Department of Thoracic Surgery


Department of Thoracic Surgery
Administrative Office
609 Oxford House
1313 21st Ave South
Nashville, TN 37232-4682
Phone: (615) 322-0248
Fax: (615) 936-7003

Thoracic Surgery Clinic
1710 The Vanderbilt Clinic
1301 Medical Center Drive
Nashville, TN 37232-5734
Phone: (615) 322-0064

Residency Education

Residency in Thoracic Surgery website >>

The departments of Thoracic Surgery and Cardiac Surgery provide a fully-accredited ACGME residency education program in all aspects of adult cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery, and general thoracic surgery – leading to certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Two residents are selected each year for the three-year program. In 2010, the program was accredited for five years with no citations from the Residency Review Committee in Thoracic Surgery, ACGME. We evaluate resident skills using a web-based Assessment of Operative Skills to ensure proficiency in coronary revascularization, aortic valve replacement, mitral valve repair and replacement, anatomic pulmonary resection, esophagectomy and endoscopy. We also jointly host the Annual Rollin A. Daniel, M.D., Jr., Lecture.


Simulation Training

Just as pilots train in a flight simulator, Vanderbilt surgical residents and medical school students planning a career in surgery are learning critical surgical skills in an innovative simulated operating room environment.

Building on the Department of Surgery’s highly successful and evolving simulation training program, Jonathan C. Nesbitt, M.D., launched the Cardiac Surgery Simulation Program — one of only a handful of institutions in the world offering a life-like beating heart simulation model. Intricate procedures, such as coronary bypass surgery, aortic valve replacement and aortic root replacement are simulated.

The department of Surgery’s simulation training program, led by Light Lab Director Phillip Williams and former Administrative Chief Resident Kyla Terhune, M.D., now assistant professor of General Surgery, is novel in that it is led by the efforts of many residents who are committed to acquiring and improving skills outside of the operating room in a low stakes, low cost, yet highly effective environment.

The program provides residents with specialized skills training laboratories four times a month, enabling residents to perform actual surgical techniques, such as laparoscopy as well as traditional open surgery. Senior residents participate in quarterly skills sessions in preparation for acquiring the required certification in “Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery.”

And new residents attend a two-day boot camp through Vanderbilt’s Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA), which teaches practical skills in a simulated environment. Following 100 years of apprentice-style surgical training, Vanderbilt’s simulation program is bridging the gap between surgical knowledge and real world experience.

This page was last updated March 9, 2016 and is maintained by