Thoracic Surgery

The Division of Thoracic Surgery is a recognized Western Canadian leader in minimal access thoracic surgical procedures, inclusive of pulmonary, mediastinal and esophageal resections. It is one of the busiest Thoracic Surgical units in the West, and is poised to begin its robotics program.


The division’s research portfolio has greatly expanded. Drs. Simon Turner and Eric Bédard continue to lead educational, clinical and translational research efforts. They have conducted an important prospective study examining Stigma in Lung Cancer and its impact on patient care. Dr. Bédard was the local PI for the Alberta Lung Cancer CT Screening Study which laid the groundwork for a province-wide clinical screening program for our patients. Dr. Turner serves as the Tom Williams Endowed Chair in Surgical Education and his research focuses on competency-based surgical education, and issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. The division has increased its commitment to clinical research with summer students, residents and graduate students working on various clinical and translational science and surgical education projects.

Research Highlights:

-Competence assessment in surgical education

-Equity, diversity and inclusion in surgery

-Biomarkers in lung cancer

-Sarcopenia in patients with esophageal cancer


The division continues to support efforts to improve the clinical path for patients in Central and Northern Alberta with thoracic malignancies. Dr. Stewart’s vision and leadership led to the creation of ATOP. The first of its kind in Canada, ATOP transformed existing lung cancer care services into a system that provides patients with timely, coordinated and streamlined access to multi-disciplinary treatment. Expansion of the ATOP diagnostic imaging direct notification process to all major centers in Central and Northern Alberta, has led to significant reductions in wait times for patients with potential lung cancers to be assessed by caregivers in Edmonton. In collaboration with the Division of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Bryce Laing continues to be an active member of the busiest lung transplant programs in the country. The division is involved in a multi-disciplinary group that has brought Per-Oral Endoscopic Myotomy technique to Alberta for patients with esophageal motor diseases. In collaboration with Medical Oncology, the division has accrued one of the largest Canadian experiences with neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy prior to lung cancer resection, and continues to be a national leader in the implementation of minimally invasive surgery for benign and malignant diseases of the chest. The broad clinical exposure the division offers to learners from several specialties creates an outstanding experience for students and residents.


Teaching remains a priority for the Division of Thoracic Surgery. Despite its small size, the division contributes to the education of both students and residents with all members participating in discovery learning and/or didactic teaching sessions. Members of the division have been recognized for their quality of teaching by the following awards: MSA Discovery Learning Preceptor Excellence Awards, top 10 Teacher awards in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Surgery, the Dr. William A. Shandro Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Surgery, the David Cook Award for Medical Education and the Drew Sutherland Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Simon Turner has made important contributions to both undergraduate and postgraduate learners and is the current Tom Williams Endowed Chair in Surgical Education, the Director of the Resident-Medical Student Shadowing Program and the Chair of the General Surgery Competence Committee. Under Dr. Turner’s leadership, the existing one-year thoracic surgery fellowship will be replaced by a new Royal College accredited two-year residency in Thoracic Surgery, starting July, 2025. 


The division remains active in administrative roles at many levels, including the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons. Dr. Scott Johnson recently completed his term as President of the Section of Thoracic Surgery of the Alberta Medical Association. By embracing innovation, and working with a collaborative spirit, the division has evolved to become a significant contributor to the specialty at the local, provincial and national levels.

Contact Us

Division of Thoracic Surgery
416 CSC, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Tel: 780-735-5981
Fax: 780-735-4245
Divisional Secretary: Chandra Strasbourg