Valley Robotics

The Institute for Robotic Surgery

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The Fellowship is a one-year training program aimed at providing advanced training to surgeons in both open and minimally invasive (laparoscopic) GI/abdominal surgery, robotic surgery, and interventional endoscopy.


With the advent of minimally invasive surgery over the last 2 decades, a need has arisen for training programs dedicated exclusively to these techniques, since surgery residents graduating from general surgery training programs do not get adequate experience in advanced laparoscopic/robotic/endoscopic techniques. Approximately 130 MIS training programs have been initiated in the U.S. over the past 15 years. Most programs are heavily weighted in basic laparoscopic procedures (cholecystectomy, hernia repair, some colectomy), with very few offering experience in complex procedures (pancreas, stomach, adrenal, etc.). A recent published survey completed by fellows in training confirmed that doctors are interested in more complex procedures (Tichansky, et al, Surg Endosc 2007).

What Valley Has to Offer

With our extensive caseloads of complex GI and hepatobiliary cases, trainees would receive significant experience with pancreas/stomach/biliary tree and complex pelvic surgery using both open and robotic techniques. In addition, with the Barrett’s esophagus program, trainees would learn interventional endoscopy (radiofrequency ablation, endoscopic mucosal resection, endoscopic ultrasound). Finally, the more common techniques such as antireflux surgery, hiatal hernia repair, cholecystectomy, inguinal hernia repair, and most significantly, bariatrics, would not be sacrificed.

Program Director

Robert J. Korst, M.D., FACS, FCCP


Robert J. Korst, M.D., FACS, FCCP

Dr. Korst is the Director of Oncology Surgical Services and Thoracic Surgery at Valley’s Blumenthal Cancer Center. He received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and completed a general surgery internship at Hartford Hospital, Connecticut. Following general surgery training at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Korst completed thoracic surgery training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medical Center. He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery.

Thomas N. Ahlborn, M.D.

Dr. Ahlborn is a general and vascular surgeon on staff at The Valley Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Ahlborn performed his residency in general surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and completed fellowships in vascular laboratory and vascular surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He is board certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery.

Joseph Licata, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Licata is a general surgeon on staff at The Valley Hospital. He received his medical degree from Universidad Del Noreste in Mexico and performed his residency in general surgery at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in Bronx, New York. Dr. Licata is board certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery.

Program Description

The Advanced GI Fellowship is a year-long program (July 1-June 30). The Fellow will participate in the operating room for approximately four days each week.


The Fellow will be responsible for one scholarly manuscript during the year (research study or other, to be submitted for publication).


The following educational activities will occur:

  • Monthly educational conference during the Department of Surgery meeting.
  • Fellow will attend one national meeting (to be funded by industry).
  • Journal club: Twice yearly.

For More Information

For more information about the MIS Fellowship, please contact Robert Korst, M.D., at 201-634-5365

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