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Vol. 2 No. 1 (1996)

Educating Tomorrow's Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons in Canada: An Evolving Process

  • David S. Mulder
October 25, 2020


Societal (1), technological, organizational (2), and educational developments during the past ten years have
brought about increasing pressures for change in the graduate medical education of cardiac and thoracic
surgeons (3). These changes effectively lengthened their training to eight years and created a double standard
for the education of a thoracic surgeon. A task force mandated by the Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada nucleus committees in both cardiac and thoracic surgery, with the support of the
Canadian Society of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, addressed these issues and made the following
recommendations: cardiac surgery and thoracic surgery should each become a primary specialty with its own
nucleus committee. Each specialty would require six years of training, with the possibility of obtaining
certification in both specialties after an additional eighteen months of training. Each specialty could also be
entered after the completion of full training in general surgery. In addition, the task force urged the
development of a curriculum to guide educational objectives in each specialty. These changes promise to
create a flexible, shorter, and more focused program for cardiac and thoracic surgeons in both university and
community settings.


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