STS News, Spring 2019 — The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) distributed 24 grants totaling $916,500 as part of its 2019 awards program supporting research, education, and surgical volunteerism in cardiothoracic surgery. These grants will help advance treatment options for patients with heart, lung, and other chest diseases and offer much-needed assistance to underserved patients. You can view a list of the grant recipients at sts.org/TSF2019Awards.
In 2018, the Foundation offered its first International Medical Volunteer Scholarship. Cardio-thoracic surgery resident Kellianne Kleeman, MD used the award to participate in a charitable medical mission to Nepal with STS Past President Fred Grover, MD and his team. The first part of the mission included working alongside cardiothoracic surgery teams in two different hospitals in Nepal; the second part of the trip involved patients at rural outreach clinics.
“What impressed me most was the gratitude of the patients. Many of them had traveled for hours or even days. Once they arrived, they waited for many more hours to be seen,” wrote Dr. Kleeman in her report to the Foundation. “It was heart wrenching to see so many young patients affected by rheumatic heart disease. There are ongoing efforts to improve early intervention and outreach to prevent the disease, but still to see so many children and patients my own age who were in heart failure needing a valve replaced or who had already suffered a crippling stroke (from a disease that is preventable) was awful. The clinics were very successful at screening patients and hundreds of patients were referred for ongoing follow-up or scheduled for surgery.”
To see more about Dr. Kleeman’s experience, a video is available at sts.org/nepal. Applications for most 2020 TSF awards will be available on July 15, 2019; submissions are due by September 15, 2019. Visit thoracicsurgeryfoundation.org/awards for more information.