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Medical Student Surgical Clerkship

In the third year medical student surgical clerkship, the Cardiothoracic Surgery faculty provides core lectures on coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysm/dissection, lung cancer, and esophageal cancer. In the past, medical students only periodically rotated to the CT service. Some students occasionally have had the opportunity to visit the operating room to observe informally. In the recent year, we have offered CT surgery as a dedicated elective that can be rendered to medical students as a two-week clinical rotation. In July 2008, we will be implementing an all year round dedicated medical student clinical rotation, to further expand the medical students’ options and expose them to the prospect of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

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General Surgical Residency Program

The training of general surgery residents is an integral and important part of the Cardiothoracic team. Currently, we have five general surgery residents on the team (two PGY1, one PGY2, one PGY3 and one PGY4). Together with one CT fellow, the five general surgery residents rotate as three teams of two, rotating every third day on-call. This call schedule allows us to comply strictly with the 80-hour work week limit. Together, the general surgery residents provide the very necessary coverage for the daily care of the CT surgery patients who often require a high level of attention and care. We feel that this level of care is the expectation of an university program in opposed to the community or private hospital programs. It is what is expected from the community and the referring physicians. With proper attending physician supervision and a dedicated plan of education and training, the residents contribute to a high level of care for the most complex surgical cases.

In return for their contribution to the team, the CT faculty makes every effort to create an important and worthy educational experience for the residents. This is ensured by carefully planned supervision of all the work of the residents via the chief of the service, the individual surgeons, the intensivists and nursing.

The senior residents (PGY3 and PGY4) are expected to first assist in cardiac surgery, and learn to perform sternotomy, cannulation of great vessels, and be the primary surgeon for all thoracic cases. The junior residents are expected to acquire the technical skills in harvest of saphenous veins, closure of wounds, bronchoscopy and other minor thoracic cases. All residents participate in the perioperative care of the patients, with emphasis on critical care. Currently, the CT-ICU is the sole provider of dedicated surgical critical care training at the SUNY Downstate campus for the general surgery residents. It will also be a site for the general surgery critical care fellowship that is directed by Dr. Robert Schultz.

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Cardiothoracic Fellowship Program

The SUNY Cardiothoracic program is one of six training programs in the New York City and was created by Dr. Randal Griepp twenty five years ago with “fellowship” training of two residents each year. In 1986, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Cunningham, the program was “regionalized” to include both major cardiac centers in Brooklyn, SUNY and Maimonides Medical Center as well training in non-cardiac thoracic surgery at Kings County Hospital and the Brooklyn VA Medical center.

The cardiothoracic fellowship was downsized to one fellow per year as of 2007. The new requirements of the Residency Review Committee (RRC) in 2008 for the fellowship are that (1) program director needs to be based at the sponsoring institution (2) additional training for endovascular surgery (3) additional training in catheter based technology

We are working with the graduate medical education committee to devise a new curriculum to fulfill the new requirements, and more so to enhance the diversity and the complexity of the training.
Dr. Joshua Burack has been instrumental in the coordination of the training of the cardiothoracic surgery fellow at the Downstate campus for the past decade. He is currently reviewing the new requirement of the RRC and has devised a proposed new curriculum that will include minimally invasive cardiac endovascular surgery.

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To Contact Us:

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 40
Brooklyn, New York 11203
Tel: 718-270-1981 | Fax: 718-270-3843