Ralph J. Damiano Jr., MD, chief of cardiac surgery and the John M. Shoenberg Professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, was elected president of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery for 2010-11.
The society was established in 1997 to enhance, promote and support research and education related to the field of minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery. Damiano, a pioneer in the field, received a Computer World Smithsonian Award in 1997 for his developmental work on robotically assisted microsurgery for coronary artery bypass grafting. He also performed the first robotically assisted coronary artery bypass procedure in North American in 1998. His laboratory has been instrumental in developing less invasive approaches to the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation and introduced a new procedure in 2002 that has significantly decreased illness related to the surgery while maintaining a high cure rate.
Damiano is editor of Innovations, the official publication of the society. He is president of the Society of Clinical Surgery and past president of the Cardiac Surgery Biology Club. He also was recently appointed as a permanent member on the Bioengineering, Technology and Surgical Sciences study section at the National Institutes of Health. In 2008, he was named a physician “Healthcare Hero” by the St. Louis Business Journal.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.