TSF Underrepresented Robotic General Thoracic Surgeon Development Award

An award for General Thoracic surgeons who are: underrepresented, rurally located, or working with medically underserved populations, and who wish to establish a robotic general thoracic surgical practice.

Purpose

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) created a new program – with generous support from Intuitive Inc – for general thoracic surgeons who are either: 1.) from an underrepresented in medicine demographic group or 2.) who works in a designated rural area, or 3.) who works in a medically underserved area/population.

This unique educational opportunity will provide participants skills to help create and grow a robotic general thoracic surgical practice through observing and receiving mentorship from an established robotic general thoracic surgeon who is also from an underrepresented in medicine group. The STS/TSF Underrepresented & Robotic General Thoracic Surgeon Development Award will provide up to $10,000 of travel-related support (travel to be booked via Tangerine Travel, Intuitive’s preferred travel agency, and only actual costs will be paid). Half of the award will be distributed to the recipient, and half would be distributed to an approved mentor, as further outlined below. (The TR200 and TR400 course/lab fees will be donated by Intuitive, an estimated cost of approximately $7,000).

Award Structure

The award recipient is expected to complete Intuitive Inc’s prerequisite training, including the 2-day on-site training (TR200) at an Intuitive-affiliated facility, following which the award recipient and their surgical assistant would travel to the mentor’s institution for up to one week (5 business days) of case observations and teaching. The mentor would then visit the awardee for one day of proctoring within 3 months of the awardee’s visit to the mentor’s institution. Following the mentorship activities, the award recipient is expected to complete a 2-day TR400 advanced training course at an Intuitive facility.

All award-related activities should be completed within 6 months of receipt of the award. At the 6-month mark following completion of the award requirements, the surgeon awardee must provide a report to STS and TSF outlining the experience with their training and mentorship, how the award has impacted their practice, and providing robotic general thoracic case volumes from the preceding 12 months.

Eligibility/Prerequisites

  • American Board of Thoracic Surgery certified or eligible thoracic surgeon, with >50% general thoracic surgery practice.
  • Fits at least one of the following descriptors:
    • Underrepresented in medicine minority group as defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges: “Underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.”
    • Practices in a rural county as defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to include all non-metropolitan areas (core population less than 50,000), or a Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) code of 4 to 10 (https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/rural-urban-commuting-area-codes.aspx).
    • Practices in a medically underserved area/population as designated by Health Resources and Services Area (HRSA) as having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population. (https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/shortage-area/mua-find), and/or Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) as designated by HRSA as having shortages of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), population or facilities. (https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/shortage-area/hpsa-find)
  • Documented access to the DaVinci robotic system of at least once per week.
  • Documentation from the chair of surgery, or equivalent administrative position, at the applicant’s hospital, of support for and permission to travel for both the surgeon and surgical assistant to the on-site Intuitive training, the mentor’s institution, and the STS Workshop on Robotic Thoracic Surgery (if offered during the year of the award).
  • Documentation from the chair of surgery, or equivalent administrative position, at the applicant’s hospital of financial support to cover participant and program-related related expenses not covered by the award.

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 (TR200): two-day on-site general thoracic surgery training at any affiliated ISI training center
  • Da Vinci Practical Training (TR400): two-day on-site advanced thoracic surgery training at any affiliated ISI training center
  • Review of at least two full length procedure videos

Application Materials

  • Completed application form
  • Applicant’s curriculum vitae
  • Letter of support from the chair/chief of surgery at the applicant’s hospital documenting the following:
    • Support and permission to travel for both the surgeon and surgical assistant to the on-site Intuitive training, the mentor institution and the STS Workshop on Robotic Thoracic Surgery (if offered during the year of the award).
    • Financial support to cover extemporaneous costs, including additional travel-related expenses.
    • Financial support to cover any costs incurred if an external proctor is needed, in addition to the one visit by the STS mentor, in order to satisfy the home institution’s privileging requirements for the surgeon awardee to obtain robotic surgery privileges.
  • 100-word narrative explaining how the award will impact the surgeon and their general thoracic surgical practice.

Funding

The “Underserved Robotic General Thoracic Surgeon Development Award” is a $10,000 award, which will be paid to the award recipient and the award recipient’s mentor. The grant will be administered as follows:

Award Recipient ($5,000)

  • Travel expenses, including room and board, for the awardee and their surgical assistant to visit the mentor’s site for up to 5 days.
  • Travel expenses, including room and board, for awardee to attend 2-day on-site training at an affiliated Intuitive facility for surgeon awardee and surgical assistant.
  • In-kind donation from Intuitive of didactic/simulation costs for a 2-day on-site training (TR200) at Intuitive facility for the surgeon awardee and surgical assistant.
  • In-kind donation from Intuitive of didactic/simulation costs for a 2-day on-site advanced training (TR400) at Intuitive facility for the surgeon awardee.

Mentor ($5,000)

  • Travel expenses, including room and board, for the STS mentor to do one day of case proctoring at the recipient’s home institution.
  • Travel expenses, including room and board, for the STS mentor to proctor the 2-day on-site training at an affiliated Intuitive facility for the surgeon awardee and surgical assistant.

NOTE: Travel and accommodations to be booked via Tangerine Travel (Intuitive’s preferred travel agency), and only actual costs will be paid from the $5,000 allocated per award recipient and mentor.

Award Committee:

  • David Cooke, MD
  • Melanie Edwards, MD
  • Cherie Erkmen, MD
  • Julian Guitron, MD
  • Jules Lin, MD
  • Robert Merritt, MD
  • Bernard Park, MD
  • David Rice, MD
  • Smita Sihag, MD

Awards Timeline:

  • Accepting Applications: 07/01/21
  • Application Deadline: 09/01/21
  • Award Announcement: 10/01/21
  • Training completion: 04/01/2022