Intuitive Robotic Fellowship

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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 overarching 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.

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 overarching 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.

Award Overview

Since 2017, the WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship has supported travel of a female general thoracic surgeon and her surgical assistant for a mentoring/case observation visit with Dr. Lana Schumacher, a busy robotic general thoracic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, for up to three days. The fellowship also supported a proctoring visit by Dr. Schumacher at the recipient’s institution. In addition, the fellowship supported Dr. Schumacher in leading two separate didactic courses and lab sessions taking place at the ISI training center in Atlanta, GA.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed limitations on the fellowship’s traditional framework, including the mentoring/case observation visit and the proctoring visit. If Massachusetts General Hospital will allow for case observations, this will take place. However, Dr. Schumacher will not be able to proctor cases in person at the awardee’s institution.  In its place, Intuitive Surgical, Inc., will provide proctoring at awardee’s institution. Considering the circumstances, WTS and Intuitive have found an exciting alternative platform that will provide advanced robotic training for a female thoracic surgeon and assist her in successfully launching her robotic surgical practice.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has developed a comprehensive online curriculum robotic thoracic surgery for surgeons of all levels of experience that launched in February 2021. If offered by STS in 2022, the 2022 WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship will provide recipients with complimentary registration fees for the STS Robotic Thoracic Surgery online curriculum. Details about the STS Robotic Thoracic Surgery online curriculum can be found on the STS website by clicking here.

It’s possible that didactic session(s) and lab will occur as part of the 2022 WTS-Intuitive Robotic Fellowship, but this is dependent upon the status of COVID-19.

Eligibility

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 also have 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).  Currently, the Intuitive Robotic Fellowship is only available to women surgeons practicing in the United States. We are working on a way to expand this globally, but we are not there yet.

Application

The application process for the WTS Intuitive Robotic Fellowship generally opens in mid to late October, closes in mid to late December.

For 2022, applications are open as of November 9, 2021 and close December 24, 2021, at midnight PST.

The following materials are required:

  • Applicant’s up-to-date Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of support from the chair, service chief  and/or hospital administration, which documents access the recipient will have to Da Vinci® robotic system on at least a weekly basis.
  • 100-word narrative explaining how this experience will impact you, the applicant and your thoracic surgery practice
  • Statement of qualification, acknowledging that you have read and meet the criteria for eligibility for this award

Materials should be submitted as a single PDF file to the WTS Scholarship Co-Chair, Katie Nason, at katie.nason@baystatehealth.org.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the WTS Leadership and graded on strength of candidate, institutional support, and potential for career impact. Notifications will be sent to applicants in February 2022.