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Thoracic Surgical Robotics Fellowship

Applicant Requirements: Deadline ends at 11:59pm Eastern on 12/1/2024

Career Stage: Early Career Surgeons, Residents, Fellows

Program Type: Training Program or Course

Specialty: Thoracic

Status: Upcoming

Opens: September 1, 2024

Deadline: December 2, 2024

Program Overview

The AATS Foundation Thoracic Surgical Robotics Fellowship provides an advanced educational experience for North American general thoracic awardees and their attending surgeons to spend a one-day basic training course at Intuitive Surgical's Atlanta, GA or Houston, TX facilities to participate in a hands-on lab using Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci System.

The fellowship is administered by the AATS Foundation and supports successful applicants and their attending surgeons in the amount of up to $2,000* to defray the costs of travel and accommodations while participating in the one-day Technology Skills Training Course at their selected training center. Awarded fellows are split into smaller groups to attend different course dates. The first portion of the course is focused on the use of the da Vinci Surgical System, each awardee will work directly with an Intuitive training specialist in the lab to practice standard training protocol on a KindHeart specimen. The second part of the day is a surgeon / faculty led lab based program that focuses on the clinical application of the da Vinci Surgical System. Successful applicants receive a mixture of didactic and hands-on training to maximize the educational value of the in person experience.

Fellows are expected return to their institution and apply their training in surgical procedures with their attending surgeon. After the successful completion of a minimum number of thoracic procedures, eligible awardees will be invited to participate in a one-day Clinical Procedure Skills Training Course and will be supported in the amount of up to $1,000* to participate. Those who attend both courses and complete all program requirements will receive an AATS Foundation/ Intuitive Surgical Certificate of Completion.

*Please note that funding provided will cover travel and hotel accommodations which will be booked directly through Tangerine Travel for all fellows and attendings.

View Thoracic Surgical Robotics Fellowship recipients

Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrollment in an ACGME approved fellowship program
  • Annual surgeon mentor robotic minimum volume in the last twelve (12) months including:
    • Twenty-five (25) robotic lobectomies, segmentectomies and/or sleeve procedures
    • Senior fellow in an ACGME approved fellowship program, or junior attending (ACGME fellows graduate) in the first three (3) years of practice
    • Commitment from Program Director or Lead Attending to mentor trainee over the course of the program through attainment of equivalency certificate
    • Commitment from institution to provide updates on cases performed using the da Vinci System prior to and following the fellowship program
    • Access to a fourth generation da Vinci X/Xi System

To be completed prior to attending the one-day Technology Skills Training 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).
  • Completion of five (5) robotic cases prior to hands on/in-person program
  • Console competency for basic surgical tasks as determined by their attending or program

Two Full-Length Procedure Video Reviews

  • Review procedure videos available on Intuitive website.

To be completed after the one-day Technology Skills Training Course:

  • Upon returning to home center, fellows are required to complete a minimum of 7 robotic thoracic cases as console surgeon as well as submit an edited case video to qualify for the Clinical Procedure Skills Training Course in the Winter of 2024. The edited case video requires that the awardee be the console surgeon for the key portions of the procedure, and it must be indicated in the video the portion where their mentor takes over.

To be completed after the one-day Clinical Procedure Skills Training Course:

  • Upon returning to home center, Fellows are required to complete a minimum of 4 robotic lobectomy cases as console surgeon as well as submit an edited case video to qualify for the AATS Foundation/Intuitive Surgical Training Certificate.

Application Process

  • Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae with a full description of their surgical experience.
  • Letter of support from their current attending surgeon.*
  • A one to two page narrative to include:
    • What you hope to accomplish during the Fellowship.
    • The relationship of the planned study to your prior work, preparation, and professional goals.
    • Statement of your future career goals and plans for future practice.
  • Attending’s robotic case logs for trailing calendar year as well as the robotic case logs for their thoracic service department. (When uploading this information, please use this template)

At the conclusion of their experience, fellows are asked to complete a post-fellowship survey for submission to the AATS Foundation. As part of Sunshine Act requirements, the value of the course for all trainees will be reported.

*For those looking to send letters of support for the candidate directly to the AATS Foundation, please email

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed the thoracic members of the AATS Foundation’s Surgical Robotics Scholarship Committee and will be 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.

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

Supported By

Program currently closed:

Program will open September 1, 2024.