Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute's Department of Vascular Surgery, under the leadership of chairman Sean Lyden, MD, has established a program to provide vascular industry professionals an efficient and comprehensive approach to achieving the competency and familiarity with current clinical vascular care necessary to perform their primary job functions.

The vascular faculty at Cleveland Clinic has a long-standing commitment to clinical care, research and education and believes this responsibility extends to all individuals in a position to affect clinical outcomes for patients. After two decades of rapid innovation and iteration of clinical care based largely on new procedures and devices from private industry, the team at Cleveland Clinic would like to extend a formal program of clinical education to those in industry with a credible need for that same experience and knowledge.

The Cleveland Clinic Vascular Industry Externship program, led by director Christopher Smolock, MD, accepts 2-4 applicants each week for a 5 day program in which participants are embedded with the vascular surgery clinical care team on Cleveland Clinic's main campus in Cleveland, OH. The program includes:

  • 4-6 hours of didactic instruction in vascular anatomy, physiology, pathology and therapy
  • One half-day of outpatient clinical experience
  • Daily OR/cath lab observation (goal 15-20 cases over the week)
  • Vascular lab and/or core imaging laboratory exposure
  • Protected time for discussion with all vascular staff
Program Highlights

Program Highlights

The 9 vascular staff surgeons based at Cleveland Clinic's main campus typically perform 15 separate procedures in 5-7 operating rooms or cath lab environments each day. This volume and variety allows for customization with regards to procedural observation for each participant (e.g. aortic vs. lower extremity revascularization, open vs. endovascular vs. hybrid, venous, access, etc.) Other elements of customization are available given the small number of participants each week and the broad range of activities that occur within the department outside of the operating room (e.g. venous centers, CT and ultrasound imaging, research, outpatient clinical care, regional hospital operations, hospital purchasing, new product development, etc.)

Ideal participants include those from industry partners with responsibilities in marketing, sales, research and development, and clinical functions. The infrastructure for this program allows for more specialized "one-off" training events for those with larger scale needs in the context of new clinical trials or new product/procedure launches, which has been completed for a variety of companies in the past.

Application Process

Application Process

The cost for each participant is $7,500. Each participant must complete an application and submit to the program coordinator.

To submit your application or get more information on the program, please contact Hayley Baldzicki at baldzih@ccf.org.



Cleveland Clinic's Vascular Industry Externship program has hosted a number of leaders across the industry; here is how they have benefited from this unique program:

Building clinical acumen is critical to successful product development, which starts with understanding customer needs. This externship allowed me to see the spectrum of care from clinic, to imaging, to OR, and through to post-surgery rounds. As a result, I have a much greater appreciation for the breadth and complexity of health challenges patients are facing.
- Senior Produce Development Manager, Medtronic

The VIE program provided us a glimpse into a day in the life of a vascular surgeon. The experience was truly unique for us as members of industry to interact with physicians and staff, providing insights that help inform potential opportunities for future collaboration between industry and the CCF.
- Strategic Marketing, WL Gore

As a new entrant into the vascular surgery medical device industry, the week-long experience gave me an opportunity to experience first-hand a wide variety of vascular surgery procedures which will be invaluable as decisions are made on new product designs back in our offices. I recommend it to folks that want to get valuable insights into the dynamics between the physicians, patient, RN's, residents and industry representatives during a vascular surgery procedure. It was nice to eliminate need for multiple travels and scheduling appointments across the country that would have otherwise taken months.
- Senior Product Manager, Endologix

The externship was a fantastic way to get rapid exposure to a variety of endovascular and surgical treatments for vascular diseases. The classroom content, time spent in the OR, and interaction with the Cleveland Clinic physicians was educational and provided me an excellent background in vascular disease and treatment.
- Senior Research & Development Manager, Endologix

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a typical day look like?

Each day varies considerably, and there will be a substantial amount of independence given to each extern to formulate their program to cater to their specific interests. However, an example of an average day could look like: Arrive at Cleveland Clinic's main campus at 8 a.m. and change into scrubs. Spend the morning observing one to three different procedures. Break for lunch around noon. Observe another procedure, tour a part of the hospital, shadow a surgeon doing rounds or a shift in the clinic. End the day with an hour of didactic lectures. Conclude the day around 5 p.m.

What should I expect during the procedure observations?

You will be stationed at the back of the operating room or in the control room. All endovascular procedures require you to wear lead, and all procedures require you to wear appropriate operating room attire (hair nets or scrub caps, shoe covers, eye protection, and face mask). For open surgery procedures, risers can be provided to better see the operative field.

In addition to the surgeons, residents, fellows, techs, and nurses will be available to review imaging, explain the procedure, and answer any questions you may have about the patient or treatment.

What procedures will I be able to see?

This varies week to week, but in general you will be able to see a wide variety of both open and endovascular procedures. These include complex aortic and thoracic cases, carotid stenting and endarterectomy, lower limb revascularizations, diagnostic procedures, venous interventions, and arteriovenous (AV) fistula creation/revision.

Aside from procedures, what else will I experience during the week?

You will receive around 4 to 6 hours of didactic instruction on a variety of topics including vascular anatomy, physiology, pathology, therapy, and imaging. You will have an opportunity to spend a half day in the outpatient clinic to shadow a surgeon with patients for assessment and follow-up. You will have exposure to the core imaging lab, and you will have time to talk with all vascular staff.

Additionally, you have the opportunity to take part in a variety of custom appointments, including a regional hospital visit, venous center visit, meeting with the department administrator, meet with the senior director of product development, or meet with the chairman of the department.

What should I pack to wear for the week?

Arrive each morning in business casual attire. You will be given scrubs and a white coat to change into upon arrival to Cleveland Clinic each day, and you will change back into your regular clothes before leaving each evening. It is highly recommended that you bring sneakers or other comfortable shoes, as you will be standing for long periods of time in the operating room. It can be cold in the operating rooms, so feel free to wear a white t-shirt under your scrubs if you would like.

Where will I be staying?

It is recommended that you stay at the Intercontinental Hotel (9801 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio) as this is very close to the vascular surgery department and is connected to that part of the hospital. We have negotiated a discounted rate with this hotel; however, if it is sold out or there is a preference to stay elsewhere, there are other hotels nearby (Double Tree Tudor Arms Hotel, Intercontinental Suites and Cleveland Clinic Holiday Inn). Accommodations must be booked independently, but do not hesitate to contact Hayley Baldzicki (216.444.4311) with any questions.

When should I arrive and depart for the week?

Depending on flight availability, plan to fly into Cleveland by Sunday evening (Monday's program will begin at 8 a.m.), and depart on Friday evening or late afternoon if possible.

Where should I go on Monday morning?

Please arrive to desk F30 (the vascular surgery department) and ask for Hayley Baldzicki. She will provide you with scrubs and show you to your office for the week. If you are staying at the Intercontinental, go to the third floor of the hotel and exit through to the Cleveland Clinic skyway. Turn left and continue walking straight until you get to the end of the hallway. F30 will be on your left.