Dr. Craig R. Smith Named Chair of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

Leading Cardiac Surgeon Helped to Establish the Medical Center's Pre-eminent Heart Transplant Program

Jan 28, 2010


One of the nation's leading cardiac surgeons, Dr. Craig R. Smith has been appointed chairman of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and its Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center. Dr. Smith, the Calvin F. Barber Professor of Surgery, has served as interim chair of the department since 2007.

With a roster of nearly 100 full-time faculty members with specialties ranging from basic science research to the most advanced robotic surgical procedures, 89 fellows and residents, and more than 330 staff members, the Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia draws on a tradition of more than 225 years of distinction in patient care, research and education.

"Having come up through the ranks here beginning with his cardiothoracic surgery residency, Dr. Smith represents the best that Columbia and our partner hospital NewYork-Presbyterian can offer — excellence in training leaders in medicine who provide superb patient care and education, while driving innovation that will keep departments like this among the most active and successful in the nation," says Dr. Lee Goldman, executive vice president and dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. "Throughout the many leadership roles he has held in the Department of Surgery — now culminating with the chairmanship — he has fostered a culture of research and educational excellence, with unprecedented clinical collaborations, notably between cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology, which have paid major dividends in patient care. It is my distinct pleasure to congratulate him on his new appointment."

"An outstanding surgeon and leader, Dr. Smith played a key role in establishing our heart transplant program as the largest of its kind — and one of the most successful — in the United States, and embracing the latest advances in valve repair and valve-sparing aortic procedures. He helped bring about the successful opening of our new Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, making it a beacon for the best available cardiac care," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "Today he is focused on advancing the overall practice of surgery, increasing the available life-saving treatment options like multi-organ transplantation and minimally invasive techniques that speed recovery."

An authority in cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, Dr. Smith developed a surgical approach that allows neurosurgeons to treat otherwise inoperable intracerebral aneurysms by inducing deep hypothermia with circulatory arrest. His research interests include mitral valve repair, long-term heart transplantation outcomes, preoperative risk factors for stroke after bypass surgery, and adaptation in heart transplantation. He is co-principal investigator for the multicenter PARTNER aortic transcatheter valve trial, focused on the treatment of patients who are at high risk or not suitable for open-heart valve replacement surgery.

"I look forward to continuing to work with — and being inspired by — the many talented faculty and staff in the Department of Surgery as we strive to provide patients with the very best care and train future leaders in surgery," says Dr. Smith. "I am honored to be appointed chair of this eminent department."

Dr. Smith came to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia as a fellow in cardiothoracic surgery in 1982, and in 1984 was appointed associate director of the medical center's heart transplant program. He was appointed chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and chief of the Section of Cardiac Surgery in 1996. He became a full professor of surgery in 1998, and was named the Calvin F. Barber Professor in 2001.

After receiving his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Dr. Smith completed an internship and residency in general surgery at the University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital, where he went on to complete a fellowship in vascular surgery.

In 2004, Dr. Smith received the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia "Practitioner of the Year" award and was inducted into the American Surgical Association, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organizations. He is a member of several professional societies, including the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Surgeons. The author of more than 170 scientific publications, Dr. Smith has a strong history of fellowship and grant support. Currently vice president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, he has been named president of that organization, a post he will assume in May 2011.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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Bryan Dotson 212-305-5587