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Chikwe, MD, Named Founding Chair of Department of Cardiac Surgery


Joanna Chikwe, MD

Following a comprehensive national search led by Bruce Gewertz, MD, and Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, we are very pleased to announce that Joanna Chikwe, MD, has been selected as the founding chair of the new Department of Cardiac Surgery. This important leadership appointment reflects Chikwe's outstanding reputation for clinical excellence and innovation, and her exceptional track record for building successful clinical and academic programs.

Chikwe is a recognized leader in the field of mitral valve repair and coronary revascularization, with expertise in minimally invasive cardiac surgery. She comes to Cedars-Sinai from the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, where she is a professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, and where she served as Program Director of the Residency and Fellowship Programs and founding Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mount Sinai St. Luke's. Presently she also serves as Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and as Director of the Heart Institute at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Chikwe has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, serves on editorial boards of leading specialty journals and is a deputy editor of Annals of Thoracic Surgery. She has edited and authored three textbooks, including Cardiothoracic Surgery. A native of England, Chikwe completed her medical degree at the University of Oxford, followed by cardiothoracic surgery residency at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals in London.

The new Department of Cardiac Surgery will align with the new Department of Cardiology under the umbrella of the Smidt Heart Institute, which encompasses all Cedars-Sinai heart care, research and education under the leadership of Marbán. The two departments will build on institute accomplishments that include the leading heart transplantation, transcatheter valve and robotic cardiac surgery programs in North America, and the No. 3 ranking in the United States for Cardiology and Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

Chikwe will be responsible for oversight of the clinical, research and education programs within the department and our affiliated cardiac surgery programs. She will foster strategic growth and innovation by expanding her active clinical practice of advanced heart valve reconstruction and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

Our renowned Cardiac Surgery Division has been led by Alfredo Trento, MD, whose surgical skills set a remarkably high standard for operative care; the division is internationally recognized for its superior outcomes. We thank Trento for his dedicated professionalism and are delighted that he will continue as a senior heart surgeon as we transition into the new department.

Chikwe joins Cedars-Sinai on Sept 9. Please join us in welcoming her to the Cedars-Sinai family.

- Shlomo Melmed, MD
Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, and Dean of the Medical Faculty

- Jeff Smith, MD, JD, MMM
Executive Vice President, Hospital Operations, and Chief Operating Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

- Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD
Director, Smidt Heart Institute