Our Fellows

2023 - 2024 Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellows

3rd Year Fellows

Dr. Aitua Salami

Aitua Salami, MBBS, MPH
Medical School: University of Benin College of Medicine, Benin City, Nigeria
Residency: Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA

I chose the University of Minnesota Cardiothoracic fellowship because of the diversity amongst fellows and faculty, and robust exposure to all aspects of general thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, including cardiopulmonary transplantation. The rotations are flexible and tailored to meet the specific needs of the trainee. I am originally from Nigeria, and interested in general thoracic surgery and lung transplantation. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching soccer, boxing, traveling, and trying exotic restaurants. 

Dr. Ankit Verma

Ankit Verma, MD
Medical School: University of Missouri - Kansas City
Residency: Creighton University

I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma, just north of OKC. I have always wanted to be a Cardiac Surgeon and chose to come to University of Minnesota for the excellent operative autonomy and tremendous heart failure experience. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, visiting family, and learning about all things tech!


2nd Year Fellows

Dr. Devin Rigg

Devin Rigg, MD
Medical School: University of Colorado School of Medicine
Residency: Creighton University 

I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. My wife and I have 4 awesome kids and have moved around for medical school and residency. I knew the University of Minnesota would be a great place to train because of the people I met here. I felt like family after meeting the surgeons and have not been disappointed. There is great camaraderie amongst the fellow that breeds an excellent learning environment.  The autonomy here is excellent and I feel like the training from Minnesota will give me a great boost in practice. 

Dr. Yash Vaidya

Yash Vaidya, MD
Medical School: Maharashtra University of Health Sciences
Residency:  SUNY Upstate Medical University

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. I love playing tennis, and have played the game professionally. The Cardiothoracic Surgery program at the University of Minnesota has an illustrious history and legacy that speaks for itself. The operative autonomy is excellent, and balanced with training to enable sound decision making. As fellows, we are trusted and constantly pushed to get the best out of us. The work atmosphere is very collegial, and all faculty are whole-heartedly invested in training fellows. We graduate feeling very confident going into practice as independent and excellent surgeons.

1st Year Fellows

Dr. Richard Mendez

Richard Mendez, MD
Medical School: University of Vermont College of Medicine
Residency: University of Vermont Medical Center

I grew up in Orlando, FL before joining the Army.  After 4 years, I was honorably discharged and chose to pursue a career in medicine.   I attended the University of Vermont College of Medicine and then stayed to complete my general surgery residency.  I chose the University of Minnesota to complete my fellowship due to the friendly, supportive staff and diversity of patient pathology. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, skiing, camping, and traveling.  

Dr. Andrea

Andreas Polycarpou, MD
Medical School: Semmelweis University Faculty of Medicine
Residency: Mayo Clinic - Rochester, MN

I grew up in beautiful Limassol, Cyprus. I attended medical school at the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, and then worked as a cardiac surgery resident at the LMU University in Munich, Germany. I completed my general surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, before continuing my training as a cardiothoracic surgery fellow at the University of Minnesota. I chose the University of Minnesota program for my cardiothoracic surgery training because it is a traditional powerhouse in this field, with an impressive history and contribution in cardiothoracic surgery, great early operative autonomy to trainees, diversity, and exposure to complex cardiothoracic pathology, such as heart failure and transplantation. In my free time I am dedicated to my family.