The pursuit of scientific endeavors in a collegial environment is a core mission of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association (WTSA). Bigotry and bias due to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, origin, age, or disability are in direct opposition to fostering a professional and collegial environment. This statement is to reinforce the importance of diversity and inclusion as an essential aspect of the central mission of the WTSA. Our association and specialty are enriched by a mixture of background and experience and the WTSA is committed to improving its efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
The WTSA leadership acknowledges that increased inclusivity and a change in culture require intentional and deliberate action. The WTSA is pushing forward initiatives to expand opportunities for underrepresented minorities within the WTSA, its leadership, and cardiothoracic surgery as a whole.
In 2018, the WTSA partnered with the Women in Thoracic Surgery to establish the annual Thistlethwaite traveling scholarship, in honor the WTSA’s first female president, Patricia Thistlethwaite. This scholarship allows women in medical school or training to attend the WTSA meeting and pairs them with a WTSA member mentor. Focused outreach of this type has cultivated interest in cardiothoracic surgery amongst female trainees and we hope to expand these efforts to broader under-represented populations. The WTSA is also establishing a DEI committee to help promote a more inclusive environment within the association. We sincerely hope that concerted efforts such as these will result in a more diverse and inclusive workforce in cardiothoracic surgery.
Western Thoracic Surgical Association Council
Sean Grondin, MD, MPH, FRCSC
The Western Thoracic Surgical Association is saddened to announce the sudden and unexpected death of Sean Grondin, MD, MPH, FRCSC, the current WTSA Vice-President.
Dr. Grondin was a general thoracic surgeon at Alberta Health Services and Professor of Surgery at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He had a strong interest in educational efforts to enhance surgical leadership skills and research related to surgical workforce planning and physician wellness.
Dr. Grondin attended medical school and completed a general surgery residency at Dalhousie University. He completed his thoracic surgery residency at the University of Toronto, a thoracic oncology fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a minimally invasive thoracic surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. He took his initial clinical appointment at NorthShore Hospital in Evanston, IL, prior to being recruited back to Canada to the University of Calgary.
Along with his leadership role within the WTSA, Dr. Grondin was the immediate past president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and a Regent for the American College of Surgeons. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including “Mentor of the Year” award from the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada, and the James IV Association of Surgeons Canadian Traveling Fellowship award.
Sean and Cathy were regular attendees at the WTSA meetings, always with a warm smile, an entertaining joke and a kind word. He epitomized the WTSA core values of scientific endeavor in a collegial environment; education and progress; development of young surgeons; professionalism; and family and friendship. He will be greatly missed.
Dr. Grondin is survived by his wife Cathy, and children Kate and Ben.
The Western Thoracic Surgical Association
The Western Thoracic Surgical Association (WTSA) was founded in 1974. It was originally named the Samson Thoracic Surgical Association in honor of Paul "Buck" Samson, a Pioneer in Thoracic Surgery on the west coast with his surgical base in Oakland, California. Along with his partner, Dave Dugan, they had a tremendous influence in the development of Thoracic Surgery in the Western United States.
49th WTSA Annual Meeting
June 21-24, 2023
Coeur d'Alene, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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