Program Description

The one-year Congenital Cardiac Surgery (CCS) program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is under the direction of Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, and affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

The purpose of the training program is to train thoracic surgical residents who have completed an ACGME- accredited program and further train in congenital cardiothoracic surgery, providing a basis to understand normal and abnormal pediatric cardiovascular conditions and their pathophysiology.

The CCS fellowship is a one-year program. Applicants must be fully trained in general surgery and have taken their Surgery Boards. The applicant also must be a graduate of an ACGME-approved adult cardiothoracic surgery program and eligible to take the Boards for Thoracic Surgery (ABTS), or already certified. Since CHLA is an ACGME-approved CCS program, the graduate will be eligible for the certification process in pediatric cardiac surgery.


The field of pediatric and congenital heart surgery has developed into a separate subspecialty. The ACGME now recognizes congenital cardiac surgery as a program, which has been accredited. In March 2007, CHLA was recognized as the first accredited Congenital Cardiac Surgery Program in the country.

The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles houses the largest congenital heart program on the West Coast, including congenital cardiac surgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic transplantation, cardiac intensive care and cardiac anesthesia. Its Cardiothoracic Surgery Program has two dedicated operating rooms, which are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The 24-bed cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) and 21-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) care for all post-operative surgical patients as well as critically ill patients with heart disease.


Click to apply using the TSDA Congenital Cardiac Fellowship Match application, rules and regulations. If you have any questions, please email

Fellows per year: one
Application Deadline: September 1
Postgraduate Training Required: yes

Contact Information

John D. Cleveland, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Program Director, Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine

4650 Sunset Blvd., MS #66
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 361-5595