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Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program

UC San Diego's Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Residency program is designed to train leaders in CT surgery. Our program is directed by Dr. Patricia Thistlethwaite, a world authority in pulmonary hypertension research, and under the guidance of our chief, Dr. Michael Madani, an internationally-recognized expert in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE).

Mission Statement and Philosophy

The mission of the training program is to train cardiothoracic surgeons who provide compassionate, expert-level care to patients from all backgrounds in an engaging and benevolent environment.


The trainees rotate such that they are never both at the same hospital. This means that residents are able to have their pick of cases each day. Additionally, there are no predefined cardiac and general thoracic tracks or rotations, meaning that residents are able to tailor their training and case load to their desired clinical practice. Lastly, robust coverage provided by our nurse practitioners and physician assistants allows residents to focus primarily on their operative responsibilities.

Graduated Autonomy

At each hospital, the cardiothoracic resident assumes chief resident responsibility, supervising general surgery residents in pre-operative and post-operative care. Over the two years of training, the cardiothoracic surgery residents achieve increasing levels of surgical experience and independence. In addition to carefully structured clinical time, weekly conferences are held in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, pulmonary surgery, and transplantation. There is a weekly session specifically devoted to resident education and review of the thoracic surgery curriculum. The members of our faculty have a strong commitment to teaching and are dedicated to maintaining an excellent training program.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI)

There is a strong commitment to DEI programs and initiatives at all levels of UCSD. Graduate Medical Education (GME) demonstrates this through grand rounds, journal clubs, and teaching activities which are dedicated to topics which are widely relevant yet focused on salient and critical DEI issues.

At the university level, the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence outlines three pillars for ensuring continued progress.

  1. Access and Success – Attract, retain, and support a diverse faculty, staff, and student body with the goal of reflecting California demographics and achieving institutional excellence at UC San Diego.
  2. Climate – Create and foster a positive and welcoming climate where we value, include, and support all at UC San Diego.
  3. Accountability – Ensure institutional accountability through UC San Diego departments and divisions.

Program Details

  • One resident accepted per year
  • Two year traditional cardiothoracic track
  • Home call
  • Fully accredited by the ACGME
  • Weekly resident education conference, which follows the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Thoracic Surgical Curriculum.

Application Information

Only applications submitted via the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) will be considered.

If you are interested in knowing more about our graduate medical education program, please go to our Graduate Medical Education page.

For more information, please contact our residency coordinator:

Veronica Felix
9500 Gilman Dr. #7892
La Jolla, CA 92093-7892

Phone: (858) 657-7777
Fax: (858) 657-5058