Training is a critical skill set in itself. STS offers training resources to help you launch and advance your career in cardiothoracic surgery. Explore this curated collection focused on innovation and technology, skills development, best practices, teamwork, mentorship, and career planning.

STS Membership

Resident/Fellow and Medical Student Membership in STS offer access to complimentary subscriptions to The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and other publications, mentoring connections, discounts on educational offerings, free registration to the STS Annual Meeting, and more. If you're not already a member, apply today


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

For Medical Students and Residents/Fellows
Designed for medical students, the Mentorship Program connects medical students seeking training, career and other advice from cardiothoracic surgery residents/fellows. Apply to be matched with a resident/fellow mentor or apply to mentor a medical student seeking guidance. Provide your contact information and notate your level of training and areas of interest (e.g., residency application process, residency interviews, rotations, awards and scholarships) to assist in creating the best mentor/mentee match. This program is in partnership with the Thoracic Surgery Medical Student Association.

Find a mentor     Become a mentor 

For Residents/Fellows
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 

Blogs and Media

Residency is a social as much as a technical experience. During training, some of your most important lessons come from conversations among peers. The Aspiring CT Surgeons Blog features posts written for trainees, by trainees, with topics ranging from optimizing technical performance in the operating room, to balancing childcare or exercise with training, to navigating both successful and unsuccessful mentor relationships. The blog provides a forum for frank discussion of the challenges residents face, as well as the rewards of caring for the cardiothoracic patient while training amongst an elite cohort of peers. View selections from the blog and other STS publications: 

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

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
community health
“Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than a master of one.”
3 min read
Heather Palomino, MD
changing jobs
Cardiothoracic surgeons often are faced with desirable opportunities to change institutions. Melanie Edwards, MD, a member of the STS Career Development Communications Task Force explains, it's important to take your time weighing the pros and cons. The worst thing you can do is get swept up in the moment and make a decision too quickly. 
4 min read
Melanie Edwards, MD
retirement planning
There are many profound changes and considerations during the early stages of your career. Planning for retirement is one that needs your time and attention now. 
4 min read
Olugbenga Okusanya, MD
The education of medical students and residents is critical for the future growth and improvement in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. Early career cardiothoracic surgeons need to be involved in helping the next generation of surgeons establish and advance their careers. In this article, learn about ways you can get involved.
4 min read
Robert M. Van Haren, MD

If you are interested in writing an article for the Aspiring CT Surgeons Blog, email Dr. Jason Han or Dr. Linda Schulte at communications@sts.org.


Explore a full range of educational offerings designed to encourage both individual and collaborative learning and provide expertise and guidance. These include resident symposia and Boot Camps, the Thoracic Surgical Curriculum, webinars, and the STS Cardiothoracic Surgery E-Book

STS 2023 Annual Meeting Online

Annual Meeting Online

Experience the exceptional content that was presented at the 2023 STS Annual Meeting. Access nearly 80 educational sessions and 91 e-posters that incorporate the latest research, technology, and practice in all major cardiothoracic surgery disciplines. 

STS Resident/Fellow and Medical Student Members can access AM Online for free!

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E-Book Title

STS Cardiothoracic Surgery E-Book

The most current, continuously updated online resource for cardiothoracic surgery information in the world, available online and via mobile app, offering home, office, or point-of-care reference 24/7/365.

Learn More and Subscribe

STS 2024 - The 60th Annual Meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. January 27-29, 2024, San Antonio, Texas

60th STS Annual Meeting

Plan to attend the Society's 60th Annual Meeting, January 27-29, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas. STS Resident/Fellow and Medical Student Members can register for free!

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Scholarships & Awards

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF), the charitable arm of STS, provides research awards and grants aimed at developing the skills of surgeon-scientists during residency. Award submissions open on July 1, 2023. 

Several other scholarship opportunities are available, including the Looking to the Future Scholarship, which fund participation in the STS Annual Meeting for the best and brightest medical students or general surgery residents in hopes of encouraging them to pursue careers in cardiothoracic surgery.

TSF logo and photo of doctor looking through microscope

TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award

Up to $60,000 per year for up to 2 years to support the research fellowship of a resident who has not yet completed cardiothoracic surgical training.

Learn More and Apply

TSF logo and photo of male doctor consulting with female patient

TSF/FFF International Traveling Fellowship in Partnership with LACES

Support of $11,000 (€10,000) for 4-10 weeks for senior CT surgical residents to travel internationally for the purpose of learning a novel technique, adapting innovative technology, and/or fostering collaboration. (In partnership with the Latin American Association of Cardio and Endovascular Surgery)

Learn More and Apply

TSF Logo and photo of Dr. Carolyn Reed

Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship Award

Up to $10,000 for a woman resident in her last year of cardiothoracic surgery residency to travel to another institution for the purpose of learning a new skill or technology.

Learn More and Apply


Mentorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery

Mentorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery

A discussion: the benefits of having a mentor, but also of being one to the next generation.

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 How Cardiothoracic Surgeons Are Reimbursed

8 in 8 Series: The Role of the CT Trainee in the ICU

 Advice for new trainees on maximizing the experience in the intensive care unit.

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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


The Society's podcast, Surgical Hot Topics, features leaders in cardiothoracic surgery discussing important issues in the field. Listen to the episodes on your favorite podcast app or on the website. Check out these two popular series produced by STS: 

Same Surgeon, Different Light Podcast

Same Surgeon, Different Light

This series is designed to demystify CT surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Episodes feature the backstories of cardiothoracic surgeons from different backgrounds and in various career stages. These leaders and rising stars offer powerful, candid stories that are funny and fascinating, as well as heartbreaking and inspiring. 

See All Episodes

The Resilient Surgeon #BeYourBestSelf

The Resilient Surgeon

"The Resilient Surgeon" aims to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world's top performers. In each episode, host Michael Maddaus, MD, talks to game changers in the high-performance and wellness space who share real-world strategies and evidence-based approaches for building and maintaining resiliency, reducing burnout, and achieving optimal performance.

See All Episodes