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SMH Appoints Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery

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Dec/07/2012

Cardiothoracic Surgeon Jeffrey Sell, MDSarasota Memorial Health Care System is pleased to announce the appointment of cardiothoracic surgeon Jeffrey Sell, MD, as its new Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery. He will relocate to Sarasota from Maryland in February and assume the leadership position in March.

Through its affiliation with Sarasota Memorial, the Columbia University Medical School HeartSource team helped handpick Dr. Sell from hundreds of applicants across the world. That group was reviewed and over the past six months narrowed down to six strong candidates. Dr. Sell was one of Columbia’s top two recommendations. 

“Dr. Sell is very much a Renaissance man in the area of cardiac surgery – definitely top of the line,” said Paul Kurlansky, MD, Director of Research, Recruitment and CQI at Columbia HeartSource. “He has demonstrated expertise and experience – not just exposure – in every aspect of cardiac surgery, and that is extremely rare.”

Dr. Sell’s breadth of experience encompasses the entire spectrum of cardiac surgery – from leadership positions in academic settings to building a collaborative, multidisciplinary practice that provided a full range of non-surgical, minimally invasive and open surgical treatments, including pediatric and transplant surgery. He has more than three decades of experience in cardiac surgery, research and analysis, and advancing new minimally-invasive procedures. 

As chief of cardiovascular surgery, he will lead an already established, strong team of cardiologists and cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeons at Sarasota Memorial as it positions itself to embrace the latest innovations in heart therapies.

Dr. Sell’s experience and skills will be integral to the heart team as Sarasota Memorial prepares to unveil its new “hybrid” operating room later this month. Hybrid operating rooms allow surgeons, cardiologists and other specialists to collaborate and perform combined open, minimally invasive, image guided and/or catheter-based procedures in the same operative setting – which in turn allows patients to undergo less invasive procedures for even the most complex conditions. 

“Sarasota Memorial is in a great position with all of the skills and technology it needs to enter this new innovative era in cardiac medicine,” Dr. Sell said. “The hybrid room is an important springboard for collaboration in new surgical approaches and platform for training the next generation of cardiac surgeons. 

“I look forward to joining Sarasota Memorial’s highly experienced expert team. Together, we will strive to bring the most effective heart therapies to the people of Sarasota and surrounding communities.”

In addition to leadership experience, Dr. Sell performs a full range of cardiovascular and thoracic treatments and procedures, including: coronary artery bypass (on and off pump), percutaneous valve replacement and mitral valve repair, ventricular assist device implants, thoracic aortic aneurism repair and surgery for arrhythmias, among others. 

One of his unique specialties is treating adults with congenital heart conditions. In addition to treating adult patients, Dr. Sell is an experienced pediatric and transplant surgeon. He spent years repairing complex heart defects in children and performing adult and pediatric heart transplants – that reconstructive experience in children provides a unique perspective to help him treat patients who have grown into adulthood with congenital heart conditions.

His research focus includes determining which patients are most likely to benefit from new approaches in heart surgery and evaluating the safety and efficacy of medications and devices designed to protect heart patients from surgical complications.

“We are truly fortunate to have gained such an outstanding and experienced surgeon to lead our organization,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “We look forward to working with Dr. Sell to enhance the excellent services we currently provide and position our team for the innovations and growth opportunities that lie just around the corner.”

Dr. Sell’s graduate studies and medical training took place at the world’s top universities – Harvard, MIT and Yale. He earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and physics (summa cum laude) in 1976 from Yale University and his medical degree in 1980 from the Harvard-MIT Joint Program in Health, Science and Technology (cum laude). The joint Harvard-MIT program is a unique collaboration that adds a strong scientific and technical component to Harvard’s already superior medical training.

Dr. Sell completed a general and cardiac surgery internship and residencies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Boston, where he served as chief resident; along the way, he spent two years as a clinical associate in research at the National Institutes of Health and another year in a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiac surgery at Children’s Hospital of Boston.

After completing his medical training, he served as Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at the University of Maryland Hospital for a year, before moving to the Washington metropolitan area and spending the next 10 years as attending cardiac surgeon at several of the region’s best medical centers: Washington Hospital Center; Alexandria Hospital; Washington VA Hospital; and George Washington University Hospital, where he also was a clinical associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at the university. He also served as a consulting cardiac surgeon for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and as director of the Heart Transplant Program at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center.

In 2000, Dr. Sell helped build a multi-disciplinary private practice, and with his cardiologist partners offered a full range of surgical, non-surgical and minimally invasive cardiac treatments in the Baltimore/Washington area. Approximately 10 years later, they sold the practice to MedStar Health and Dr. Sell assumed the position of director of cardiac surgical services for his group, a subsidiary of the non-profit, community-based healthcare organization serving that metropolitan region.

Facts at a Glance

  • Sarasota Memorial’s Heart & Vascular Program
  • Approximately 27,071 heart surgeries to date since inception in May 1983 when Dr. Tom Kelly and Dr. Tom Snyder performed first open surgery together. 
  • 1989 – Dr. Peter Graper performed first implantable defibrillator
  • 1995 – Dr. Joesph Schiro performed first off pump heart procedure
  • 1996 – Dr. Harold Tabaie and Dr. Peter Graper performed the hospital’s (and one of the nation’s) first robotic heart surgeries.
  • 2012 – Dr. Ricardo Yaryura and Dr. David Schreibman performed the hospital’s first TAVR device

Click here to see the news story from ABC 7.

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