April 27, 2017
Today our featured department is the Department of Surgery, led by Dr. Richard Andrassy. Dr. Andrassy is the longest serving chair of surgery in the entire United States. He’s been chair since 1994 – quite an accomplishment! Dr. Andrassy is also the executive vice dean for clinical affairs; the Denton A. Cooley Chair of Surgery; the Jack H. Mayfield, M.D. Distinguished University Chair; and the Dr. Thomas D. Cronin Chair of Plastic Surgery. Let’s just say he does an incredible amount for our school and university.
Below are some questions we posed to Dr. Andrassy:
How is the department organized?
The department is made up of seven divisions: Elective General Surgery – chief, Erik Wilson, M.D.; Acute Care Surgery – chief, Lillian Kao, M.D., with subdivisions, Emergency General Surgery – chief, Saleem Khan, M.D.; Burn Surgery – chief, James Cross, M.D.; Critical Care – chief, Laura Moore, M.D.; Trauma – chief, Michelle McNutt, M.D.; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – chief, Richard Andrassy, M.D. (interim); Immunology & Organ Transplant – chief, Steve Bynon, M.D.; Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery – chief, Mark Wong, DDS; LBJ Hospital – chief, Tien Ko, M.D.; Urology – chief, Steven Canfield, M.D.
In addition, the department has a number of vice chairs: Dr. Wilson is vice chair of surgery; Dr. Joe Love is vice chair for education; Dr. Ko is vice chair for the Harris County Hospital District; Dr. Wilson is vice chair for clinical affairs; Dr. Kao and Dr. Emily Robinson are vice chairs for quality; and Dr. Kao is vice chair for research and academic development.
How large is the department and how has surgery grown over the years?
We have had tremendous growth, especially in the last four years, more than doubling in size. Today we have 76 faculty, 167 staff, 81 residents, and 16 fellows.
In FY 16 there were a total of over 76,000 clinical visits and more than 68,000 billed surgical procedures. We are very proud to have the largest Level 1 Trauma Center in the United States, with over 7,200 trauma admissions this past year and the lowest risk-adjusted mortality in the nation.
Tell us about your residency and fellowship programs.
We accept residents into our general surgery program and for plastic and reconstructive surgery, urology, and a research year(s). The general surgery residency program received more than 1,300 applicants for 8 positions, making it a highly competitive program. Our residents have the opportunity to rotate at multiple sites, including LBJ, Memorial Hermann, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Memorial Hermann TIRR, Texas Children’s, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
We have 21 fellows in several programs: surgical critical care, acute care surgery, trauma, minimally invasive surgery, clinical obesity medicine and metabolism, and colorectal surgery. We have an NIH funded T32 program in trauma, with opportunities to work with the Center for Translational Injury Research.
Where do you care for patients?
We work all over town – and our list of clinical sites keeps growing! Our inpatient sites are primarily Memorial Hermann hospitals – from MH-Texas Medical Center to MH TIRR to Katy to Southeast. Our clinic locations include many of the UT Physicians locations and the Memorial Hermann Transplant Clinic. We also have very busy inpatient and outpatient surgical services at LBJ.
What about research?
Our department is involved in research, especially patient-centered research that helps us improve patient quality and safety for surgical outcomes. Despite complexities around federal research funding, we have several funded investigators, including Drs. Steve Bynon, Steve Canfield, Bryan Cotton, John Harvin, John Holcomb, Lillian Kao, Joe Love, Laura Moore, Shinil Shah, Charles Wade, Peter Walker, Erik Wilson, and Curtis Wray.
I’d like to highlight one of our young investigators, Dr. John Harvin, who has a KL2 grant from the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at UTHealth. He is continuing the work that has been done within the Division of Acute Care Surgery over the past 7 years, looking at emergency intervention in injured patients – injury is the leading cause of death in young people. This is a comparative effectiveness study, looking at single versus staged emergency laparotomy for a subset of severely injured trauma patients. Despite the widespread use of staged emergency laparotomy, this is the first such randomized clinical trial to assess its effectiveness, requiring innovative research techniques. Eighty percent of patients who undergo emergent laparotomy arrive at night or on the weekends and, as you can imagine, randomizing patients at 1 a.m. can be difficult. Dr. Harvin and his team are able to perform the studies in emergency interventions by having research assistants available in the emergency department 24/7.
Thank you, Dr. Andrassy and your team, for a wonderful department.