Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Six-Year Training Program
The faculty of UTHSCSA's Cardiothoracic Surgery Division welcomes your interest in the six year Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery program. This is a newly organized, concentrated course of study specifically designed to efficiently provide the very best training through an integrated, multidisciplinary, competency-based approach.
Each of our faculty chose the cardiothoracic surgery career path because it offers the opportunity to significantly help others while providing a comfortable life for our families and us. As we continue to practice this rigorous and challenging medical specialty daily, we have noted that projections suggest a shortage of CT Surgeons in the next decade. While we cannot predict the exact landscape of CT surgery, it seems clear our skill set will remain in demand.
We are therefore pleased to be one of the early medical schools approved to offer to interested and focused medical students a six-year curriculum in Cardiothoracic Surgery. This program offers a substantial savings in matriculation time (six years rather than seven, eight years or more) for the motivated medical school graduate to learn, master, and then to perform the delicate and crucial art of heart surgery and other essential thoracic operative procedures. It also affords the opportunity of supervised, yet hands-on cardiac surgery and thoracic surgery experience in the third year.
This is a small program with highly individualized instruction and close, daily interaction with faculty and senior residents, which is designed to address the strengths and weaknesses of each student in a collegial, yet challenging environment and with constant goal of producing surgeons of the highest caliber.
The program is divided into an introductory period of two years, and a final, more hands-on operative experience consisting of progressive responsibility and skills development across all of CT surgical practices to include adult cardiac, general thoracic, heart and lung transplantation, VAD implantation, endovascular techniques, and congenital heart surgery. Significant critical care time, patient management, and a fairly unique exposure to pacemakers and ICD implantation are also a core of our experience. In the first two years, we have been able to add in protected time in the cath lab, cardiology imaging section, basic radiology imaging, pulmonary service, and a couple of months of simulation and/or research to allow our residents to plan a line of, usually clinical, investigation that they can pursue throughout their time with us. We hope this will allow for a number of publications and a well-supported research effort to involve but not inundate our residents. The final two years will be similar to the current junior and senior years of our current two-year program. The primary rotations will be either adult cardiac or adult thoracic with the emphasis on mastery of the key operations fundamental to our specialty and an opportunity to develop further skills in endovascular, advanced pulmonary or advanced cardiac surgical arenas. As the student progresses through each rotation, the focus upon cardiothoracic operative practice and perspective intensifies. In this way specialized clinical work and intensive mentoring work together to achieve the objective of Board Certification upon graduation.
As one can see above, built into year one are rotations that cater to the development of a complete CT Surgeon. The residents start on CT to meet all our faculty and learn our goals and principles and participate in our conferences early on. From this point, they obtain a nice exposure to a variety of GS rotations, spend time on transplantation, and the Anesthesia service where they are taught the basics of intubation, line placements, and anesthetic management. They receive more time on bread and butter CT surgery at our VA, and then spend some time in Pulmonary medicine learning about bronchoscopy and PFT's, have a month of research elective, and some more vascular and CT time.
In the second year, we have worked with radiology to have a month devoted to chest imaging, and they spend most of their time in transplant, critical care, vascular, or bread and butter GS rotations. Specific rotation in cardiology for heart failure and echo are prescribed. At the end of these two years, they are brought into the CT fold almost exclusively for graduated development and maturation of technical and clinical judgment skills on the various CT sites. They do have important time in year three on pediatric surgery and an opportunity to work in the radiology interventional suite for a month as well.
Current cardiothoracic program residents
Carlo Martinez, MD, MS |
Originally from Mexico, Dr. Martinez and his parents immigrated to the United States when he was six years old. He grew up in San Antonio, TX. Though initially interested in the neurosciences, he became involved in thoracic surgery research involving explanted lungs and bronchial stents in the laboratory of Dr. Joel Cooper at Washington University.
HelenMarie Merritt, DO |
Dr. Merritt has been a leader throughout her medical training, serving on multiple boards and committees in the American and Texas Medical Associations. She is a member of Sigma Sigma Phi, a national service honor society, and she has received recognition for hours dedicated to volunteering, including the TOUCH award for service excellence. She enjoys being active, competing in tennis tournaments, and road biking.
Joseph M. Monfre, MS, MD |
Dr. Monfre was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. He attended the University of Wyoming, where he completed undergraduate degrees in Zoology/Physiology and Medical Microbiology, as well as a Master's degree in Pathobiology. He attended medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle as part of the WWAMI regional medical education program. Dr. Monfre's research interests include acute care surgery, trauma/critical care, rural surgery and wound infections. He plans to return to community practice in Wyoming following residency at UTHSCSA.
Amanda Eilers, DO | Email | Biosketch
Dr. Eilers grew up in Central Wisconsin. She attended St. Norbert College, earning a BS in Biology in 2006. Prior to medical school she gained valuable experience by working as an emergency medical technician for a rural county ambulance service. Throughout undergraduate and medical school she remained active in education, working as a teaching assistant in chemistry, physical diagnosis, anatomy, and surgery. In her free time, Dr. Eilers enjoys the outdoors, road biking, and spending time with her husband and yellow Labrador.
Hao Pan, MD | Email | Biosketch
Dr. Pan was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, CA. He attended Villanova University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology/Integrated Physiology and competed for both Division I Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Throughout undergraduate he remained active in education, working as a teaching assistant in organic chemistry. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix. Dr. Pan’s research interests include immunosuppression in heart transplantation and blood conservation. He plans to return to private practice in Phoenix, AZ following residency at UTHSCSA.