International Connection: March/April 2019

STS 55th Annual Meeting Online Now Available
Did you miss the STS Annual Meeting in San Diego? If you were unable to attend, you can now purchase access to STS 55th Annual Meeting Online. These web-based videos feature presenter slide animation and cursor movement as if you were in the meeting room. Experience cutting-edge scientific sessions, talks from renowned speakers, and thought-provoking debates—all from the comfort of your home or office. If you attended the meeting, access to Annual Meeting Online was included free with your meeting registration.
Save the date! Mark your calendars now for the STS 56th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, 26-28 January 2020. Abstract submission will open in late spring; check for more information.

New International Director Elected
During the Annual Meeting Business Meeting on Monday, 28 January, the STS membership elected Alan D. Sihoe, MD, MA, FRCSEd as an International Director on the STS Board of Directors. Dr. Sihoe is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital in Guangdong, China. As International Director, he will work with fellow International Director Domenico Pagano, MD and other members of the Board to advance the Society’s role and relationships within the international cardiothoracic surgery community.

Request a Visa for STS Educational Courses
The Society has several live educational courses planned for 2019, including symposia on thoracic endovascular aortic repair (4-5 April), robotic thoracic surgery (16-18 May), structural heart disease (23-24 August), and critical care (26-28 September). If you require a visa to attend any of these meetings, STS can provide you with a customized invitation letter to help with the process. After completing the Visa Invitation Letter Request Form, you’ll receive a letter signed by STS Director of Education Scott Bradbury stating that you are cordially invited to attend and participate in the event(s) that you have selected.

TSF Awards Aid Surgical Mission Trips to Developing Countries 
The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF), the Society’s charitable arm, has awarded seven new surgical mission grants that will help advance treatment options for patients with heart valve disease and offer much-needed assistance to underserved patients in developing countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Nepal, Mongolia, and Uganda. Dr. Kellianne Kleeman was TSF’s first International Medical Volunteer Scholar and recently participated in a charitable medical mission to Nepal with Dr. Fred Grover and his team; their experience was documented on video. You can view a complete list of 2019 TSF award winners and prepare to apply during the submission process for the 2020 awards program, which opens on 15 July.

STS Patient Website Offers Information in Spanish
The Society has a resource that its members can use to help patients learn more about cardiothoracic diseases, including aortic valve disease and lung cancer. Information on the website,, is in both English and Spanish, and also includes original illustrations, 3D animations, and video explanations. The most popular pages on the website in 2018 were:

The website also features a bilingual blog. Entries focus on CT surgeons addressing the questions most frequently asked by patients, in addition to patients sharing their stories and experiences. If you or someone you know would like to contribute, contact Jennifer Bagley at