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Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship

Children's Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado Department of Surgery offer a one-year fellowship in Congenital Cardiac Surgery each academic year.  The pediatric cardiac surgery program at CHC has trainedfellows for over thirty years, many of whom have become leaders in the field. This one-year fellowship position is a participant in the Congenital Cardiac Surgery Match program. For more information, visit the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association Congenital Match page. 

Prerequisite Criteria

The Congenital Cardiac Surgery fellowship is open to individuals who have completed or are scheduled to complete a Thoracic Surgery residency by the time of enrollment.

Goals of the Program

The goals of the program are to provide an introduction to all forms of congenital heart defects, and to provide a graded progression of responsibility in the pre-operative, intraoperative, and postoperative management of patients with congenital heart defects. This training will include patients of any age, pediatric or adult, who have congenital heart disease. See the Educational Goals and Objectives section below for more details.


The Division of Congenital Cardiac Surgery includes four full-time board-certified congenital cardiac surgeons. Faculty members include James Jaggers, MD, Program Director and Division Chief; David Campbell, MD; Max Mitchell, MD; and Matthew Stone, MD, our newest faculty member. The faculty serve Children's Hospital Colorado and University Hospital.


The Congenital Fellow will be based at Children's Hospital. The fellow will also be heavily involved in all aspects of multidisciplinary congenital cardiovascular medicine and will gain significant exposure to pediatric cardiology and pediatric cardiac anesthesia.

The fellow will participate in all aspects of the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative care of congenital cardiac surgery patients. While there is no mandatory in-house call, it is expected that the fellow will be heavily involved in all aspects of patient care within the framework of work duty hour limitations.

The inpatient unit consists of a 16-bed dedicated Cardiac intensive care unit and a 16-bed step-down unit. There are two dedicated operating rooms and a hybrid cath-OR suite. The outpatient facility is shared with pediatric cardiology. There is close interaction between these services for interdisciplinary care. The fellow’s operative experience will be milestone based, and progressive increased responsibility will be granted based on achievement of these milestones.

There are also numerous didactic teaching conferences and patient care conferences that the fellow will be required to attend, as well as weekly sessions of congenital heart defect review with a faculty cardiac surgeon. Following completion of the fellowship, it is expected that the fellow will be competent in all areas of congenital cardiac surgery, including pediatric cardiac transplantation and mechanical assist devices and will sit for the congenital cardiac surgery board examination.

Educational Goals and Objectives

Patient Care

Congenital Cardiac Surgical Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Patient Care Learning Activities during the 1 year residency which provide experience in this competency development include:

  • Inpatient and outpatient patient care experiences.
  • Operative patient care experiences.
  • Operative log completion and review.
  • Case review at M&M conference.
  • Case discussion at weekly resident conferences.
  • Bedside teaching.
  • Ward rounds.
  • Operating room instruction.
  • Journal Club participation.

Residents are expected to:

  • Communicate effectively and demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families.
  • Gather essential and accurate information about their patients.
  • Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment.
  • Develop and carry out patient management plans.
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families.
  • Use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education.
  • Perform competently all medical and invasive procedures considered essential for the area of practice.
  • Provide health care services aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health.
  • Work with health care professionals, including those from other disciplines, to provide patient-focused care.

Medical Knowledge

Congenital Cardiac Surgical Residents must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.

Medical Knowledge Learning Activities during surgical rotations which provide experience in this competency development include:

  • Weekly resident conferences.
  • Weekly Surgical Grand Rounds.
  • Presentations at Surgical Case Conferences.
  • Educational experiences in clinic, hospital, operating room.
  • Regularly scheduled weekly/monthly conferences (departmental and/or service specialized conferences).
  • Resident self study using appropriate congenital cardiac surgical references.
    • Journal Club.
    • Maintenance of a portfolio of academic accomplishments.

Congenital Cardiac Surgical Residents are expected to:

  • Demonstrate an investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations
  • Know and apply the basic and clinically supportive sciences, which are appropriate to their discipline

Practice-based Learning and Improvement

Congenital Cardiac Surgical Residents must be able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve their patient care practices.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement Learning Activities during the one year period which provide experience in this competency development include:

  • Case review at weekly M&M Conference.
  • Case log review during rotation and at semiannual performance reviews.
  • Case discussion at weekly resident conferences.
  • Discussions at Journal Club.
  • Presentations at weekly Surgical Case Conferences.

Congenital Cardiac Surgery Residents are expected to:

  • Analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology.
  • Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients’ health problems.
  • Obtain and use information about their own population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn.
  • Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.
  • Use information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information; and support their own education.
  • Facilitate the learning of students and other health care professionals.

More information about the program can be found here: Extended program information (PDF)

Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children's Hospital Colorado

Congenital cardiothoracic surgery is based out of Children's Hospital Colorado, which is an affiliate hospital of the University of Colorado Health System. The faculty in the congenital program are members of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, in the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Congenital cardiac surgery is primarily performed at Children's Colorado, while some surgery on adult patients is performed at University Hospital. The congenital cardiac surgery program is an integral part of the Heart Institute and the center for surgical services at Children's Hospital Colorado. The surgery program is led by Dr. James Jaggers who holds the Barton-Elliman Chair for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Dr. David Campbell, the Congenital Cardiac Surgery training program director, and Dr. Max Mitchell who is the Director of the Mechanical Assist program. The surgery program is also supported by Faith Fisher, AC-PNP and Esther Carpenter, nursing coordinator. All of our surgeons are very active in education and professional societies and have active research interests. The surgery program has superior clinical experience in surgical management of children with complex neonatal cardiac defects including HLHS, TGA, pulmonary atresia and AVSD. The group also has a special clinical interest in children with connective tissue disorders including Marfan, Loews Dietz and Ehlers Danlos syndromes. The surgical outcomes for the congenital cardiac surgery program are excellent and among the best in the country. The Heart Institute and the congenital cardiac surgery program serve a wide geographic area including the entire Denver metro area, as well as the state of Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain region. In addition to caring for the local regional population, the program has a keen interest in humanitarian work for children throughout the developing world with congenital heart disease. More information about the involvement in humanitarian efforts can be found by visiting Surgeons of Hope

The congenital cardiac surgery program promotes an interdisciplinary care approach with pediatric cardiology and cardiac anesthesia at Children's Colorado. This includes very active programs for Pediatric cardiac transplantation, mechanical assist devices, and adult congenital heart disease. The transplant program has continually been one of the busiest and most successful programs in the country. The surgery program utilizes two dedicated state of the art operating rooms and one hybrid operating suite. The Heart Institute has a dedicated group of four certified pediatric perfusionists who also administer the pediatric ECMO and VAD programs. The operating rooms are staffed by dedicated pediatric cardiovascular nurses and five full time pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. Following surgery, patients are cared for in a state of the art, 16 bed cardiac intensive care unit with 24/7 coverage by cardiac intensivist physicians and a 16 bed step-down unit. All facilities are housed in the brand new east wing of Children's Hospital Colorado. There are nationally recognized training programs in pediatric cardiology and congenital cardiac surgery that consistently produce future leaders in their prospective fields.

The Heart Institute also utilizes the state of the art Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health in which mothers of children with known congenital heart defects can deliver their child right here at Children's Colorado, where the child can receive state of the art care immediately after birth. The center also has world renowned experts in the field of fetal surgery.

Additional information can be found on the Children's Hospital Colorado website and at the Heart Institute at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Neil Venardos, MD

Neil Venardos, MD

Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellow

Medical School:Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

General Surgery:University of Colorado

Thoracic Surgery:University of Colorado

2008-2009Steven Goldberg, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Tennessee Health Science Center LeBonheur Children's Hospital
Memphis, TN
2009-2010John Karamichalis, MD
Clinical Instructor in Surgery, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
University of California San Francisco
2010-2011Inder Mehta MD
Staff Surgeon, Ochsner Medical Center
New Orleans, LA
2011-2012Brian Erickson MD
Granite City, IL
2013-2014Robert Hanfland, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
University of Texas Medical School
Houston, TX
2015-2016David C. Mauchley, MD
Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery UAB Pediatric Cardiology
Birmingham, AL
2017-2018Harma Turbendian, MD
Congenital Cardiac Surgeon at Wolfson Children's Hospital
Jacksonville, FL
2018-2019Matthew Stone, MD
Assistant Professor, Children's Hospital Colorado
Aurora, CO
2019-2020T. Konrad Rajab, MD Assistant Professor and Director of Congenital Cardiac Surgery Research at the Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC
2020-2021Emily Downs, MD
Congenital cardiac surgeon at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and UVA
Norfolk, VA


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Room: 6111

Aurora, CO 80045


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