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Emory names new chief of cardiothoracic surgery

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Jennifer Johnson McEwen
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After an extensive national search, Emory University has named Michael E. Halkos, MD, MSc as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery

In his new role, Halkos will direct one of the largest cardiothoracic (CT) surgery programs in the country and the largest in Georgia. He will lead approximately 25 CT surgeons across eight Emory or Emory-affiliated hospitals which perform more than 4,000 CT operations annually.

Halkos joined the Department of Surgery in Emory University School of Medicine in 2009 after completing his CT Surgery Residency at Emory.  He has served as director of Emory's Cardiothoracic Center for Clinical Research and as the associate program director for the thoracic surgery residency program.

He is the principal investigator for multiple industry and NIH-sponsored trials and has authored over 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. Halkos is active in major cardiothoracic surgical societies and is a frequently invited national and international lecturer.

Halkos is a highly experienced and productive academic cardiac surgeon-scientist with expertise in minimally invasive cardiac surgery, particularly robotic-assisted coronary artery bypass surgery and robotic mitral valve surgery, hybrid coronary revascularization, and hybrid atrial fibrillation ablation.  He helms one of the largest and most successful robotic cardiac surgical programs in the world, working alongside robotic pioneer Douglas Murphy, MD. Halkos is an international leader and one of the busiest surgeons performing robotic-assisted coronary artery bypass and hybrid revascularization procedures.

"There have been only two other division chiefs in Emory's long and esteemed cardiothoracic surgical history. Dr. Halkos is an innovative surgeon who brings an impressive combination of clinical expertise, outstanding patient care and pioneering research to this important leadership position," says John Sweeney, MD, Joseph Brown Whitehead Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery.

"His collaborative style and ambitious vision will be key as he leads our program and maintains its prominent position as one of the best in the nation."

Emory's former chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Robert Guyton, MD,  who followed the esteemed Charles Ross Hatcher, Jr., MD, as the second chief of the division in 1990, will remain clinically and academically active within the Division and the School of Medicine.

During Guyton's tenure, Emory's CT surgery program achieved national recognition as one of the country's top programs in areas including off-pump coronary revascularization, congenital cardiac surgery, robotic mitral surgery, major aortic surgery, robotic-assisted coronary bypass and transcatheter valve therapies. He has been a national leader in CT surgery education, training more than 120 cardiothoracic surgery residents and mentoring Emory surgical faculty members. 

Halkos credits much of his clinical and academic success at Emory to strong mentorship, as well as close collaboration and multidisciplinary teamwork with his colleagues in cardiothoracic surgery and research, cardiology, anesthesiology and nursing.

His new position became effective on July 1, 2017.

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