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History of the Foundation

The history of the AATS Foundation is a proud one. The Foundation was established in 1973 as past leaders of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery realized the need to actively support and guide both research and education in the field.

AATS Foundation History Timeline

Having this new vision to focus on achieving a dynamic and innovative future of continued excellence for cardiothoracic surgery, the leadership looked to create a foundation that would lead these efforts. Initially, the intent of the AATS Foundation was to select and fund an International Fellow to spend a year studying in North America at a center of excellence in cardiothoracic surgery. Since that initial program, we have seen continued growth as a number of additional initiatives have addressed the research needs of the specialty. From the introduction of this first fellowship in 1951 to the present day, the AATS and its Foundation have funded millions of dollars in fellowships and research opportunities.

The Foundation has grown from one fellowship to currently having more than 30 sophisticated programs, and we continue to educate and enhance the skills and knowledge of surgeons from all around the world. The AATS Foundation has been a major force in the field, reaching surgeons from six continents. Fellowships and research scholarships bring the community of cardiothoracic surgeons together and create bonds that last lifetimes. Many of today’s leaders in the field received funding from the AATS Foundation and the support they received early in their careers helped them to make significant contributions to the specialty.

In its history, the AATS Foundation has seen many important milestones. Industry and donors continue to partner with us in novel and collaborative ways in support of both exciting new and existing programs that will provide expanded education and training to our specialty. Indeed, all our Foundation’s educational programs and activities are seeing mounting interest and participation as we continue to receive more applications and fund more grants, striving to realize our vision of a dynamic and innovative future of excellence for cardiothoracic surgery. As of January 2018, the name of the AATS Foundation was changed from the AATS Graham Foundation to reflect the growing needs of the specialty and align the Foundation closer with the mission and values of the AATS.