WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship

WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship

The Women in Thoracic Surgery (WTS) and Intuitive Surgical, Inc. have partnered to create a unique opportunity in advanced robotic training for a female thoracic surgeon by a female thoracic surgeon. The overreaching goals are to establish a mentoring relationship for a new female robotic surgeon and assist her in successfully launching her robotic surgical practice. WTS encourages both recent graduates and established surgeons to consider this exceptional opportunity to enrich their surgical skill set.

WTS would like to congratulate the following recipients of the 2019 WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship:

  • Rian Hasson, MD
  • Taryne Imai, MD
  • Gal Levy, MD
  • Elizabeth Marshall, MD
  • Madhuri Rao, MD
  • Smita Sihag, MD
  • Merry Uchiyama, MD

Award Overview

The WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship will provide up $5,000 per recipient. The funds will support travel of a female general thoracic surgeon and her surgical assistant for a mentoring visit with Dr. Lana Schumacher, a busy robotic general thoracic surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital, for up to three days. The fellowship will also support Dr. Schumacher in leading two separate didactic courses taking place at the ISI training center in Atlanta, GA.  Once course will take place March 25-26, 2019 and the second course will take place September 9-10, 2019. Each fellowship recipient is required to attend both didactic courses in Atlanta. This model is designed to maximize the educational relationship between trainer and trainee.

The awardee funds will cover expenses related to travel-relates expenses, including  room and board, for her and her surgical assistant for the mentoring visit in Pittsburgh as well as the didactic courses in Atlanta. WTS requires that the mentoring visit with Dr. Schumacher be completed by July 1, 2019.


Women thoracic surgeons board eligible or certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) or equivalent Canadian, European, or Asian certifying body, with >50% practice in general thoracic surgery, and the desire to establish a robotic thoracic surgery practice. Applicants must have also access to the Da Vinci® robotic system at their institution. A letter from the applicant’s chair or service chief is required to document adequate robotic access ( at least a weekly basis), permission for travel, and support for the two-day practical on-site training with Da Vinci®. Award funds may not be used to support the practical on-site training.

Mandatory Training Components

The following training is not required for the application process, but completion is obligatory prior to the mentoring visit in order to maximize the educational potential.

  • Da Vinci® Technology Online Modules
  • Da Vinci® Technology Overview In-Service with clinical sales representative
  • Da Vinci® Technology Skills Drills with Kit/Simulator modules
  • Da Vinci® Practical Training: Two-day on-site thoracic surgery training at any licensed ISI training center (Atlanta, GA; Sunnyvale, CA; Celebration, FL; Houston, TX) (award funds may not be used for on-site training).
  • Review of at least two full length procedure videos


The application process for 2019 is now closed.

The following materials are required:

  1. Completed application
  2. Applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
  3. Letter of support from chair or service chief which documents access the recipient will have to Da Vinci® robotic system on at least a weekly basis, permission for travel, and support for on-site Da Vinci® Practical Training.
  4. 100 word narrative explaining how this experience will impact the applicant and her thoracic surgery practice

Materials should be submitted as a single PDF file to Jane Yanagawa, MD, WTS Scholarship Co-Chair, at jyanagawa@mednet.ucla.edu.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the WTS Leadership and graded on strength of candidate, institutional support, and potential for career impact. The awardee will be announced at the WTS Membership Meeting and Reception on Monday, January 28, 2019 during the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 55th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.