Surgical Robotics Fellowship

Fellowship Goal

To provide general thoracic surgeons an advanced training opportunity in Robotic Surgery.

Program Overview

The AATS Foundation Surgical Robotics Fellowship provides an advanced educational experience for 35 North American general thoracic awardees and their attending surgeons to spend a two-day period at Intuitive Surgical's Atlanta, GA and Sunnyvale, CA facility to experience an advanced training course on Intuitive Surgical's Da Vinci System. Successful applicants will receive a mixture of didactic and hands-on lectures to maximize the value of the Fellowship.

The Fellowship is funded and administered by the AATS Foundation and provides successful applicants with a $2,500 grant to defray the costs of roundtrip travel and accommodations to the selected training center for the fellow and their attendee. The 35 selected Fellows will be split into four groups with all groups attending a different course date.  In addition to the traditional standard training pathway, an Equivalency Training Pathway will also be awarded to up to 10 of the possible 35 fellows whose cardiothoracic fellowships have long-standing, high volume-robotic programs capable of providing system skills training at their institution in-lieu of the TR200 training course and provide fellows with consistent da Vinci case experience throughout the year. Programs in this track will still be required to meet minimum training and case criteria to qualify for the TR400 and training certificates. They will also be asked to provide additional deliverables (i.e., edited case video).


To be eligible for the Standard Pathway program, applicants must:
  • Be a senior Fellow in thoracic surgical training or a young junior faculty member in the first three years of practice.
  • The attending surgeon joining the Fellow should have reached a senior level position in thoracic surgery and have a minimum volume of 25 robotic lobectomies in the prior rolling calendar year.
To be eligible for the Equivalency Pathway program, applicants must:
  • Be a senior Fellow in the final year of thoracic surgical training or a junior faculty member in the first three years of practice.
  • Have an attending surgeon that has:
    • Completed 400 cases since training
    • Completed 80 overall thoracic cases in the last year
    •  Completed 40 lobectomy cases in the last year
    • Attended 3 years of a full continuum path with the AATS Foundation
  • To be completed prior to attending the 2-day Standard Pathway course:

    Da Vinci Technology Online Modules:

    • Complete a set of interactive online modules covering the basic design and operation of the da Vinci system

    Da Vinci Technology Overview In-Service:

    • In-person overview of the system conducted at the hospital by an Intuitive CSR (clinical sales representative)

    Da Vinci Technology Skills Drills with Kit/Simulator:

    • Hands-on practice with the system, either with a physical skills drill kit, or a virtual reality skills simulator (pending hospital ownership of this device)

    Two Full-Length Procedure Video Reviews:

    • Review of procedure videos, available on Intuitive website
    To be completed at the 2-day Standard Pathway course:
    • Off Site Da Vinci Technology Training, a two-day course at an Intuitive Surgical training facility.
    • Day one: Porcine lab covering basic robotic surgical skills
    • Day two: Cadaveric lab, including instruction on patient positioning, port placement, system docking, and use of the system to perform basic surgical maneuvers (note, this training does not include instruction on surgical procedures)

    For Equivalency Training Pathway, fellows should have completed a similar training at their home institution.

    To be completed after the 2-day Equivalency Training and Standard Pathways course:
    • Upon returning to home center, Fellows should complete 7 cases as console surgeon to qualify for the Advanced Course in the Winter of 2020.

    Application Process

    The deadline to submit an application is February 1, 2019. In addition to a formal online application, candidates will be required to upload the following materials:
    • Curriculum Vitae from both the Applicant and Attending.
    • Letters of support from both their current attending surgeon and department chair or division chief.
    • A one to two page narrative to include: 1) what they hope to accomplish during the Fellowship; (2) the relationship of the planned study to the applicant’s prior work, preparation and professional goal; and (3) statement of future career goals.

    At the conclusion of their experience, a final report is required for submission to the AATS Foundation.

    Review Process

    Applications will be reviewed by the AATS Foundation’s Fellowship Review Committee, which will include surgeons involved in robotic surgical treatments, and graded on all aspects of the award criteria. The Review Committee will select only one awardee per institution, unless extenuating circumstances provide the opportunity to support two awardees. 

    Advanced Lobectomy Course

    After completing the first webinar and 7 cases as console surgeon, Fellows are eligible to attend the Advanced Lobectomy course in the Winter of 2020.

    The application deadline has passed.