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Department of Surgery News - 2018

A New Heart for the New Year

December 17, 2018 – Nate Jackson, 52, looks forward to the new year, and a new heart. The Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health recently reached the milestone of performing 50 heart transplants in one year. Jackson was number 50. The heart transplant program at the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center is now the largest in San Diego and the third largest in California, placing it among the nation’s top performing transplant centers.

Q&A with Bryan Clary

December 12, 2018 – In this interview, Dr. Bryan M. Clary, now in his 4th year as Chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego, answers questions from faculty, trainees, and alumni of the Department. Among them: what’s the best (and worst) part of being a chair; what is he most excited about clinically, in training, and in research; how can alumni help the Department (and how can the Department help alumni); and should UC San Diego Surgery have a Department band?

Grant for Pancreatic Cancer Research and Opening of Prevention Clinic

November 20, 2018 – Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of cancer—in 2016, it became the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. A team of UC San Diego researchers and physicians, co-led by Dr. Andrew Lowy, Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, was recently awarded a $1 million Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) grant to test drugs that block signals that play a critical role in driving growth and progression of pancreatic cancer.

Stop the Bleed – Stop the Need

November 14, 2018 – Recent mass shooting events continue to illustrate the need for a public health approach to firearms injury. Bystanders and first responders have been able to stop some victims from exsanguination using their "Stop the Bleed" (STB) training. The Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery has been a leader in the national STB campaign since its launch in 2016. The Division has trained more than 2,000 UC San Diego Health employees and members of the public in how to recognize and stop life-threatening bleeding with direct pressure, tourniquets and wound packing.

In Memoriam: Dr. Marshall Orloff

November 7, 2018 –It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Marshall J. Orloff, MD, Distinguished Professor of Surgery Emeritus and founding chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Orloff passed away November 6, 2018 after a brief hospitalization. He was 91.

Has #MeToo Changed Surgical Culture?

October 15, 2018 – Over the last year, women have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of powerful men—in the private sector, in government, and in Hollywood. It's impossible to observe these events and not think about medicine—a sector that has largely avoided this public reckoning. But the issues could not be more relevant.

UC San Diego Hosts SAGES Flexible Endoscopy Course

October 10, 2018 – The Center for the Future of Surgery hosted the 2018 Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Flexible Endoscopy Course for Fellows. The course brought together trainees and faculty from across the country, as well as the president of SAGES, Jeffrey Marks, for three days of didactic and hands-on learning.

Leveraging NSQIP for Better Surgical Outcomes: The IBD Collaborative

October 5, 2018 – In the world of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), despite evidence from large, single-institution studies, there remains disagreement about key surgical practices. The IBD collaborative was formed in 2017 to leverage NSQIP data with the goal of developing and disseminating best practices specific to this disease.

Q&A with Tatiana Kisseleva

October 5, 2018 – Dr. Tatiana Kisseleva, a research scientist and expert in liver fibrosis, planned to be a liver surgeon before launching a career dedicated to full-time research. Since joining UC San Diego in 2007, her lab has focused on the characterization of the origin of fibrogenic myofibroblasts and identification of novel targets for anti-fibrotic therapy. In this interview, Dr. Kisseleva shares the journey that took her from Moscow to Germany, New York, and finally San Diego; discusses how her work on liver fibrosis extends to other surgical fields; and offers a taste of how scientific insights gleaned from her lab are translating into clinical practice.

Q&A with Santiago Horgan

October 1, 2018 – Santiago Horgan directs the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS) and is Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery. Before joining the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2006, Dr. Horgan was director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotic Surgery Department and co-director of the Swallowing Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also director of the Minimally Invasive Bariatric Center in Chicago. In this interview he talks about what led him to surgery, the ongoing expansion of the CFS, and why it’s important to be business-savvy when you’re a surgeon.

Annual Report 2017/18

View the 2017/18 Annual Report for the Department of Surgery.

How Should Surgeons Get Paid?

September 14, 2018 – Health financing strategies that incorporate incentives for good performance are being introduced in many U.S. healthcare systems, with improvements in quality, efficiency, and outcomes as central goals. As part of that trend, UC San Diego has begun to test a modification to its approach to paying physicians, one it hopes will improve the quality of care, focus attention on data and costs, and ultimately improve health. This article reviews the new approach, explores provider perceptions; and discusses opportunities for the future.

Minimally Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery Performed by Thoracic Surgeons as Effective as Thoracotomy

September 12, 2018

Finding New Cures for Cancer

September 1, 2018 – Famed hematologist and oncologist, Antonio Grillo-Lopez, was instrumental in the development of Rituxan—the #1 cancer drug in the world for over 15 years, which, in combination, cures around 50,000 lymphoma patients every year. He helped to develop more than 25 other cancer-fighting agents as well. Now retired, he and his wife, María Marxuach-Grillo, have joined forces with the Department of Surgery to support research for a cure for pancreatic cancer, an effort led by Dr. Andrew Lowy, the chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology.

Photo Essay: ACAPS West Coast Plastic Surgery Boot Camp

August 12, 2018 – On August 10-12, 2018, UC San Diego’s Division of Plastic Surgery hosted the second annual ACAPS West Coast Plastic Surgery Boot Camp. Forty-three independent and integrated residents from California, Arizona, Utah, New York, Alabama, Minnesota, Texas and Colorado spent three days in lectures and labs learning the core concepts of plastic surgery: Operative Basics, Suturing, Microsurgery, Wound Healing and Nutrition, Burn Management, Craniofacial Anatomy and Radiology, Hand Anatomy, Body Contouring and more.

Q&A with Mahmoud Malas

July 23, 2018 – Dr. Mahmoud Malas will begin as Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery in September 2018. One of the most active clinical trialists in the country in the field of vascular surgery—a field where the development and implementation of new technology is rapidly occurring—Dr. Malas will bring to UC San Diego 13 years of experience from the Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he directs the Center for Research Excellence and Surgical Trials. In this Q&A, Dr. Malas shares his hopes for the Division, as well as his thoughts on destiny and the path that led him to a career in vascular surgery.

New Faculty Hires and Promotions

July 1, 2018 – The Department of Surgery is pleased to announce new faculty hires and promotions for FY 2017/18. Learn more about our growing team below.

Q&A with Erik Owens

May 31, 2018 – In this Q&A, we talk with Dr. Erik Owens, Chief of Surgical Service at the San Diego VA Medical Center, and Professor of Vascular Surgery at UC San Diego, to understand the issues surrounding the VA, get to know him personally, and hear his hopes for the future of the institution.

Q&A with David Lazar

May 17, 2018 – Dr. David Lazar is a pediatric surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at UC San Diego. A graduate of UCSD’s general surgery residency program, he specializes in prenatal counseling and intervention; caring for children with thoracic and abdominal congenital anomalies; and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. In this interview, he talks about what it’s like to work with kids—and parents; shares new goings-on in the Division of Pediatric Surgery; and recounts the time he played black jack with former Department chair, Dr. A.R. Moossa.

Point of Care Test to Detect Risk of Oropharyngeal Cancer

May 16, 2018 – The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2018, about 51,540 people will be diagnosed with oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer, and an estimated 10,030 will die. Although these tumors are more treatable and curable than ever before—even at advanced stages—there is currently no test to detect risk for oral cancer and oropharynx cancer, or to stratify the risk of recurrence. UC San Diego researchers, led by Dr. Joe Califano, with grant funding from the National Cancer Institute, are testing a point of care saliva test that will detect whether an individual is at high risk for oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer.

Smoothing the Transition from Medical School to Residency

May 7, 2018 – The 4th year of medical school is a year unlike any other—with a flexible structure that allows students to explore areas of interest, do valuable away rotations, and interview for residency. However, it occasionally fails to prepare students for the demands of clinical work, resulting in stress and burnout, mental health problems and poor patient care in the initial year of residency. Many medical schools offer specialty-specific “boot camps,” which provide time-limited high-intensity preparation in the basics needed for intern year. UC San Diego has offered a boot camp in surgery since 2016, and this year, UC San Diego’s School of Medicine piloted a new Residency Transition Course for 4th year medical students.

Highlights from the Trauma Workshop: Firearm Injury, REBOA, and More

May 5, 2018 – On Friday May 5th, UC San Diego’s Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns & Acute Care Surgery, and the American College of Surgeons San Diego – Imperial Chapter, hosted the San Diego Trauma Workshop, a multi-professional continuing education event. The event was attended by over 125 healthcare professionals from across Southern California and included presentations by Deborah A. Kuhls, MD, FACS, FCCM, director of the trauma intensive care unit at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, and Dr. Joseph Galante, Associate Professor of Surgery and Trauma Medical Director at UC Davis Health.

Symposium in Surgical Sciences

May 1, 2018 – The Department of Surgery’s Annual Research Symposium in Surgical Sciences brings together the Department’s faculty, project scientists, residents, research fellows, post-doctoral scholars, and medical students who are engaged and interested in the Department’s research enterprise. This year’s Department of Surgery Annual Symposium in Surgical Sciences was a feast for the mind—showcasing the breadth and depth of research happening across our 13 divisions and featuring a keynote address from Dr. William Hawkins, Chief of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

How Often Do Residents Get Sued?

May 1, 2018 – Medical malpractice is rarely part of the resident training curriculum, but residents can be involved in litigation during training. Dr. Mark Zhao, NLM/NIH Biomedical Informatics Fellow, with collaborators Dr. Luis Cajas and Dr. Sonia Ramamoorthy, use a nationwide database to identify how often residents are involved in litigation, with a specific focus on surgical trainees.

Q&A with Lisa Parry

April 17, 2018 - Lisa Parry is Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. In this interview, she discusses why she loves working with residents; innovations in robotic surgery; and dealing with fertility issues as a young female surgeon.

Innovations in Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

April 16, 2018 – Every year, 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)—a bulging dilation or ballooning in the wall of a blood vessel, usually an artery, that is due to weakness or degeneration that develops in a portion of the artery wall. A ruptured AAA, which can cause fatal bleeding, is the 15th leading cause of death in the country, and the 10th leading cause of death in men older than 55. Since the early 1990s, a minimally invasive procedure called Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) has been increasingly used. Now, new devices are being developed to address issues with EVAR.

Center for the Future of Surgery is Expanding

April 15, 2018 – Construction will soon begin at The Center for the Future of Surgery—an advanced surgical training center located on the campus of UC San Diego—to build a microsurgery laboratory and hybrid operating room equipped with the latest technology. The facility is slated to be complete by November 2018.

Surgery Clinics Recognized for Exceptional Care

April 10, 2018 – Surgical clinics have been the recipients of UC San Diego Health’s Clinic of the Month award for seven months in a row—from July 2017 through January 2018. The Clinic of the Month award recognizes ambulatory clinics that exemplify a commitment to deliver exceptional care every day. Clinics are assessed on patient access indicators; patient experience surveys; and quality scores, and over 150 clinics are considered. The string of wins follows a year of big push to improve clinic services throughout surgery.

Match Results

March 16, 2018 – On March 16, 2018, the National Resident Matching Program announced the results of the 2018 Main Residency Match. This year, UC San Diego's general surgery residency program had 1,027 applicants and interviewed 75 candidates. The Department of Surgery is thrilled to welcome our 2018 class of interns and to begin another year educating the best and the brightest in academic surgery.

On the Move: HIPEC for Ovarian Cancer

March 14, 2018 – With momentum growing around the potential therapeutic efficacy of HIPEC—heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy—to treat ovarian cancer, surgeons in UC San Diego's Division of Surgical Oncology and Gynecologic Oncologists in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, are deepening their collaboration to expand UC San Diego's already flourishing HIPEC program to include patients with advanced stage ovarian cancer.

Q&A with Kristin Mekeel, Interim Chief of Transplant Surgery

March 8, 2018 – Dr. Kristin Mekeel is Interim Chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary & Transplant Surgery, and Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation. Her team performed 85 kidney transplants in 2017—the most since 2010. In this interview, she discusses organ allocation reforms; strategies for increasing the pool of available organs and what it’s like to be a woman in surgery.

Opening of Outpatient Pavilion Enhances Surgical Programs

March 5, 2018 – This month marked the opening of the UC San Diego Health Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion—a clinical facility on UC San Diego La Jolla campus. The four-floor, 156,000-square-foot facility accommodates hospital-licensed services and programs to support Jacobs Medical Center (JMC) and other UC San Diego Health facilities. Surgical specialties will see their capabilities enhanced in the outpatient pavilion.

New Lecture Series Signals Growing Focus on Alumni

March 5, 2018 – On March 21, UC San Diego's Department of Surgery will host the 1st Annual Alumni Lecture, featuring Dr. David Hoyt, the Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, who served at UC San Diego for 30 years, first as a surgical resident and eventually as head of the Trauma Center, a position he held for 20 years. The move this year to launch a lecture series in honor of alumni comes alongside a new initiative to connect with and serve the hundreds who have trained in the Department of Surgery since its founding.

Pancreatic Cancer Consortium Meets at UC San Diego

February 15, 2018 – On Saturday, February 10th, UC San Diego hosted leaders in pancreatic cancer for the first disease-specific meeting of the UC Cancer Consortium, which was launched in September 2017.

Jason Sicklick Receives James IV Traveling Fellowship

January 24, 2018 – Jason Sicklick, MD, a surgical oncologist at Moores Cancer Center and Associate Professor of Surgery at UC San Diego, has been named a recipient of the prestigious James IV Association of Surgeons Traveling Fellowship, which pays a stipend allowing young, academic surgeons a four-week period of foreign travel, with a goal of promoting communication and collaboration in the surgical community.

In Memoriam: Dr. Michael Peter Kaye

January 26, 2018 – Dr. Michael Peter Kaye, a surgeon, teacher, researcher, and devout family man, died at the age of 82, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.

Bringing Better Health Care to El Centro

January 22, 2018 – Imperial County is one of the more impoverished counties in California and has among the highest rates of chronic disease. It is also designated as a medically underserved area, due to a relative shortage of medical providers—including surgeons. a long-term management services agreement, signed in 2015, between the City of El Centro and UC San Diego Health, to enhance the delivery of high-quality health care to patients in the Imperial Valley, with a focus on the El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC)—the city-owned hospital. As part of the institutions’ clinical collaboration, the UC San Diego Department of Surgery placed one of its resident graduates, Dr. Luis Cajas, on a one-year assignment at the hospital.

Training Bystanders to Stop the Bleeding

January 19, 2018 – Mass casualty events—particularly mass shootings—are an increasingly common part of American life. The Stop the Bleed campaign, launched in October of 2015 by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma and supported by the White House under the Obama Administration, “is a national awareness campaign intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.” UC San Diego’s Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery is leading this effort in San Diego.