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Application Process

Membership in the AATS is an academic meritocracy in which the Membership Committee vets applicants based on the criteria and application requirements listed below.

To apply for membership, a current Active, Senior, or Honorary member must agree to serve as a primary sponsor and initiate an application in the Nominate a Candidate area.

If you are currently a member interested in nominating a candidate, view the sponsorship requirements or contact the Association's Membership Specialist at cgarrison@aats.org for more information.

Nominations are open June - September each year.


Application Requirements:

The following materials/information must be submitted in order to complete an application for membership:

  • Three Sponsors who are currently members of the Association. Individuals serving on the Membership Committee cannot act as a Sponsor
  • Bibliography with evidence of significant contributions to thoracic surgical literature in national peer reviewed English language Journals
  • Three complete articles of significance
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • At least three years of experience in cardiothoracic surgery practice post training
  • AATS and other professional cardiothoracic meetings attended within the past five years (applicants must have attended at least one AATS Annual Meeting in the past five years to be eligible for membership)
  • Teaching awards and research grants received within the past five years

Core Values:

The Membership Committee considers applicants based on the following Association values and membership criteria:

Leadership: Demonstrating citizenship, integrity, and professionalism

Excellence in Patient Care: Dedicating ourselves to the care of thoracic and cardiovascular patients

Research and Innovation: Advancing the field through the creation and application of new knowledge

Education: Disseminating knowledge and commitment to lifelong learning

Mentoring: Fostering the next generation of healthcare specialists for thoracic and cardiovascular patients

Criteria for Membership:

Academic Appointment: University affiliation is desirable. Appropriate academic appointment for experience and evidence of progress in academia over time is important although not essential.

Bibliography: For some candidates, a bibliography is the most reliable index of academic performance and potential. The list of publications must be reviewed to assess the value of the publications in English language literature rather than relying only on the total number of publications. In addition, evaluation of the individual’s contribution to the publication, as opposed to being an incidental co-author, is important. One should consider how much of the bibliography is of a review nature or is repetitive.

Professional Conduct: Evidence of scientific originality and demonstration of careful, honest reporting and accurate scientific analysis of data is important. Discretion in relations with peers, patients, and the public is a requirement.

Professional Memberships: Membership in other national or international organizations is encouraged although it is not essential.

Clinical Performance: Clinical performance may be assessed by review of the sponsor’s reference letter. A minimum of two years in the current practice location at the time of application is no longer required, however institutional longevity will still be considered by the Committee during their applicant reviews.

Professional Stature: Evidence of leadership or medical innovation in cardiothoracic surgery including proficiency in teaching is desirable. This may be manifest by awards documenting outstanding achievements, active involvement in his/her surgical practice and professional community, and the candidate’s innovative contributions to improve the care of the thoracic surgery patient. This may include, but is not limited to medical patents, devices, processes, and new technological advancements for patient care.

Sponsor Letters: The strength of the sponsor letters is important in evaluating candidates, however confirmatory evidence of qualities rather than emotional appeal is expected. The sponsor’s contributions to the Association should add weight to the applicant’s support but should not dominate the application process. When writing a letter of support, sponsors are urged to touch on the following qualifications, (1) Personal knowledge of candidate; (2) Academic appointments; (3) Academic prestige and grant support; (4) Clinical performance; (5) Professional conduct; (6) Professional memberships; (7) Professional stature on a local and national level (8) Grant support.

Grant Support: The candidate’s current and past grant support should be considered as evidence of academic productivity.