Cardiothoracic surgeon Sean C Grondin from the University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada) has been elected as president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) during the organisation’s 57th annual meeting—which took place virtually for the first time this weekend (29–31 January).
“Becoming the president of STS is one of the major highlights of my professional career,” said Grondin. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Society for many years, and it’s exciting to be involved in the leadership team. The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the renowned Canadian cardiac surgeon, Anthony Dobell (STS president 1981‒82), and to be the first Canadian general thoracic surgeon who is STS president is a huge honor.”
After finishing his general surgery residency at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, Grondin completed a thoracic surgery residency at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, where he was able to work closely with F Griffith “Griff” Pearson, author of the landmark Pearson’s Thoracic & Esophageal Surgery textbook, STS said in a press release.
Grondin also participated in a thoracic oncology fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA. He then completed a fellowship in minimally invasive thoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA under the supervision of James D Luketich. After starting clinical practice at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, Grondin then joined the University of Calgary where he currently is professor of surgery. Previously, he was the academic and clinical head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, which incorporates approximately 450 surgeon members and more than 1,000 employees.
An STS member since 2001, Grondin has served on numerous committees and workforces; most recently he was the Society’s first vice president. Dr. Grondin also chaired the Workforce on General Thoracic Surgery and served as the Canadian Director on the Board of Directors. In addition, he has held several senior leadership positions in other cardiothoracic surgery organisations, including the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, and the JAMES IV Association of Surgeons. Grondin also was recently elected to serve on the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents.
“The experience that I have gained with STS has been invaluable,” said Grondin. “As an STS task force or workforce member, you get a chance to interact with professional colleagues, discuss and debate important issues, make collaborative decisions, and implement important initiatives relevant to the future of the cardiothoracic specialty.”
Grondin encourages young surgeons to not just join STS, but also to get involved in leadership through the self-nomination process. Organisations like the Society provide valuable opportunities to participate in innovative projects, foster the creation of a comprehensive network of colleagues, and develop leadership skills, he said.
As STS President, Grondin said he looks forward to working with the STS staff and is committed to furthering several goals of his predecessors, including updating the world-renowned STS National Database and providing innovative educational content to the Society’s members. Grondin’s agenda also includes bolstering advocacy efforts and increasing physician wellness and leadership development initiatives. In addition, he plans to build on the work of STS Past Presidents Joseph A Dearani, and Robert SD Higgins, and advance STS equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
In collaboration with other surgical organisations, Grondin also seeks to find practical and positive ways to help STS members address changes in cardiothoracic surgery patient care occurring as a result of the pandemic.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic is very serious and has impacted us all, it has taught us that we need to be resilient, efficient problem solvers, and that there is a strong need to pull together and support each other as we try to navigate these stressful times,” he said.