The goal of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is to produce residents who are versed in all the contemporary aspects of both cardiac and thoracic surgery at the time of completion. We also intend to be certain that they are equipped with training and experience to commence practice in either or both fields.

History of the Program

Mass General has a long tradition of excellence in cardiothoracic surgery. Some highlights include:

  • Among graduates of the General Surgery program, 11 have served as Presidents of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) and 7 have been Presidents of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)
  • Edward D. Churchill and W. Gerald Austen led the Department of Surgery for 60 years
  • 93 cardiothoracic surgeons have graduated from the program to date
  • 22 surgeons have become either chiefs of their divisions or chiefs of surgery
  • 2 surgeons have become CEOs of health care organizations

Cardiac and Thoracic as Separate Teaching Units

One of the unusual aspects of our program is the separation of cardiac and thoracic surgery as teaching units and in the resident’s assignments to these areas of dual specialty.

There are currently separate nursing units, intensive care units, operating rooms, faculty and conferences for each of these services. This structure permits the resident to be entirely devoted to an area of specialty during the assignment to one of the units. Each unit is taught by individuals completely dedicated to the field.

Thoralf Sundt, III, MD, is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery and the Cardiothoracic Residency Program Director. Yolonda Colson, MD, PhD, is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery.

Residency Exposure

In the division of cardiac surgery, residents become experienced in several areas including minimally invasive procedures, off-pump CABG, aortic surgery, arrhythmia surgery and heart and lung transplantation.

Learn more about the cardiac surgery residency track.

In the Division of Thoracic Surgery, residents experience the full gamut from pulmonary surgery, minimally invasive surgery, complex airway reconstruction and complex esophageal procedures.

Learn more about the thoracic surgery residency track.

Residency Length

The residency program is two and a half years long. The first part of the program both tracks are very similar. In the final year of the program, residents are designated as chief on their respective service tracks. Each year, one of the three residents will spend three or six months (depending on individual interest) as chief resident in cardiovascular surgery at Boston Children's Hospital.

View the sample schedule for the cardiac track.

View the sample schedule for the thoracic track.

Program Faculty

Program Faculty

Faculty by Division

Cardiac Surgery Faculty

Thoracic Surgery Faculty

Residency Program Faculty

  • Stacey Chiacchio

    Cardiothoracic Residency Program Coordinator

Cardiac Track

The Mass General Cardiac Surgery team performs a large  amount of cardiac surgical procedures. Residents within the cardiac track receive a rich clinical experience at Massachusetts General Hospital and they will easily attain their required categorical cases. Additionally, they will gain broad exposure to the entire spectrum of complex cardiac surgery.

The Mass General Division of Cardiac Surgery includes:

  • 8 attending surgeons
  • 5-7 cardiac residents
  • 12-15 physician assistants
  • 5 nurse practitioners
  • 2 general surgery residents
  • Data manager
  • Research nurse
  • Program coordinator

From an operational standpoint, the cardiac surgery program at Mass General is based on the philosophy of a unified team, bolstered by a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Mass General Division of Cardiology.

Goal of the Cardiac Track of the Cardiothoracic Residency Program

The goal of the cardiac track residency program is to offer training on the full breadth of cardiac surgery.

Trainees on the cardiac track spend sufficient time on the general thoracic service. By getting experience in both clinical areas, trainees can exceed their case requirements in all areas.

On the cardiac service, there is a robust practice in the complete spectrum of conditions such that trainees receive a solid foundation in all conditions they are likely to see in their careers, such as:

Rotation Schedule

In addition, residents rotate in the cardiac catheterization laboratory and receive training in echocardiography and catheter-based interventions for structural heart disease. They also receive exposure to the Heart Center Intensive Care Unit, caring for both medical and surgical cardiac patients and staffed by a multidisciplinary group of boarded intensivists. This rotation complements the residents’ work in Mass General’s 18-bed cardiac surgical unit.

Year 1

Cardiac Surgery
Mass General
6 months

General Thoracic Surgery
Mass General

5 months

Year 2

Congenital Cardiac Surgery
Boston Children's Hospital
3 or 6 months

Cardiac Surgery
Mass General

3 months

 General Thoracic Surgery
Mass General

2 months

Year 3

Cardiac Surgery
Mass General
6 months

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to this residency program, learn more about the application process.

Thoracic Track

Thoracic residents receive a rich clinical experience at Massachusetts General Hospital. With an extraordinarily busy clinical service, the thoracic team provides a high volume of pulmonary, esophageal (both benign and malignant), mediastinal and tracheal procedures. The clinical and operative experience offers a referral base for complex procedures.

Residents are exposed to an array of clinical experience, and case-based learning is emphasized. We believe this is truly the best way for residents to learn. Didactic conferences are held weekly for residents to gain more exposure to thoracic surgery.

The Mass General Division of Thoracic Surgery includes:

  • 9 attending surgeons
  • 2 thoracic residents
  • 3 physician assistants
  • 4 nurse practitioners
  • 2 general surgery residents
  • Data manager
  • Research nurse
  • Program coordinator

Goal of the Thoracic Track in the Cardiothoracic Residency Program

The goal of the program is to train thoracic residents in the full breadth of thoracic surgery including endoscopy, open and minimally invasive surgery and airway surgery.

On the thoracic track, there is a robust practice in the complete spectrum of conditions such that trainees receive a solid foundation in all conditions they are likely to see in their careers, such as:

Rotation Schedule

The general thoracic track residents typically spend 16 months on general thoracic surgery rotations. Residents are encouraged to spend time at other thoracic programs, such as Mayo Clinic or Memorial Sloan Kettering, and this includes two 3-month away rotations.

Year 1

General Thoracic Surgery
Mass General
6 months

Cardiac Surgery
Mass General

4 months

Congenital Cardiac Surgery
Boston Children's Hospital

1 month

Year 2

Elective Away Rotations - General Thoracic Surgery (choose from 2 institutions)
Options: Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering, University of Pittsburgh, Toronto General Hospital
6 months per institution

Cardiac Surgery
Mass General

6 months

Year 3

General Thoracic Surgery
Mass General
6 months

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to this residency program, learn more about the application process.


A schedule emphasizing cardiac surgical training may include first-year rotations in cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery and at Boston Children's Hospital, followed by successive six-month rotations as chief in cardiac and thoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and then at Boston Children's Hospital.

If thoracic surgery were to be the main emphasis, the schedule may substitute additional time on the thoracic service during the first year and a half at Massachusetts General Hospital (or possibly another institution) and conclude with six months as cardiac chief resident and six months as thoracic chief resident.

Two one-month blocks of vacation are permitted to each resident during training.

View the sample schedule for the cardiac track

View the sample schedule for the thoracic track

Clinical Load

The clinical load is robust, so laboratory investigative work by residents is not possible during the cardiothoracic residency. However, members of the resident staff frequently carry on limited projects in clinical investigation, usually in conjunction with members of the staff. An important goal is to be able to present at national meetings and begin developing a portfolio of contribution to the field. This can also help when it comes time to find a graduate’s first appointment.

Instructional Basics

Basic science instruction is primarily derived while in the course of the surgical house officers' regular duties. Pathologic material is routinely reviewed at cardiac and thoracic surgical morbidity and mortality rounds. Numerous special conferences are also designed primarily for the instruction of cardiac and thoracic trainees. In addition, conferences in cardiology, pulmonary medicine, and anesthesia are open to cardiac and thoracic surgical residents.

How to Apply

We will accept applications from resident physicians who have/will have successfully completed a 5-year Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited General Surgery residency program in the U.S. or Canada. We do not directly accept or process applications for this residency. You must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

Our deadline for July 1, 2020 residency start date applications and all supporting documentation is February 1, 2019. Please note we are only accepting Cardiac track applicants. The date for our Spring 2019 interview season is Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Step 1: To apply to the program, visit the ERAS website.

All applications for our cardiothoracic surgery residency program must be submitted through ERAS. Programs participating in ERAS may only accept those application materials sent electronically through ERAS. We will not accept any additional supporting documents by mail.

Step 2: Applicants must register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). To register, visit the NRMP website. Please refer to NRMP for information on registration procedures and deadlines.

Step 3: If you are considered for a position, you will be asked to visit Massachusetts General Hospital for an interview with the program director and cardiothoracic faculty.


Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program

Q: What is the didactic curriculum like?
A:  Massachusetts General Hospital has an active and engaging didactic curriculum for cardiothoracic residents. It starts with weekly dedicated didactic sessions for both cardiac and thoracic surgery. In addition, there are multiple additional conferences including a thoracic oncology conference, cardiac catheterization conference and a congenital heart conference which complement the weekly didactic curriculum. Mock oral examinations are held 3-4 times per year to assist in preparing fellows for the cardiothoracic Board examinations.

Q: Are there any elective rotations?
A: Elective rotations are available on thoracic surgery and typically constitute 4-5 months at two other institutions. Dissipating institutions have included Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Toronto. Cardiac track residents will typically spend between 3-6 months at Boston Children’s Hospital with the congenital heart program.

Life as a Mass General Resident

Q: What benefits are available to residents?
A: Residents are eligible for medical, dental, disability, life insurance and much more. View a comprehensive list of all the benefits available to residents.

Q: Will there be an opportunity to discuss my benefits option with a benefits expert?
A: Yes. During your orientation, you will have the opportunity to meet with Massachusetts General Hospital Human Resources representatives who will explain the medical and dental benefits, as well as the disability and life insurance programs. You may sign up during this time as well.

Q: Is there housing assistance available to residents?
A: Yes. The Partners Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office offers a Housing Exchange Database and a Lease Guarantee Program for residents and fellows. Please visit the Partners GME Housing website for more information.

Q: Are there childcare options available through Partners HealthCare?
A: Yes. Learn more about childcare options.

Q: What will my annual salary be?
A: The resident salary scale is based on your post-graduate year (PGY) level and can be found on the Partners GME website. This salary scale applies to all residents across the Partners system, including Mass General.

Q: Will I have to sign an employment contract?
A: Yes. Each year, every resident will receive a contract and associated GME and departmental policies. You may preview them at the Partners GME website.

Q: Does the program offer any financial assistance?
A: Yes. We offer several financial benefits to our residents, including:

  • Providing an educational allotment for books and other materials 
  • Supporting travel to local and national meetings
  • Providing a meal card to assist with meals while on call
  • Covering expenses of General Surgery board review course to pass oral exams
  • Providing a stipend and bonus

Joint Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery Program (4+3)

Massachusetts General Hospital offers a Joint Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery Program, known as the fast-track 4+3 program, which makes residents eligible for certification through the American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Learn more.

Q: What is the benefit of being in the 4+3 program?
A: The 4+3 experience allows you to gain extra cardiac and thoracic surgery training during your general surgery residency years and skip the interview process and proceed directly into CT surgery training. During PGY4 and PGY5 years, a 4+3 resident will spend 6 months on CT surgery (3 months on thoracic, 3 months on cardiac) totaling 12 months on CT surgery before officially starting in the CT surgery residency as a PGY6. Additionally, as a 4+3 resident, participation in all CT surgery activities is encouraged including but not limited to research projects, national meeting attendance, visiting professor and other various educational events.

Q: How can I apply to the 4/3 Mass General program?
A: You must be accepted into the General Surgery Residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital to qualify. If you are interested in applying for a 4+3 slot, you should notify the General Surgery Residency Program Director, Thoracic Surgery Program Director and Associate Program Director including specifically the cardiac vs. thoracic track by the July of the year before your PGY4 clinical year. The interview process will be conducted amongst all cardiothoracic faculty during the months of August and September and a decision will be made by the faculty.


The cardiothoracic surgery group is leading health care with innovative research. Below are some recent publications from the cardiothroacic surgeons:


Division of Cardiac Surgery Research

All surgeons in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Mass General participate in clinical research.

We are leading in research in cardiac surgery, including:

  • Joren C. Madsen, MD, is leading the basic and translational research in transplantation immunology. He co-directs the Center for Transplantation Sciences (CTS) and the mission is to improve the survival and lives of recipients with organ, tissue and cell transplants.
  • Gus J. Vlahakes, MD, has led a laboratory with a primary focus of functional mitro regurgitation.

Division of Thoracic Surgery Research

Similarly, all surgeons within the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital participate in active clinical research, typically within their field of interest. Research papers are presented at national meetings by residents and fellows. Mass General is an active participant and a leader in the development of the General Thoracic Database in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons under the leadership of Cameron Wright, MD.

We are leading in research and have the current research labs:

Learn more about the current research in the Department of Surgery.



Graduate YearGraduate's Name & PracticeInstitution

Hugh Auchincloss - General Thoracic
Michael Kwon - Congenital Fellowship
Eric Feins - Congenital Fellowship

Mass General
Children's Hospital
Children's Hospital

David Greenhouse - Congenital Fellowship
Natalie Lui - General Thoracic
Smita Sihag - General Thoracic

Emory, Children's Healthcare
Stanford University
Memorial Sloan Kettering

2015 Joshua Goldberg - Cardiac
Paresh Mane - General Thoracic
Matthew Fox - General Thoracic
Westchester Medical Center
St. Peters Health Partners
University of Louisville
2014 Tae Song - Cardiac
Cameron Stock - General Thoracic
Tim Millington - General Thoracic
University of Chicago
UMass Memorial
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical


Justin Blasberg - General Thoracic
Karl Limmer - Private Practice
Harald Ott - General Thoracic
Yale New Haven Hospital
Sharp Memorial Hospital
Mass General
2012 Christopher Mutrie - Private Practice
Eitan Podgaetz - General Thoracic
Salil Shah - Cardiac
Baptist Memorial Group
University of Minnesota
Thomas Jefferson University
2011 John Craig - Private Practice
Daniel Raz - General Thoracic
Samuel Kim - General Thoracic
Baptist Memorial Group
City of Hope Medical Center
University of Arizona


Pierre De Delva - General Thoracic - Now Chief
Vincent Daniel - General Thoracic
Allen Cheng - Fellowship

University of Mississippi

Ohio State University
University of Rochester

2009 Joshua Baker - Cardiac, Private Practice
Ashok Muniappan - General Thoracic
Nathaniel Evans - General Thoracic
Missouri Baptist Medical Ctr
Mass General
Thomas Jefferson University

Michael Coello - General Thoracic (Private Practice)
Moishe Liberman - General Thoracic - now Chief
Ajit Kurien Tharakan - Cardiac - now Chief

Beaumont Hospital

University of Montreal

University of Missouri

Nathan R. Bates - Private Practice
Douglas J. Minnich - General Thoracic
Robert E. Merritt - General Thoracic, now Chief

Orange Park Medical Center
University of Alabama
Ohio State


Scott Cowan - General Thoracic
Steven Fiser - Cardiac (Private Practice)
Christopher Morse - General Thoracic

Thomas Jefferson University
Richmond, VA
Mass General


Modassir Choudhry - Venture Capitalist
Glenn Egire - Cardiac
Todd Weiser

Passport Capital
White Plains, NY

2004 Frederick Chen - Cardiac, now Chief
Francis Fynn-Thompson - Congenital Cadiac
Robert Shen - General Thoracic

Tufts Medical Center
Children's Hospital Boston

Mayo Clinic


James Caccitolo - Cardiothoracic
David Helman - Cardiac
Michael Lanuti - General Thoracic

University of Texas
Mass General


Zane Hammoud - General Thoracic, now Chief
Edwin McGee - Cardiac
Bassem Mora - Congenital Cardiac

Henry Ford Hospital

Loyola Medicine
University of Chicago


Simon Ashiku - Private Practice
Mark Blucher - Private Practice
Michael Reed - General Thoracic

Kaiser Permanente
St. John's Mercy Medical Ctr
Penn State University


Contact Us

Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program

Massachusetts General Hospital

Stacey Chiacchio, Residency Program Coordinator55 Fruit Street, Cox 630 Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
Learn more about thoracic surgery Learn more about cardiac surgery

Call for more information Phone: 617-726-2107

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