Recent Faculty Additions: GI Surgery

June 3, 2015

In the interest of building connections between providers across NYP, the CADC Research Spotlight plans to highlight faculty who have recently joined the Center for Advanced Digestive Care, and share their areas of clinical and research interest.

This issue’s spotlight is on GI surgical faculty who have joined in the past two academic years:


Name: Cheguevara Afaneh, MD

Specialties: General Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Upper Endoscopy

Clinical & Research Interests: Minimally invasive surgery, bariatric surgery, robotic surgery, gastric cancer, GERD, peptic ulcer disease

More information: Dr. Afaneh has authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles, more than 10 textbook chapters, and co-edited a textbook. He has presented over 40 abstracts at regional, national, and international conferences. Among his most recent awards are the 13th Annual Hassan Naama Chief Resident Teaching Award in 2014, and second place in the Top Gun Competition at the annual meeting for the Society for Laparoendoscopic Surgeons in 2014.


Name: Benjamin Golas, MD

Specialties: General Surgery, Complex Surgical Oncology

Clinical & Research Interests: Treatment of liver metastases, primary liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, bile duct cancer, and other gastrointestinal malignancies.

More Information: Dr. Golas’ interests and research include novel treatments for liver and pancreatic malignancies along with minimally invasive surgical techniques.


Name: Melanie Ongchin, MD

Specialty: General Surgery, Surgical Oncology

Clinical & Research Interests: Peritoneal surface malignancies, cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC, gastric cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, robotic surgery

More Information: Dr. Ongchin is interested in peritoneal surface malignancies and the role of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC. She is interested in developing the robotic surgery program at Weill Cornell and applying it to surgical oncology cases.


Name: Benjamin Samstein, MD

Specialties: Liver Cancer Surgery, Bile Duct Surgery, Transplant Surgery

Clinical & Research Interests: Liver transplantation, living donor liver transplantation, minimally invasive liver donation, bile duct & liver cancers, liver regeneration, innate & B cell immunity

More Information: Dr. Samstein is an expert on surgical and non-surgical ablation of malignant tumors of the liver and bile duct, using laparoscopic and minimally invasive techniques as often as possible. Dr. Samstein’s research interests are liver regeneration, liver growth in response to injury or surgery and liver cancer. He has reported widely on outcomes after hepatectomies, transplants from deceased and living donors, and pioneered new laparoscopic surgery techniques for living donor hepatectomy. He sits on the UNOS Liver & Intestine Committee which decides policy of allocation of liver and intestines. He is a member of the American Society of Transplant Surgery and is a member of its Fellowship Training Committee. He also runs the Fellowship for Abdominal Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery at NYP.

James D. Smith

Name: James D. Smith, MBBCH, FRCSI

Specialties: General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery

Clinical & Research Interests: Colorectal neuroendocrine carcinoma, rectal cancer, surgery for inflammatory bowel disease

More Information: Dr. Smith hails from Ireland, where he completed his medical degree and Masters of Surgery from University College Dublin, as well as his general surgery residency at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His clinical and research interests include colorectal surgical oncology.


Name: Heather Yeo, MD, MHS

Specialties: Complex Surgical Oncology, Colon and Rectal Surgery, General Surgery

Clinical & Research Interests: Colorectal cancer, sphincter preserving surgery, colorectal surgical outcomes and quality of life

More information: Dr. Yeo’s research and clinical work includes a unique focus on patient outcomes, with the goal of improving the surgical experience and quality of life. Dr. Yeo’s work has seen publication in many major journals, including the JAMA, JAMA Surgery, Annals of Surgery, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. She is particularly interested in the use of new technologies. She is an active voice on Twitter, tweeting about oncology, surgery and health policy at @heatherlynnyeo.