ASMBS Surgical Technique and Advanced Robotics Training (START) Program

The non-CME educational program will consist of faculty-led virtual didactic sessions, local mentoring by an experienced bariatric robotics surgeon, and hands-on mentored experiences at a robotics training facility. The program will train bariatric-focused fellows who are currently in a Fellowship Council-approved fellowship program. Each fellow will spend one day in the faculty-led program on-site at a robotics training facility. In addition, each fellow can attend and participate in a special didactic session and graduation ceremony, to be held at the ASMBS 2024 Annual Meeting (fellows who attend the Annual Meeting will receive a stipend, amount to be determined).

This pilot training pathway is open to a maximum of 40 fellows for the 2023-2024 academic year. Virtual didactic sessions will be broadcast live on the ASMBS YouTube Channel, and recordings will be available there.

The application window for 2023 is closed.

All applications must include all items below to be accepted as complete:

  • Completed digital ASMBS START Program Application
  • Applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of support from current program director and/or attending surgeon
  • One to two-paragraph narrative to include: (1) what they hope to accomplish during the program and (2) the relationship of the planned study to the applicant’s prior work, preparation and professional goal

If you have any questions regarding your application, please email

Review Process: Applications will be reviewed for eligibility* by ASMBS. Applicants will be notified via email by November 17.

*We are currently not accepting international applicants.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an award, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Applicant must be an ASMBS member or have submitted an application for ASMBS membership. Candidate Membership is complimentary.
  2. Enrollment in an Fellowship Council-approved fellowship program eligible for the ASMBS Fellowship Certificate
  3. Senior fellow in an Fellowship Council -approved fellowship program
  4. Commitment from the Fellowship Program Director or Lead Attending to mentor trainee throughout the program through attainment five (5) bariatric cases performed on da Vinci prior to the hands-on course, plus an additional 20 cases performed by the end of the 2023-2024 academic year
  5. Commitment the Applicant to attend and participate in all virtual didactic sessions (1-2 per month)
  6. The didactic/graduation session at the ASMBS 2024 Annual Meeting (June 9-13) is highly encouraged.
  7. Commitment from institutions to provide updates on cases performed using the da Vinci System prior to and following the fellowship program
  8. Access to a fourth generation da Vinci X/Xi System
  9. Annual surgeon mentor robotic minimum volume in the last twelve (12) months, including
    a. Thirty (30) bariatric surgery robotic cases
    b. Seventy-five (75) total bariatric surgery robotic cases by the hospital or program

Course Details

Program Directors:
Matthew Martin, MD, FACS, USC Medical Center
Adrian Dan, MD, FACS, Summa Health

Core Faculty Members:
Shaina Eckhouse, MD
Maher El Chaar, MD
Monique Hassan, MD, MBA, FACS, DABOM
S. Julie-Ann Lloyd, MD, PhD, FASMBS
Scott Schimpke, MD, FACS
Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD

Learning Objectives: A range of robotic topics will be covered with emphasis placed on bariatric procedures, current and future robotics technology, application of robotic surgery in a wide range of general surgery procedures, and safe and practical application of robotics in general surgery cases. At the end of the course, MIS fellows will have a robust understanding of the technical, procedural, and surgical skills required to successfully complete procedures on a da Vinci Xi system.

Onsite Training

Onsite Training Date: March 7-8, 2023
*Fellows will attend one of two dates, March 7 or March 8.

Location: The ASMBS START Program onsite training will take place at a training lab in Norcross, GA (ATL airport).

Didactic Training

  1. Didactic virtual pre-work to be provided to fellows by the Society and completed prior to attending the educational program at training facility
  2. Up to Ten (10) Webinars, including but not limited to:
    a. Pre-course didactic, procedure lecture, video review and career development
    b. Post-course fellows case video presentation, review, and discussion with faculty
    c. Final capstone webinar, transition to practice and resources session
  3. Didactic post-course session and graduation ceremony held at the ASMBS 2024 Annual Meeting in San Diego

Training Schedule: 

Training DateTimeTopicFaculty*
12/12/20234:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Robotic Gastric BypassScott Schimpke, MD, FACS
01/23/20244:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Robotic Sleeve GastrectomyMonique Hassan, MD, MBA, FACS, DABOM
2/6/20244:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Robotic DS and SADIShaina Eckhouse, MD
3/7-8/2024All dayOnsite Training Date, Norcross, GAAll Available Faculty
3/26/20244:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Robotic Revisional SurgeryDimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD
4/24/20234:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Robotic Challenges & Bariatric Complication ManagementMaher El Chaar, MD
5/6/20244:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Open House Webinar 1All Available Faculty
5/28/20244:00 pm PST
7:00 pm EST
Open House Webinar 2All Available Faculty
6/9-13/2024All dayASMBS 2024 Annual MeetingAll Available Faculty

Course Requirements

To be completed prior to attending the course:

  1. Da Vinci Technology Online Modules covering the basic design and operation of the da Vinci System. Certificate of completion issued by Intuitive upon completion of module in Intuitive Learning and provided to society as proof of basic didactic training by fellow
  2. Da Vinci Technology Overview In-person In-Service covering an overview of the system conducted at the hospital by an Intuitive Clinical Sales Representative (CSR)
  3. Completion of Da Vinci Technology Skills Drills with Kit/Simulator hands-on practice with the system, either with a physical skills drill kit, or a virtual reality skills simulator, including
Da Vinci SimulatorsSimNow
Thread the ringsBig Dipper Needle Driver
Matchboard 1Sea Spikes 2
Camera Targeting 1 & 220 Degree Scope Swap, Combo Exercise
Energy SwitchingEnergy Pedals 1
Suture Sponge 1Anterior Needle Driving -ATW
Robotic stapler familiarizationRobotic stapler familiarization
  1. Completion of five (5) robotic cases prior to hands-on/in-person program
  2. Console competency for basic surgical tasks as determined by their attending or program (attending will provide a letter attesting to basic technical competency of fellow)

Case Logging

  • Participants in the course will track their cases using the My Intuitive App (MIA), which is a companion app for the da Vinci Xi surgical system


  • The ASMBS START Program will cover costs for the training in Norcoss, GA, including: flight, hotel, ground transportation to/from the airport to the hotel, and (1) dinner the evening before training. Intuitive will provide lunch at the training.
  • The ASMBS START Program will provide a stipend to attend the ASMBS 2024 Annual Meeting. The stipend will not cover the entire cost of travel, lodging, registration, etc. Stipend amount will be determined after the training in Norcross, GA.
  • Meals not mentioned above, incidentals, and airport parking are the responsibility of the Fellow.

ASMBS gratefully acknowledges Intuitive Surgical for their generous educational grant in support of the ASMBS START Program.