Appointments pump up SBU cardiovascular team

Surgical strike: Stony Brook Medicine's new collaboration with the Mount Sinai Health System has put two top cardiovascular surgeons on SBU's team.

The Stony Brook University School of Medicine has added some heavy cardiovascular muscle.

Joanna Chikwe, a professor at the Mount Sinai Health System’s Icahn School of Medicine, has been appointed chief of Stony Brook Medicine’s Department of Cardiovascular Surgery. Also bridging the two institutions is Henry Tannous, an assistant professor of cardiovascular surgery at the Icahn School now named an associate professor of surgery on SBU’s cardiothoracic surgical squad.

Joanna Chikwe: All heart.

Joanna Chikwe: All heart.

Chikwe, who teaches cardiovascular surgery at Mount Sinai’s medical school, chairs the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mount Sinai West (formerly Roosevelt Hospital) and at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, both in New York City. She joins Javed Butler, Stony Brook Medicine’s chief of cardiology, as co-director of the Stony Brook Heart Institute.

An Oxford University-trained physician, Chikwe completed her general surgery residency at Oxford and Cambridge universities, followed by master’s degree-level research into cardiac transplantation at Cambridge. After a cardiothoracic surgery residency – focused on minimally invasive procedures – at the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals in London, she completed an advanced fellowship on mitral valve repair and aortic reconstruction at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

She is an award-winning author of six clinical textbooks, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Tannous, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital, heads the Mount Sinai Health System’s Pump-Assisted Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Expansion programs, while chairing the system’s Resident Council.

He received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in 2000 and completed his residency at WHHC-Yale School of Medicine, with subsequent fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery at George Washington University and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Henry Tannous: Strong lungs.

Henry Tannous: Strong lungs.

Tannous, a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, has also served as chief of thoracic surgery at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers – which is independent of both the Mount Sinai and Stony Brook systems – since 2013.

The appointments, announced this month by SBU School of Medicine Dean Kenneth Kaushansky, are effective Sept. 1. Kaushansky, who doubles as Stony Brook Medicine’s senior vice president for health sciences, said the new additions would play key roles in “helping to create and then incorporate the most innovative cardiac surgical techniques.”

“As we continue to expand our patient-centered, compassionate approach to clinical care, and accelerate our trajectory as the first choice of consumers for cardiac services across Suffolk County, Long Island and beyond, Drs. Chikwe and Tannous will strengthen our incredible Stony Brook Heart Institute,” the dean said in a statement.

The new arrivals join an SBU cardiothoracic surgical team that already includes surgeons Thomas Bilfinger, Allison McLarty and Vinay Tak. Together, the unit now offers adult-surgical expertise including coronary revascularization, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, atrial fibrillation surgery and lung cancer screening and surgery, one of Tannous’ specific focus areas.

In addition to her main focus on mitral valve construction and minimally invasive cardiac procedures, Chikwe will lead new research into the origins, prevention and potential treatment of valvular heart disease.

“The Stony Brook Heart Institute is poised to understand the origins of heart disease and translate that knowledge from the bench to bedside better than any other healthcare organization on Long Island,” Kaushansky noted. “We are so excited by all the possibilities.”

The appointments punctuate the new research collaboration announced earlier this month by Stony Brook Medicine and the Mount Sinai Health System. In announcing the partnership, Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley Jr. and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Dean Dennis Charney highlighted the superior research potential of the combined institutions and promised the immediate development of new biomedical, pharmaceutical and computer science research efforts, among new programming in numerous fields.