Newswise — BEVERLY – May 14, 2019 – Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, became the 100thPresident of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS). He officially succeeded David H. Adams, MD, in a ceremony at the AATS 99thAnnual Meeting in Toronto.

Dr. Starnes is Distinguished Professor and H Russell Smith Foundation Chair, Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and the Co-Director of the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and did his general surgery training, as well as two years of research in cardiothoracic physiology and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Starnes completed two years at Stanford University as a resident in cardiovascular surgery, and one year as chief resident in cardiac transplantation. He accepted a fellowship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in London. When he returned to Stanford, he was appointed Director of Stanford’s heart-lung transplantation program. In 1990, Dr. Starnes performed the world’s first lobar transplant using a lung segment from a living donor. The following year, he performed a heart and lung transplant on a one-month-old infant — the youngest heart-lung transplant patient ever at that time. Starnes also performed the first living-donor, double-lobar lung transplant on a patient with cystic fibrosis. The operation involved taking lung tissue from each of the child’s parents and transplanting it into the patient.

He joined USC in July 1992 and was appointed Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1997. Dr. Starnes has an ongoing interest in congenital heart disease, heart, lung, heart-lung and living related lung transplantation, coronary bypass grafting, and repair and replacement of the valves of the heart. He is also involved in research, helping develop gene therapy techniques to address the problem of restenosis following balloon angioplasty.

As the founding Executive Director of the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, Dr. Starnes has built an innovative, interdisciplinary powerhouse, comprised of clinicians and basic scientists who are exploring better and more innovative ways of treating heart disease. Under his leadership, USC surgeons have conducted more than 50,000 adult and pediatric open heart surgeries to repair and replace valves, create coronary artery bypasses, and to repair complex adult and congenital heart defects.

Dr. Starnes has been an active member of the AATS, the oldest and most prestigious organization dedicated to cardiothoracic surgery, since 1992. He has served as Vice President, President-Elect, and Director, as well as Chair and member of the Membership Committee for the AATS.

Joining him in new positions on the Executive Committee are Marc R. Moon, MD, who is now President-Elect after serving as Vice President for the past year and Secretary for five years, Shaf Keshavjee, MD, was elected as the new AATS Vice President who served as Treasurer for five years, and Emile A. Bacha, MD, who becomes Treasurer following three years as Director. David R. Jones, MD, is reappointed to serve as Secretary. In addition, Y. Joseph Woo, MD, of Stanford University,  Todd Rosengart, MD of Baylor College of Medicine, and Leonard Girardi, MD of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College, are serving as Directors, and Ke-Neng Chen, MD of Beijing Cancer Hospital as International Director.

Dr. Moon most recently served as the AATS Vice President. He is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery, the Program Director for the Thoracic Surgery Residency Program, and the John M. Shoenberg Professor of Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he received his medical degree from Wayne State University. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, which included a one-year period of training in vascular surgery at Oxford University in England, and two years in the cardiovascular physiology laboratory at Stanford. He completed his cardiothoracic surgery training at Stanford in 1998.

Dr. Keshavjee is the James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery and Surgeon in Chief at University Health Network in Toronto. He is also Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program and Professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering as well as Vice Chair for Innovation in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.He completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 1985, and subsequently trained in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto followed by fellowship training at Harvard University and the University of London for airway surgery and heart-lung transplantation, respectively

Dr. Bacha is the Chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, as well as the director of congenital and pediatric cardiac surgery and a Roth Salzhauer Family Professor of Surgery at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He attended Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany for medical school, did a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Klinikum Grosshadern University Hospital and Emory University Affiliated Hospitals, and fellowship programs at Massachusetts General Hospital, Hospital Marie-Lannelongue in France and Children’s Hospital of Boston.


The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) is an international organization that encourages, promotes, and stimulates the scientific investigation of cardiothoracic surgery. Founded in 1917 by a respected group of the earliest pioneers in the field, its original mission was to “foster the evolution of an interest in surgery of the Thorax.” Today, the AATS is the premiere association for cardiothoracic surgeons in the world and works to continually enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality of patient care. Its more than 1500 members have a proven record of distinction within the specialty and have made significant contributions to the care and treatment of cardiothoracic disease. Visit to learn more. 


Register for reporter access to contact details