Since its founding in 1973, the AATS Graham Foundation has been responsible for funding the Association’s research initiatives, which address the cardiothoracic specialty as a whole and focus on groundbreaking research that enhances educational opportunities for physicians, surgical techniques and patient care.

The AATS Graham Traveling Fellowship, established by the AATS in 1951 and managed by the Foundation since 1973, has provided 61 promising academic cardiothoracic surgeons from outside North America the opportunity to spend one year studying at institutions within North America. The Foundation’s support of cutting edge research was reinforced in 1985 with the implementation of a Research Scholarship program which annually awards a two year scholarship to North American surgeons in their first three years of an academic appointment. Awardees must be committed to pursuing an academic career in cardiothoracic surgery. To date, thirty-four awards have been granted totaling $4.3 million.

In 1998, the Foundation increased its support of resident research by sponsoring the C. Walton Lillehei Forum at the AATS Annual Meeting recognizing the scientific contributions of residents in CT surgical training programs throughout North America.

In 2007, the Foundation began supporting the AATS Summer Intern Scholarship which provides an opportunity for first and second year medical students to spend 8 weeks studying at an AATS member’s cardiothoracic surgical department. To date, over 250 medical students from 74 medical schools have participated in the program.

In 2012, the Foundation continued to evolve with the needs of the specialty and has initiated new programs to provide Resident Scholarships to attend the FACTS-Care Critical Care Symposium, a new Resident Poster Session Scholarship at the AATS Annual Meeting and complimentary one-year online subscriptions to the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Operative Techniques in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery for North American residents.

Over the past year the Foundation has established new partnerships with Edwards LifeSciences, Ethicon, Intuitive Surgical, and Olympus USA. These new activities were also joined by the inaugural F. Griffith Pearson Fellowships and Cardiothoracic Surgical Investigator program providing a number of new funding mechanisms for cardiothoracic surgeons.

In the years ahead, the Foundation intends to continue providing and formulating new initiatives that are of value to the cardiothoracic surgery specialty and fulfill the AATS and AATS Graham Foundation’s missions.