The Summer Intern Scholarship program in Cardiothoracic Surgery, funded and administered by the AATS Graham Foundation, was established in 2007 to introduce the field of cardiothoracic surgery to medical students in a North American medical school with the goal of broadening their educational experience by providing an opportunity to spend a summer working in an AATS member’s, cardiothoracic surgery department. As an AATS Scholar, I was given the opportunity to work under the mentorship of one of the world’s top leading Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Congenital Heart Surgeon, Dr. John W. Brown, the Harris B Shumacker Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.
During my 12 week mentorship and training under Dr. Brown, I was educated in the basic anatomy and physiology of the majority of congenital cardiac lesions, and was able to learn the basis of surgical technical proficiency for common, uncomplicated congenital heart defects. Furthermore, Dr. Brown, along with other surgeons at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, introduced me to the essential operative skills required in the field of CT and CHD surgery, as well as allowed me to participate in all aspects of the assessment, management plan formulation, surgery and perioperative care of children and adults with complex congenital heart disease at Riley Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital at Indiana University School of Medicine.
This was truly an amazing experience for me. I got to be first assist in 12 surgeries and was second assist in 15 more. Overall, I got to be part of 27 congenital heart surgeries and I have to say this was making point of my life. Coming into medical school I knew I wanted to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, nonetheless, I did not know there were so many subspecialties in the field; subspecialties such as cardiovascular surgery, lung and heart transplant surgery, heart failure etc. However, after participating in pediatric and adult congenital heart surgery, I feel that this is what I would love to do for the rest of my life. Working wit kids was an amazing experience, it made all the horrible nightmares of anatomy, physiology and microbiology all worth it hehe.
As this summer comes to an end, I am truly thankful for being chosen as an AATS Summer Surgery Scholar and for being part of IUSM Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, In addition to working under the mentorship of Dr. John W. Brown.