STS 2022: Closer ties between surgeons and cardiologists among goals for incoming president

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John H Calhoon

Cardiothoracic surgeon John H Calhoon from The University of Texas Health Science Center (UT Health, San Antonio, USA) was elected president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) during the organisation’s virtual 58th annual meeting (29–30 January).

Calhoon has identified improving the relationship between cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists, while better aligning the two specialties on the treatment of cardiovascular disease, as being among the priorities for his time as STS president.

“To be elected by one’s peers is about a flattering an honour as one can receive,” said Calhoon. “This is an exceptional opportunity to work with the STS surgeons and team leaders to make decisions and take strategic action to hopefully improve the Society and our specialty.”

Calhoon earned his medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, USA), before completing residencies in general surgery and thoracic surgery at UT Health. He then served as the chief resident in paediatric cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston, USA) under Aldo R Castañeda, John E Mayer Jr, and Richard A Jonas. Afterward, he returned to UT Health at San Antonio, where he has been practicing since. Calhoon currently is the founding chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UT Health at San Antonio, as well as professor and head of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Long School of Medicine.

With interests and expertise in complex adult and congenital cardiac surgery, heart and lung transplantation, and improving patient care and education for surgeons, Calhoon has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He also has participated in hundreds of presentations on these topics.

As STS President, Calhoon said he is committed to furthering some of the goals of his predecessors such as working to improve the world-renowned STS National Database and the relationship between cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists, while better aligning the two specialties on the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Also, important is addressing Medicare reimbursement challenges and advancing other advocacy priorities intended to promote the specialty and its patients.

“We should all do our best at getting better—whether it is health, knowledge, professionalism, or skills—we will pay attention to it. No doubt, a few sand traps will be thrown into our fairways of life again this year, so we will work together to get through, over, and around them,” said Calhoon.

Also elected during the annual meeting were Thomas E MacGillivray (Houston, USA), as first vice president, and Jennifer C Romano (Ann Arbor, USA), as second vice president.

Distinguished Service Award

Alongside Calhoon’s appointment, Joseph A Dearani (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA) and Joseph Bavaria (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) were presented with STS’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of their service to cardiothoracic surgery.

Dearani has served on numerous Society leadership bodies; including most recently as STS president. Dearani also chaired the STS’s workforce on congenital heart surgery and the workforce on surgical treatment of adults with congenital heart disease.

“Dr Dearani’s contributions to advancing cardiothoracic issues are too numerous to list, with perhaps none more significant than those made during his tenure as STS President from 2020 to 2021,” said Sean Grondin (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada), the outgoing president.

Bavaria—an STS member since 1996—currently is The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) president, and has also has served on numerous STS leadership bodies; most recently he was president.

With interests and expertise in aortic disease, aortic dissections, as well as aortic valve repair and valve-sparing procedures, Bavaria has authored or co-authored more than 540 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters.

“Dr Bavaria has a long and distinguished career of serving STS and as an outstanding academic surgeon,” said Grondin. “As STS President, he brought an innovative and energetic leadership style that helped the Society make significant advancements in many areas such as collaborations with other international organisations.”

Earlier on Sunday, Grondin—who assumed the presidency from Dearani in 2021—delivered his presidential address in which he discussed “professional fit” and the importance facets of assessing career fulfilment. He also highlighted the dangers of burnout among cardiothoracic surgery professionals.


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