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Education Schedule - September 2016 (PDF)  

Education Schedule - October 2016 (PDF)  

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Division of Thoracic Surgery Continues to Flourish

soukiasian harmik

Harmik J. Soukiasian, MD

The division of Thoracic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai continues to grow and flourish. Under the leadership of Harmik J. Soukiasian, MD, the department has obtained two new advanced practice providers: Evangeline Rodriguez, PA, and Crystal Presser, APRN.

The division is in the process of recruiting two more faculty surgeons, one of whom ideally will serve as surgical director of a new specialized lung transplant program.

In his new role as chief of the division, Soukiasian has coordinated with physicians from multiple specialties, including thoracic surgery, pathology, radiation oncology, pulmonology, medical oncology and radiology, to institute a bimonthly tumor board. These conferences will begin in October and will feature presentations of complex clinical patient histories in an effort to provide the best care that Cedars-Sinai can offer.

The division has also recently established a new lung cancer support group. The team realized a need for more resources and social support for patients, whether newly diagnosed, actively undergoing treatment or a lung cancer survivor.

Under the direction of clinical nurse coordinator Crystal Presser and with help from case managers in the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, the support group will meet once a month. The meetings will provide a great opportunity for patients in all stages of treatment to share their experiences and gain educational insight to proper nutrition, financial aid resources, psychosocial coping mechanisms and alternative medicine therapies.

As Cedars-Sinai has widened its clinical influence throughout the region, Soukiasian has partnered with the Southern California Pulmonary Lung Center to identify and evaluate potential surgical candidates. He has started by seeing patients once a month at their center in Glendale for those who otherwise cannot make the drive to Cedars-Sinai. If the patient is deemed a candidate for surgery, they will then have it performed at the hospital.

In an effort to keep pace with the evolving technology in surgery, Soukiasian has begun implementing the use of the Da Vinci XI for thoracic cases. A few months ago, Soukiasian performed the first robotic-assisted VATS lobectomy at Cedars-Sinai, a surgery that is still traditionally performed around the country through a large open thoracotomy approach. The use of the Da Vinci robot allows the surgeon more degrees of articulation with the instruments than with the standard VATS approach, and therefore can be of an advantage in certain cases.

These initiatives, new and upcoming, mark the beginning of what looks to be an exciting era for the division.

For more information, visit the thoracic surgery program website or this story about surgical options for lung cancer patients.