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Q & A

  • Jeanne Lee, MD, FACS,

    Jeanne Lee, MD, FACS,

    Jeanne Lee: 50th Anniversary of Burn Center 

    The UC San Diego Regional Burn Center has been a leader in making notable advances in burn therapy since 1973, making this year its golden anniversary. 

    Every year, the Burn Center admits about 400 patients – from infants to older adults – for burn injuries, inhalation injuries, and skin disorders. Its surgeons treat another 800 individuals annually as outpatients in Hillcrest. The Center’s state-of-the-art facility has an intensive care unit, a special burn care unit and an outpatient clinic for minor burn assessments and treatment. 

    Director of Burn Surgery Jeanne Lee, MD, FACS, shares with us the value of the Burn Center for the San Diego region and the surprising continuity of burn injuries seen over the years and the one simple, two-second at-home maneuver that could prevent a majority of burn injuries. 

  • Romeo Ignacio, MD

    Romeo Ignacio, MD

    Rewarding and Rejuvenating: Dr. Romeo Ignacio's Surgical Missions

    Giving back to the community is a natural instinct for many on our team, and international surgical missions are a meaningful and impactful way to serve. For this month's Q&A, we interview Romeo Ignacio, MD, of our Division of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Ignacio discusses his recent surgical mission to Guatemala, as well as how hospitals abroad differ from those in the U.S. and what it takes to make the most of surgical service abroad.

  • Q&A: Patty Maysent, CEO

    Q&A: Patty Maysent, CEO

    For our Q&A this month, CEO Patty Maysent reflects on UC San Diego Health’s remarkable and historic distinction as a member of the Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

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    Q&A: Jason Sicklick, MD, FACS and Yuan Chen, PhD

    Surgical Oncologists as Scientists (SOAS) T32 Training Grant Aims to Move the Needle on Translational Cancer Research 

    The UC San Diego Department of Surgery was granted T32 funding this month from the National Institutes for Health for a Surgical Oncologists as Scientists (SOAS) Training Program, which centers on the idea that patient health is a team sport. 

    Translational cancer research moves innovative discoveries from basic research to preclinical validation (often utilizing bio-banked tissue) and then on to clinical implementation via entrepreneurship and commercialization. SOAS will train two new surgeon-scientists annually in three topics: 1) the tumor microenvironment (TME); 2) tissue biobanking via our College of American Pathologists (CAP)-certified biorepository; and 3) innovation & entrepreneurial skills. 

    The SOAS Training Program is dedicated to training a diverse group of surgeon-scientists, including individuals from various backgrounds such as women, underrepresented minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. The program aims to nurture these trainees into future leaders in academic surgery and oncology, equipping them with the necessary skills to contribute to the translation of innovative discoveries into improved clinical cancer care.

    Jason Sicklick, MD, FACS, and Yuan Chen, PhD, will oversee the SOAS program. For this month’s Q&A, Drs. Sicklick and Chen elaborate on the purpose of the grant, discuss the types of trainees they are looking for and describe what a successful outcome will look like. 


  • Q&A: Julie LE, MD

    Q&A: Julie LE, MD

    Our March Q&A features Julie Le, MD, a board-certified surgeon who specializes in the treatment of benign, high-risk and malignant breast pathologies. Born and raised in the City Heights area of San Diego, Dr. Le felt a calling to treat and serve the San Diego community, where she performs image-guided lumpectomies, nipple and skin-sparing mastectomies, flat aesthetic closures and axillary surgery. Dr. Le has been involved in medical and scientific research for more than 10 years and has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed articles that have been published in journals, including Annals of Surgical Oncology, Journal of Safety Research, and others. She has a special research interest in axillary management and high-risk breast lesions.

    She completed a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at UC Los Angeles and a surgical residency at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. Dr. Le earned her medical degree from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Mich. She is a member of American Society of Breast Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons and American Medical Women's Association.

    In her spare time, Dr. Le enjoys baking goodies from the "British Bake Off" television show with her nieces and nephews. She loves listening to mystery podcasts and getting lost in fun, intriguing fiction and historical nonfiction novels.
  • Q&A: Dr. Kristin Mekeel Receives Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

    Q&A: Dr. Kristin Mekeel Receives Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

    Kristin Mekeel, MD, chief of the UC San Diego Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, is the first surgeon at UC San Diego and one of only a few physicians at UC San Diego to have earned her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. To receive this certification, Dr. Mekeel completed a cross-functional process improvement project resulting in at least a $100k impact for UC San Diego Health. 

    Dr. Mekeel is a board-certified transplant surgeon who specializes in liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation surgery in adults and children. She performs operations in patients with conditions such as chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, liver cancer and diabetes. As Chief of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Dr. Mekeel leads a group of four surgeons performing over 250 transplants, living and deceased donor organ procurements, and other surgeries per year. She also serves as vice-chair of Quality for the Department of Surgery and program director for Surgical Quality at UC San Diego Health. In these roles, Dr. Mekeel oversees quality and safety for operating rooms and surgical subspecialties.

    In this month's Q&A, Dr. Mekeel discusses her project for the Lean Six Sigma program, how it will benefit the field of surgery (as well as patients) and what motivates her to continue her important work.

  • Q&A: Dr. Al-Refaie

    Q&A: Dr. Al-Refaie

    Creighton University School of Medicine and CHI Health have announced a new Chair for the School's Department of Surgery: UC San Diego Department of Surgery alumnus Waddah B. Al-Refaie, MD, FACS.

    As chair, Dr. Al-Refaie will oversee and direct the clinical, research, education, academic and innovative missions of general surgery, colorectal, trauma/acute care surgery, cardiovascular, and thoracic surgery at Creighton and CHI Health.

    Dr. Al-Refaie comes to Creighton from MedStar Health and Georgetown University, where he served as regional chief of Surgical Oncology, the John S. Dillon Chair in Surgical Oncology and Surgeon in Chief of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    He is a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist with more than 15 years of expertise in gastric cancer, skin cancer and soft tissue sarcomas. He obtained his medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After finishing an internship at Al-Amiri Hospital in Kuwait, he completed his residency at UC San Diego. He then completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Prior to Georgetown, Al-Refaie served as the co-director of the University of Minnesota Surgical Outcomes Research Center.

    He has over 130 peer-reviewed publications, books, and book chapters covering various aspects of surgical oncology including variations and disparities in surgical care and has earned numerous honors and awards for his work. He is an invited speaker on gastric cancer, soft tissue sarcomas and advanced cutaneous cancers. Al-Refaie has helped establish cancer surgery standards for gastric cancer, GI cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas as part of the American College of Surgery Cancer initiatives.

  • Q&A: Dr. Ann Gaffey

    Q&A: Dr. Ann Gaffey

    Ann Gaffey, MD, is a board-certified vascular surgeon who specializes in a wide spectrum of vascular diseases including complex treatment of thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral arterial disease, carotid disease, thoracic outlet syndrome and hemodialysis access. Dr. Gaffey completed fellowship training in vascular surgery and endovascular therapy, residency training in general surgery and a master's degree in translational research at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She earned her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, District of Columbia.

    Dr. Gaffey's clinical interests include examining new approaches to peripheral arterial disease and improving the patency of current bypass options. As an assistant professor of surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, she trains medical students, residents and fellows in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Dr. Gaffey was drawn to vascular surgery primarily for the opportunity to develop lifelong relationships with her patients while working together to manage all aspects of their vascular health. She is able to offer a myriad of treatments from medical management, structured exercise, endovascular interventions and open surgery tailored to each patient. Dr. Gaffey finds nothing more rewarding than earning her patient's trust and becoming part of their healthcare team.

    For this month's Q&A, we discuss the key challenges she faces treating peripheral arterial disease, what sets her apart from other physicians and why she has made research a key focus of her career.

  • Q&A: Professor Emeritus Dr. Jack Fisher on "Preparing thee Soil for UC San Diego"

    Q&A: Professor Emeritus Dr. Jack Fisher on "Preparing thee Soil for UC San Diego"

    We often feature surgeon-scientists within the scope of this newsletter, but it's not every day we're able to feature a surgeon-historian-published author. Jack C. Fisher, MD, FACS, is the Edward A. Dickson Professor Emeritus of Surgery at UC San Diego and the author of a new book, "Preparing the Soil for UC San Diego: Land, Thoroughfares and Local Expectations." As Dr. Fisher notes in the book, the phrase ‘preparing the soil’ is taken from Army Corps of Engineers protocol for removing ordnance from military firing ranges prior to certifying sites for new construction -- which is exactly what happened on what is now the UC San Diego campus following World War II.

    This month's Q&A is a conversation with Dr. Fisher about his new book, which was published for the UC San Diego Emeriti Association and describes the political will and creative land use required to create UC San Diego in the wake of war -- and on the brink of an exciting technological future. Mary Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs at UC San Diego, describes Dr. Fisher's book as "an invaluable resource for San Diegans wanting to understand their city’s contemporary economy as well as for urban leaders worldwide."

  • Q&A: Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD

    Q&A: Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD

    The UC San Diego Department of Surgery was delighted this summer to host Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD, a recipient of the 2021 American Surgical Association/Society of Black Academic Surgeons Surgical Leader Fellowship Award. This Fellowship grant is a mechanism to support external leadership shadowing experiences for mid-level or senior academic SBAS surgeons who desire future leadership roles. 

    Dr. Henry-Tillman is an accomplished academic breast surgical oncologist at the University of Arkansas. She is an alumnus of UCSD School of Medicine and has San Diego roots, graduating with her undergraduate degree at San Diego State University. Her research interests are largely focused on disparities in care and clinical breast oncology and surgery topics. Over the course of her one-week visit, she met with faculty in the Department as well as Institutional leaders to get a feel for how UC San Diego Health accomplishes its mission. In addition, she observed in our clinics and operating rooms.   

    For our monthly newsletter Q&A, we asked Dr. Henry-Tillman about her background, her approach to leadership and how her perspective on healthcare has evolved since she first roamed the halls of UC San Diego as a medical student.

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    Q&A: Drs. Jay Doucet and Amy Liepert – Calling on California to ‘Stop the Bleed’

    Each year, about 2 million people around the world die from hemorrhaging, or blood loss, and as many as 1.5 million of these deaths are the result of physical trauma, including gunshot wounds. In the United States, 60,000 people per year die from bleeds.

    UC San Diego’s Amy Liepert, MD, FACS, of our Division of Trauma Surgery, and Trauma Chief Jay Doucet, MD, FRCSC, FACS, have been instrumental in championing California Assembly Bill 2260, which would mandate that STOP THE BLEED® bleeding control kits be added to all public buildings with capacity over 200.

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  • Professor Tania Morimoto

    Professor Tania Morimoto

    Tania K. Morimoto is an Assistant Professor with dual appointments in the UC San Diego Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Surgery. Her work focuses on the design and control of flexible continuum robots for increased dexterity and accessibility in uncertain environments -- particularly for minimally invasive surgeries. Prof. Morimoto, who obtained an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a masters and PhD at Stanford University, recently received a Science Foundation CAREER grant as part of its Foundational Research in Robotics program. In our Q&A this month, Prof. Morimoto discusses her research into the challenges of designing human-in-the-loop interfaces for controlling flexible and soft robots, including the integration of haptic feedback to improve surgical outcomes.
  • Garth Jacobsen, MD: A General Surgery Residency That's "Second-to-None

    Garth Jacobsen, MD: A General Surgery Residency That's "Second-to-None

    As Director of our General Surgery Residency, Garth Jacobsen, MD, is committed to educating surgeons of the future. The UC San Diego General Surgery Residency Program provides a comprehensive training program encompassing the spectrum of core general surgery and general surgery subspecialties, including cardiothoracic, transplant, oncology, vascular, colorectal, trauma, and pediatric surgery. Here Dr. Jacobsen describes the program in more detail.

  • New (and Uncommon) R25 Resident Training Grant to Drive Further Scientific Discovery

    New (and Uncommon) R25 Resident Training Grant to Drive Further Scientific Discovery

    The UC San Diego Department of Surgery’s Division of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery has received a new R25 Training Grant for resident research training from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The overarching goal of this R25 program, as described by NIH, “is to support educational activities that encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, to pursue further studies or careers in research.” In this month’s Q&A, Co-Principal Investigators Rick Friedman, MD, PhD and Allen Ryan, PhD, expand on the need for research training among residents and why the grant is of particular importance to the Department of Surgery.

  • Nicole Goldhaber, MD

    Nicole Goldhaber, MD

    Congratulations to UC San Diego Surgery’s Nicole Goldhaber, MD, a General Surgery Resident who has received a Lean/Six Sigma Best in Class distinction for her Green Belt cohort. Dr. Goldhaber – a graduate of Harvard Medical School – spent the first of two research years at UC San Diego Surgery focused on Perioperative Quality, Informatics and Education. As part of her project for Lean/Six Sigma, Dr. Goldhaber created a new communication approach for the surgical timeout process by which the surgical team takes a pause to make ensure that the right patient is receiving the correct procedure, that all necessary resources are on hand and all safety protocols are being followed.
  • Winta Mehtsun, MD, MPH

    Winta Mehtsun, MD, MPH

    The Division of Surgical Oncology is delighted to welcome Dr. Winta Mehtsun to the faculty. Dr. Mehstun is originally from Eritrea but grew up across several countries in Africa and South East Asian before emigrating to the U.S. Dr. Mehtsun joins us after completing medical school at the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree from The Johns Hopkins- Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital and completed her fellowship training in surgical oncology at the Mass General Brigham/Dana-Farber Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mehtsun will practice both in La Jolla and Hillcrest, focusing on sarcoma and endocrine surgery. Her research focuses on the intersection of health policy, financial incentives, and regulation, and their impact on surgical utilization, cost, and outcomes. We are proud that Dr. Mehstun will be the first Department member to hold a dual appointment in the Departments of Surgery and the Wertheim School of Public Health and look forward to welcoming her here in the fall.

  • Dr. Jennifer Berumen

    Dr. Jennifer Berumen

    Formed in spring of 2020, the UC San Diego Surgery Wellness Team features representatives from each surgical division, who collectively aim to improve the daily lives of members of the department, from attending physicians and residents to advanced practitioners. Specific goals of the committee include facilitating a Peer Support/Surgical Crisis Team and a Residency Wellness Program. For this month’s Q&A, we take a deeper dive into these wellness efforts with Jennifer Berumen, MD, Wellness Champion for the Department of Surgery as well as a specialist in abdominal transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery.

  • Quyen Nguyen, MD, PhD

    Quyen Nguyen, MD, PhD

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation for ALM-488, an investigational fluorescently labelled nerve targeting pharmaceutical being developed as an adjunct for the visualization of nerves at risk for injury during head and neck surgery. The compound was developed by Alume Biosciences, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company led by CEO Quyen Nguyen, MD/PhD, Professor of Surgery at UC San Diego. Here we speak with Dr. Nguyen about this exciting breakthrough and the process of getting the compound fast-tracked.

  • Dr. Luis Cajas: Shifting Mentalities and Serving Patients in El Centro

    Dr. Luis Cajas: Shifting Mentalities and Serving Patients in El Centro

    One could say that the career of Luis Cajas, MD, has come full circle. A native of Guatemala, Dr. Cajas completed his general surgery resident training with UC San Diego Surgery in 2017, where he spent time on special assignment at El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC), 100 miles to the east of UC San Diego in Imperial Valley. This one-year assignment was part of a partnership 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 -- a medically underserved area. After completing his term with ECRMC, followed by a vascular surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Cajas jumped at the chance to return to ECRMC this year as a vascular surgeon, splitting his time there and at UC San Diego Health. 

  • Dr. Daniela Carvahlo–President Elect of SENTAC

    Dr. Daniela Carvahlo–President Elect of SENTAC

    We are pleased to announce that Daniela Carvalho, MD, MMM, has been elected to the role of President-Elect of SENTAC (Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Advancement in Children). SENTAC is the oldest pediatric ENT Society in the world (founded in 1973). Its members were and continue to be otolaryngologists, pediatricians, surgeons, pediatric otolaryngologists, speech pathologists, audiologists, nurses, and basic scientists – in fact all of those who are interested in enhancing the care of children with acquired or congenital disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. SENTAC continues to be an interdisciplinary forum for new ideas; it is one of the few medical societies in which membership is determined solely by interest, not by professional association, facilitating the successful interchange of information between many different professional and lay groups.

  • Dr. Rebekah White

    Dr. Rebekah White

    We are most pleased to share the news that Rebekah White, MD, FACS, of our Division of Surgical Oncology was recently elected to the role of President-Elect of the Society for University Surgeons (SUS). Dr. White is part of the gastrointestinal cancer unit at UC San Diego Health's Moores Cancer Center, where she works alongside a multidisciplinary team to provide cancer patients with advanced surgical options that are best suited to their individual needs. In addition to the SUS, she is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Clinical Oncology. Read on to discover the mission of the SUS, what Dr. White hopes to achieve during her term and why participating in the SUS makes her a better surgeon.

  • Dr. Romeo Ignacio

    Dr. Romeo Ignacio

    Dr. Romeo Ignacio of our Division of Pediatric Surgery is one of the more recent additions to our department. He brings a wealth of experience from serving for more than two decades in the U.S. Military, including overseeing the General Surgery Residency at the Balboa Naval Medical Center and serving as the Advance Echelon Surgeon on the USS Mercy. Here Dr. Ignacio discusses what he learned, what he misses about the Navy and what he has experienced transitioning from military to civilian life.
  • Dr. Geoffroy Noel

    Dr. Geoffroy Noel

    As incoming Chief of Anatomy at UC San Diego, Geoffroy Noel, PhD, is inheriting a unique division. Typically, anatomy instruction is embedded within the basic sciences, but at UC San Diego the division is part of our clinically focused Department of Surgery – a key factor in recruiting Dr. Noel from McGill University. Here we speak to Dr. Noel about his approach to leadership transition, his research interests and his plans for the future of Anatomy at UCSD.
  • Dr. Jeff Reeves

    Dr. Jeff Reeves

    The best surgical training programs share in common an emphasis on educating resident physicians about the most advanced surgical techniques. But what many programs leave out is an education on the business aspects of how to run a successful surgical practice, from navigating the ‘alphabet soup’ inherent to the healthcare financial reimbursement system to putting in place quality improvement systems that will help surgeons practice more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Hervé Tiriac

    Hervé Tiriac

    Precision Medicine hinges on the ability to treat not only specific areas of the body, but the precise biological underpinnings that differentiate one person’s disease from another. This month, we speak with our Division of Surgical Oncology’s Hervé Tiriac, PhD, about his work with organoids — 3D models made from patient-derived tissue that serve as a “patient avatars in a dish.”
  • Dr. Joseph Califano III

    Dr. Joseph Califano III

    Although UC San Diego's surgeons often take on leadership roles within the Department of Surgery, many are also recruited to become key leaders at other university institutions. Joseph Califano III, MD, is a prime example. Dr. Califano, a professor of Surgery and Director of UC San Diego's Head & Neck Cancer Center, became Physician in Chief for Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego in January of 2019. Since then, his leadership has been instrumental in ushering in a number of complex, value-added changes to cancer care for patients in San Diego County and beyond. Here we speak with him about his role as Physician in Chief, the challenges he and his team are working to overcome, and the advice he has for physicians hoping to take on leadership roles at academic institutions.
  • Dr. Sharona Ben-Haim

    Dr. Sharona Ben-Haim

    Although the topic of pregnancy and family leave has recently become more widely discussed in departments of surgery nationwide, little research has been done to ascertain the experiences and attitudes of female surgeons on the subject of and perceived barriers to pregnancy and child-rearing. In an effort to shed some light on the subject, UC San Diego Neurosurgeon Sharona Ben-Haim, MD, conducted a voluntary 28-question survey on behalf of the ANS/CNS Section of Women in Neurosurgery Women and Pregnancy Task Force, the results of which were published in a Journal of Neurosurgery paper titled “Pregnancy and parental leave among neurosurgeons and neurosurgical trainees.” Here Dr. Ben-Haim discusses the results of that survey and the steps departments of surgery can take to ensure that working parents are supported.
  • Dr. Divya Sood

    Dr. Divya Sood

    This month, we're saying goodbye many residents and fellows that have been with UC San Diego Surgery. We talked to graduated resident Dr. Divya Sood, who told us about why she came here, what she loved, her next steps and how she's come full circle.
  • Dr. Andrew Baird

    Dr. Andrew Baird

    UC San Diego's Andrew Baird, PhD, has spent most of his academic life pursuing research. Currently the Vice Chair for Research for the Department of Surgery, Baird's interest in research has led him to a position as chair of the University Committee on Research Policy (UCORP), which is a component of the University of California's Academic Senate. Here we talk with Prof. Baird about his life, how he got interested in UCORP and what he's gotten out of the board as both a member of the Department of Surgery, and as an individual.
  • Dr. Allison Berndston

    Dr. Allison Berndston

    UC San Diego's Dr. Allison Berndtson has devoted much of her career to training and collaborating with surgeons and surgical care facilities around the world. Having a particular interest in global health, Dr. Berndtson – an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery – has provided education and clinical care in Ghana, Colombia, Haiti, India, Mexico and Mozambique, and was a founding member of the annual Abuja National Trauma Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Santiago Horgan

    Dr. Santiago Horgan

    With the new expansion of the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS), we're taking a moment for a retrospective and prospective look at the facility by way of a Q&A with CFS Director Santiago Horgan, MD. Learn how CFS has evolved since its creation in 2011, what sets it apart from other surgical training facilities and Dr. Horgan's goals for CFS over the next decade and beyond.
  • Dr. Victor Pretorius

    Dr. Victor Pretorius

    Here we interview Victor Pretorius, MBchB, surgical director of cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support at UC San Diego Health, to talk about how he and his team achieved these outcomes and how they plan to maintain their success moving forward.
  • Dr. Frederic Kolb

    Dr. Frederic Kolb

    Here we interview Dr. Kolb about his interest in working with both plastics and wood, the future of plastic surgery and his first (or, it turns out, second) impressions of San Diego.
  • Andrew Lowy

    Andrew Lowy

    In this interview with Dr. Lowy, he elaborates on his new role and vision for cancer surgery at UC San Diego.
  • Jay Doucet

    Jay Doucet

    In this interview we chat with Dr. Doucet about the division's current strengths, his vision for the future and the challenges of meeting San Diego's needs as the only Level I Trauma Center in the region.
  • Alexander Khalessi

    Alexander Khalessi

    In this month's Q&A, Neurosurgery Division Chief Alexander Khalessi, MD, explains the implications of SAH, the type of treatment Clarke received and the importance of receiving treatment at a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • Amanda Gosman

    Amanda Gosman

    Dr. Amanda Gosman—the recently named Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at UC San Diego—wears many hats. She serves as Director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery; as the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Rady Children's Hospital; and also directs the Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Program, which provides disadvantaged children free reconstructive surgery. In this interview she discusses her hopes for the Division of Plastic Surgery in patient care, training and research; and shares the unlikely road that led her to medicine.
  • Bryan Clary

    Bryan Clary

    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 them); and should UC San Diego Surgery have a Department band?
  • Tatiana Kisseleva

    Tatiana Kisseleva

    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.
  • Santiago Horgan

    Santiago Horgan

    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.
  • Mahmoud Malas

    Mahmoud Malas

    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.
  • Erik Owens

    Erik Owens

    The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, with an annual budget of some $68 billion, and responsibility for overseeing delivery of care to more than 9 million veterans. But the VA has been under intense scrutiny in recent months: its leadership is in flux and it is still recovering from a 2014 scandal involving wait times at some facilities. 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, get to know him personally, and hear his hopes for the future of the institution.
  • David Lazar

    David Lazar

    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.
  • Lisa Parry

    Lisa Parry

    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.
  • Kristin Mekeel

    Kristin Mekeel

    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.
  • Gert Pretorius

    Gert Pretorius

    Millions of people suffer from acute and chronic heart failure. In this interview, Dr. Gert Pretorius, Surgical Director of Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, discusses heart failure surgery innovations at UC San Diego, including expanding the donor pool by using the hearts of Hepatitis C-positive donors, thanks to highly effective Hepatitis C antivirals.
  • Bryan Clary

    Bryan Clary

    Bryan Clary, MD, FACS, is Chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego. A nationally recognized specialist in diseases of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts, he was recruited in 2015, from Duke University where he served on faculty for 15 years. In this interview, he discusses challenges and opportunities ahead for the Department and the surgical field; and looks back on what shaped him as a surgeon, and what it was like to grow up in San Diego's neighbor to the east, Imperial Valley.
  • Jeffrey Harris

    Jeffrey Harris

    Jeffrey Harris, MD, PhD, is Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology / Head & Neck Surgery, the largest division in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego. In this interview, he reflects on his 38 years at UC San Diego, new happenings in the division—including a new center for acoustic neuroma; ethical dilemmas inherent in the surgical profession; and why he's optimistic about the future.
  • Raul Coimbra

    Raul Coimbra

    Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized trauma surgeon who specializes in trauma, surgical critical care and acute care surgery. He is the surgeon-in-chief of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and the director of the UCSD Level 1 Trauma Center. In this interview he discusses global trauma care; the controversy surrounding the shooting and subsequent care of Rep. Steve Scalise, and how he and others built the UCSD Trauma Center.
  • Mark Whitehead

    Mark Whitehead

    Mark Whitehead, PhD, is the chief of the Anatomy Division in UC San Diego's Department of Surgery. In this interview with Communications Director Lindsay Morgan, he discusses his research on neuroplasticity, and specifically how taste information is processed by the central nervous system; UC San Diego's dissection-based approach to anatomy education; and whether anatomy is being squeezed from the medical school curriculum?
  • Todd Costantini

    Todd Costantini

    Todd Costantini, MD FACS, is assistant director of UC San Diego Health's Level 1 Trauma Center, an assistant professor in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery, and an alum of the UC San Diego general surgery residency program and trauma/surgical critical care fellowship. In this interview, he discusses his ground-breaking research into ways to counteract organ-damaging inflammation; UCSD's Trauma Center and San Diego's unparalleled Trauma System; and how he balances teaching, clinical care, and teaching.
  • Sonia Ramamoorthy

    Sonia Ramamoorthy

    Dr. Sonia Ramamoorthy is a nationally recognized colorectal surgeon who serves as the Chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery and as Vice-Chair of the Department for Quality and Safety. In this interview, she talks about what brought her to surgery; the innovations coming out of the UC San Diego's Department of Surgery in quality of care, robotics, and minimally invasive surgery, and shares what she'd do if she weren't a surgeon.