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. Please visit the Goals and Objectives section to view the plan for the program's participants.


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)