, a joint STS and AATS project, offers scholarships in amounts up to $10,000 for cardiothoracic surgeons to obtain formal training in biomedical ethics.

Learn More

Advocacy Scholarships

These scholarships cover reasonable travel and meal expenses associated with attendance at an STS Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.

Learn More

Health Policy Scholarship

STS and the American College of Surgeons offer an annual scholarship to subsidize attendance and participation in the Executive Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Learn More

Social Media Outreach

Connect with the Workforce on Career Development members on X/Twitter @TheHub_STS, and join quarterly TweetChats, during which Society leaders discuss early career issues in an open social media forum.

In May, the Career Development Taskforce on Communications hosted an X/TweetChat on “So You Want To Become a Program Director” moderated by Dr. Mara Antonoff. Practicing cardiothoracic surgeons and residents discussed the role of an educator, the job expectations, the qualities that make a PD not just good but great, and more - reaching nearly 2 million people on X/Twitter. Check out the chat recap and find resources on pursuing an education career in this SlideShare.

surgeon educator 2
Career Development X/TweetChat on Becoming a Program Director


Watch videos for focused discussions on topics that range from clinical scenarios to lively debates and roundtable discussions.

Young Professors: Insights and Tips for Early and Mid-Career Faculty

A discussion: how to balance clinical work with the scholarly activities that are necessary for promotion in a modern academic medicine environment.

Watch Video

 How Cardiothoracic Surgeons Are Reimbursed

8 in 8 Series: How Cardiothoracic Surgeons Are Reimbursed

 A look at the basics of surgeon salary and compensation, plus two types of reimbursement models.

Watch the Video

Finding Your First Job in Cardiothoracic Surgery

Finding Your First Job in Cardiothoracic Surgery

Tips on making a good impression during an interview, making sure that the job is a great fit, how to find the best career resources, and how to engage and maintain good mentors.

Watch the Video