The physicians and surgeons of the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute (CVTI) at Keck Medicine of USC pride themselves on offering the most advanced clinical care for patients with common and complex cardiovascular disorders. The case studies highlighted in this publication are the work of a multidisciplinary team of interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, specialized cardiac radiologists and cardiac anesthesiologists.
In this first issue of the CVTI KeckZine, you will learn about our pioneering efforts in total endovascular repair of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, the use of detailed electroanatomic mapping to aid a complex ablation procedure, and our leading-edge surgical treatments for adults with congenital heart disease.
Our mission is to offer each patient with a cardiovascular disorder an individualized treatment plan using the most appropriate and least-invasive approach possible.
Our cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists are leading experts in their field. We continue to refine our procedures as new technologies are introduced and as our knowledge and capabilities grow.
I hope you will find this publication to be informative and highlight the growth and expertise of the programs that we provide at Keck Medicine of USC. Thank you for your interest in our care, and we look forward to working with you.
By Lex Davis
Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, Distinguished Professor and Chair, H. Russell Smith Foundation and Chair of the Department of Surgery, has appointed Craig J. Baker, MD, Professor of Surgery, to the position of Chief of Cardiac Surgery as of July 1 of this year.
“Dr. Baker is going to navigate the hospital into the next era of health care and usher in technological innovation to keep up with our rapidly changing field,” said Dr. Starnes. “I have absolute confidence that he’s going to do a great job.”
Dr. Starnes also cited the deep respect Dr. Baker has earned from cardiac surgeons across the country. “The leader of any outstanding division needs to have a national presence. Dr. Baker has that.” Dr. Baker’s wide recognition was a factor in his appointment to chief in another way: “I can’t let this talent get poached,” Dr. Starnes laughed.
Dr. Baker started at the Keck School of Medicine as a surgical intern in 1995, but his association with Dr. Starnes and Julie Starnes, Administrative Director of the CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, began when he still was in medical school at Georgetown University. “I heard that Dr. Starnes was the best cardiac surgeon to study with, so I called USC,” recalled Dr. Baker. “Julie answered… She must have thought I was so impertinent! But the rest is history.” Dr. Baker ended up developing a close personal and professional relationship with the Starneses that has lasted for more than 20 years.
“Dr. Starnes has been an inspiration to me,” said Dr. Baker, He’s been a mentor for my entire professional career. He’s much more than a colleague and a role model—he’s a true friend.”
Dr. Baker noted that he has been able to reach this position with the unwavering support of his parents, Allen and Carole Baker, and his wife, Regina Baker, MD, a plastic surgeon with Keck Medicine. “My parents provided me with the opportunity to pursue my dreams and always encouraged me to do so. And I’m truly blessed to have such a supportive wife,” he said. “Nothing would be possible without her.”
Dr. Baker has a bold vision for the Cardiac Surgery division: “My priority is to continue to grow the exceptional cardiac surgery program Dr. Starnes has built and cement Keck’s reputation as the preeminent cardiac surgery program in the Western United States. I intend to make us early adopters of the new technology that will revolutionize our field over the next decade, and I will continue to build relationships with strong affiliate partners. I have amazing faculty partners and I’m thrilled to be able to work with them as we move into the future.”