Skip to main

Cardiac Surgical Robotics Program

Program Type: Training Program or Course

Specialty: Cardiac

Status: Upcoming

Opens: This next opening date is being determined.

Program Overview

The AATS Foundation Cardiac Surgical Robotic Fellowship provides an advanced educational experience in robotic cardiac surgery for North American cardiac surgeons with experience repairing mitral valves, who will bring expanded knowledge back to their home institution. Achieving the requisite cardiac robotics knowledge and skills requires more time and training than can be gained in a one- or two-day program, selected trainees will:

  • Recommend or select a surgeon proctor from a list of pre-determined experienced surgeons
  • Complete multi-step pre-requisite training
  • Observe a minimum of two cardiac robotic cases at a well-established training center with their experienced surgeon proctor
  • Take part in a minimum of five onsite proctoring sessions at the awardee’s home institution
  • Hold remote training sessions with their mentor

The award will help offset travel and lodging expenses for trainees to visit an Intuitive training facility and their selected host institution. Funding will also be provided to the selected proctor for travel and lodging, as well as on site and remote proctoring sessions.

Host Institutions

A number of host surgeons and institutions have partnered with the AATS Foundation on this initiative as listed below. Other qualified proctors and reference institutions may be selected during the fellowship program.

  • Vinay Badhwar, MD, West Virginia University
  • Joseph Dearani, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • Marc Gillinov, MD, Cleveland Clinic
  • Eugene Grossi, MD, New York University
  • Michael Halkos, MD, Emory University at Midtown
  • Bob Kiaii, MD, UC Davis Medical Center

Additionally, a number of experienced surgeon experts in cardiac robotic surgery have volunteered to act as proctors for this program, applicants are allowed to recommend a proctor, or alternatively, a list of pre-determined proctors will be shared with trainees once awarded for selection.

Program Curriculum

Awardee pre-requisite training before beginning the fellowship:

  • System training: 1-day systems training at an Intuitive training facility (preferably accompanied by requested proctor).
    • Cadaver Laboratory Training: one cadaver lab while at training facility.
  • Procedure training:
    • Observation: a minimum of two cardiac robotic cases at selected well-established training center with their experienced surgeon proctor.
    • Robotic Simulation:
      • Perform at least two simulated mitral valve repairs using the SimNow simulation experience.
      • Successful completion of a robotic simulation skills curriculum.
      • Passing test score in robotic ergonomics, accuracy, and speed.

Awardee & Mentor Post-Requisite Proctoring/Reporting after the Fellowship:

Onsite Proctoring: Five patient operations

Case Video Proctoring: Proctors to review the case videos of three patient operations to provide feedback to the awardee. Awardees would be asked to share a photo of their patient set-up and an mp4 recording of the case at increased speed.

Commitment by awardee to complete 50 cases and submit outcomes back to AATS Foundation

Commitment by proctor to submit feedback to AATS Foundation.

View Cardiac Surgical Robotics Program recipients

Eligibility Requirements


  • Appropriate credentials for state licensing and malpractice coverage.
  • A significant number of mitral valve repairs with optimal outcomes.
  • Attending surgeon: 3-5 years.
  • Mitral valve repairs: >25 per year
  • Mitral valve repair experience: >100 operations
  • Excellent mitral valve repair outcomes.
  • It is strongly encouraged for applicants and their heart teams to participate in a structured course designed for those interested in starting a cardiac robotics surgery program.

Institutional Commitment

  • da Vinci Xi robot availability: schedule up to three operations per week.
  • Team training (time and expenses - exclusive of fellowship).
  • Host institution must recognize a commitment for program development. This includes a detailed plan and arrangements for team training and proctor alignment.
  • Implementation of a successful advanced cardiac robotics program is achieved through strategic planning, clinical training, expert support, and business intelligence. A committed cardiac surgical robotic team would be comprised of:
    • Anesthesiologists
    • Perfusionists
    • Surgical assistants;
    • Nursing staff
  • Support for purchase of other required equipment and supplies.

Institutional Mitral Surgery Volume

  • Mitral valve operations: >50 per year
  • Mitral valve repair operations: >25 per year
  • Cardiac surgery operations: > 500 per year

Application Process

  • Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae with a full description of their surgical experience.
  • Letter from the hospital CEO, indicating support for a robotic cardiac surgical program.
  • Letters of support from both the department chair and division chief.
  • Case log summaries indicating total cases, mitral repairs, and mitral replacements for both the institution and applicant for the past three years.
  • One to two-page narrative to include:
    • What they hope to accomplish during the program.
    • How they plan to apply this experience to their clinical practice.
    • How this fellowship will expand their professional development.
    • A statement of future long-term career goals.
    • Awardee must indicate what system their institution uses.
  • Awardee must submit a final report to the AATS Foundation at the conclusion of their experience. The selected candidate will be required to submit a formal assessment of how the training impacted their career and the success of their institution in setting up a cardiac robotics program. AATS Foundation would also request an assessment from the proctor.

Review Process

Applications will be evaluated by the AATS Foundation Surgical Robotics Fellowship Review Committee. All applicants will be notified with an official letter from the AATS Foundation within 2-3 months of the program deadline. Should you have any questions regarding your status prior to receiving this notification, please contact

Estimated fund disbursement per awardee includes the following up to $6,000 total:

  • Up to $5,000 for airfare to/from host site and lodging expenses
  • Up to $1,000 for airfare to/from Intuitive training facility and lodging expenses

Supported By


Program currently closed:

Program will open This next opening date is being determined..