Thoracic Surgery-Integrated Residency

About the Program

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery offers a six-year integrated cardiothoracic surgical training program. The objective of our training program is to provide a comprehensive and immersive experience into the diagnosis, management and treatment of all aspects of cardiovascular and thoracic diseases. During your time at Iowa, you will have core rotations in adult cardiac and thoracic surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and pediatric congenital surgery at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

During the first three years of the program (PGY1 through PGY3), residents spend time on both general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery rotations. Multi-disciplinary education is emphasized through time on vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiac catheterization, echocardiography, cardiac electrophysiology, surgical oncology, interventional radiology, gastroenterology, and interventional pulmonology.

In your final years of the program (PGY4 through PGY6), training will consist of comprehensive and broad experience with adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, as well as general thoracic surgery. Rotations are flexible and rotation experience may vary depending on individual interest. Residents will assume increasing administrative responsibilities during their final years to provide experience in managing busy clinical services and organizing educational curriculums for their peers.

At Iowa, our curriculum is flexible, offering pathways in either cardiac or general thoracic surgery. Upon graduation, residents are eligible for the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) qualifying and certifying exams setting them up for successful careers in academic or private practice settings.


University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Thoracic Surgery Residency Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and is Iowa’s only cardiothoracic training program. Our traditional fellowship has been in existence since 1949, the first year the American Board of Thoracic Surgery recognized training programs and is one of the three oldest programs in the country. Our integrated residency program received accreditation in 2014 and accepted its first resident starting July of 2015.

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery has continually been on the forefront of innovation and technological advancements in cardiac, thoracic, and pediatric cardiac surgery. Our faculty and trainees continue with this spirit of hard work and diligence in the fight against chest disease.

Typical Schedule

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery offers one position in its thoracic surgery integrated residency each year. In addition to training at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and UI Stead Family Children's Hospital, each resident will also spend time at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (walking distance).

Thoracic residents work side-by-side in the clinic, OR, in research and other duties with each faculty member, Advance Practice Providers (APPs), and fellow physicians. This work is in an environment consistent with proper patient care, educational needs, and adhering to the program requirements.

A sample training program is listed below. During some general surgery rotations, there will time spent at off-site locations for high-volume general surgery experiences. This schedule is only an example: there may be variations throughout each year.



Number of Blocks
VA General Surgery 1
Cardiac Cath/ECHO 1
Bronchoscopy/GI 1
Vascular Surgery  1
Emergency General Surgery  1
Night Float 1
Minimally Invasive Surgery 1
Transplant 1
Pediatric Surgery 1
General Thoracic Surgery 1
Trauma Surgery  1


Specialty Number of Blocks
Adult Cardiac Surgery  2
General Thoracic Surgery  1
Mason City General Surgery 1
Pediatric Surgery 1
Emergency General Surgery  2
Vascular Surgery 2
Night Float 1
Minimally Invasive Surgery 1


Specialty Number of Blocks
Adult Cardiac Surgery  3
General Thoracic Surgery  4
Pediatric Cardiac Surgery 1
Transplant 2
Vascular Surgery 1
Night Float 1
Emergency General Surgery 1

PGY-4, PGY-5 & PGY-6

Number of Blocks Per Specialty Varies by Year
General Thoracic Surgery 
Adult Cardiac Surgery 
Pediatric Cardiac Surgery



Research in the department of cardiothoracic surgery is diverse and robust and an integral part of our mission at Iowa. Research opportunities in adult cardiac, general thoracic, and pediatric cardiac surgery include outcomes research, clinical trials, quality improvement initiatives, education, case reports, and basic science. While not required, we actively support and encourage our residents to identify projects of interest and work to submit their research to national meetings and for publication.




Our integrated program includes training in new technologies such as robotics, endoscopic surgery, and minimally invasive approaches. This innovation is centered on a streamlined curriculum to prepare for successful careers in academic or private practice.  Much of the training is done in the state of the art Center for Procedural Skills and Simulation where were we set aside time for skills training and offer a resident skills boot camp as part of our educational cirriculum.  

Here at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, our goal is "Changing Medicine. Changing Lives". We challenge medicine each day and in doing this, we prepare our residents to be compassionate and innovative surgeons.

Conference Schedule

This is a sample weekly conference schedule. Those marked with an asterisk are specific to the Department of Cardiothoracic. The others are general surgery specific and are attended based on service rotation and availability.


7 AM – Cardiothoracic Resident Conference*
7 AM – Junior/Senior Resident Education Conference
12 PM – Emergency General Surgery Conference
5 PM – Surgical Oncology Teaching Conference


6:30 AM – Surgical Audit Conference
6:45 AM – Adult Cardiac Resident Teaching Session*
7 AM – Thoracic Tumor Board*
7:15 AM – Adult Cardiac High-Risk Conference*
8 AM – Vascular VA Conference M&M
8AM - Issues in Transplantation Conference 
11AM - Pediatric Surgery Teaching Rounds
4PM - Vascular Surgery Education Conferences


7AM - Cardiothoracic Grand Rounds*(2nd Wednesday of the month)
7AM - Supplemental Education Conference* (4th Wednesday of the month)
3PM - Liver Transplant Evaluation Conference


7AM - Trauma Conference
7AM - Thoracic Case Review Conference*
7:15AM - Cardiology/Cardiothoracic Conference*


7 AM – Adult Cardiac Team ICU Rounds*
1 PM - Surgical Skills Lab

How to Apply

We participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

All residents admitted must have a MD or DO degree from a Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME) accredited institution. Graduates from foreign medical schools must present evidence of final certification by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Required documentation:

  • MyERAS Application
  • Medical School Program Evaluation or Dean's Letter
  • Transcripts
  • Photo
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • USMLE Step 1 Pass/Fail (Step 2- if completed by your interview date)
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae

We review the entire application and consider all aspects of the application. 


University of Iowa Thoracic Surgery Residency Program is proud to be accredited by the ACGME.


American Board of Thoracic Surgery Certification

In order to be eligible for American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) certification, candidates must fulfill all residency requirements of the ABTS in force at the time their applications are received.

Candidates for certification must successfully complete a six-year integrated residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in a program accredited by the ACGME's Review Committee on Thoracic Surgery (RRC-TS). Residents must have 12 months of continuous senior responsibility, satisfactory performance on ABTS exams, a full and unrestricted medical license, and ethical and moral standing in their profession.

Education and adequate operative experience in both general thoracic surgery and cardiac surgery are essential parts of approved thoracic surgery residency programs, irrespective of the area of thoracic surgery in which a candidate may choose to practice.

The Interview

Each year we invite approximately 20 candidates to interview for our one available position. Our interview season typically begins in November and continues through January.

Once your application has been received through ERAS and reviewed, you will be contacted if chosen to be a good fit for our program. Our program uses Thalamus to schedule all interviews.

Due to COVID-19, all integrated interviews will be conducted virtually. During your interview, you will have the opportunity to talk with our current residents and fellows as well as a majority of the Cardiothoracic Surgery faculty.

Our People

At Iowa, you will be exposed to some of the best clinicians, researchers, and teachers in our profession. Through formal mentoring programs as well as an open-door philosophy, we provide high-powered opportunities for you to learn career-long lessons from these dedicated professionals.


Current Residents

Residency Leaders

John Keech, MD 
Residency Program Director

Mohammed Bashir, MD
Associate Program Director

Jody Gingerich

Jody Gingerich
Program Coordinator

Alumni Placement


Where Are They Now?


Since the program began in 1949 we have 79 graduates who have started in private practice and 42 who started at an academic institution.


Recent Graduates:

2016 William Fisher; Private Practice - Milwaukee, WI

2017 Sarah Ahmad; Private Practice - Monroe, LA

2018 Trent Howard; Brookwood Baptist Health - Alabaster, AL

2019 Pauline Go; Penn State Health - Hershey, PA

2020 Ruchi Thanawala; Oregon Health & Science University - Portland, OR

2021 Thamer Qaqish; Erie County Medical Center - Bufflao, NY

2022 Anthony Swatek; University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics - Iowa City, IA

2023 Adnan Al Ayoubi; Cleveland Clinic Fellowship - Cleveland, OH


Our Faculty

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery has faculty whose clinical, teaching, and research expertise spans a comprehensive and immersive experience into the diagnosis, management and treatment of all aspects of cardiovascular and thoracic diseases.

Cardiothoracic Surgery Faculty

Evgeny Arshava

Evgeny Arshava, MD, FACS

Clinical Associate Professor
Thoracic Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Mohammed Bashir

Mohammad Bashir, MBBS

Clinical Associate Professor, Structural Heart Disease Program Surgical Director, Director of Adult Cardiac Services
Adult Cardiac Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Moshem Karimi

Mohsen Karimi, MD, MS, MBA

Clinical Professor, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

John Keech

John Keech, MD, FACS

Clinical Associate Professor, Educational Program Director, 
Director of the Center for Procedural Skills and Simulation
Thoracic Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Ali Nasr

Ali Nasr, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS

Clinical Assistant Professor
Adult Cardiac Surgery/Procurement Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Anthony Panos

Anthony Panos, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS

Adult Cardiac Surgery Professor, Heart Transplant Surgical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support Surgical Director
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Kalpaj Parekh

Kalpaj Parekh, MBBS

Nicholas P. Rossi Professor, Interim Chair and DEO
Professor, Lung Transplant Surgical Director
Thoracic Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Marco Ricci

Marco Ricci, MD, MBA

Professor of Surgery, Chief Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Arun Singhal

Arun Singhal, MD, PhD, FACS

Clinical Associate Professor
Adult Cardiac Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Anthony Swatek, MD

Assistant Professor
Thoracic Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery


Department Chair

Kalpaj Parekh, MBBS

Kalpaj Parekh, MBBS is the Chair and DEO of  Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Why Iowa


Albert Pai, MD

"Growing up in Minnesota, I chose Iowa to return to the Midwest and the four seasons (although the winter is mild compared to other northern states). The hospital is situated in a medium college town with big city amenities. Traffic is minimal, and the city is safe. The suburbs and good school districts are right on the outskirts of the hospital system which was important to me and my family."