Friday, May 13, 2011

Introducing Keith D. Lillemoe, MD

Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Chair of the Department of Surgery

Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Chair of the Department of Surgery

Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, the MGH's new surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Department of Surgery, spent 27 years at Johns Hopkins and most recently led the Department of Surgery at Indiana University Hospital. He provides some information about himself, as well as his views on the MGH Department of Surgery and the field of surgery in general.

What led you to become a doctor and specialize in pancreatic surgery?

The outstanding physicians in the small community in South Dakota where I grew up were a great influence on my career decision. My choice to specialize in pancreatic surgery reflects my exposure as a junior faculty member to this exciting field during a time of rapid advancement. My mentor at Johns Hopkins, Dr. John Cameron, like Dr. Warshaw, was a tremendous role model in nurturing my interest and helping me develop experience in and passion for pancreatic surgery. It is very exciting to follow in Dr. Warshaw's footsteps.

What attracted you to the MGH?

The MGH is well recognized as being one of the greatest institutions of its kind. It is a true honor for me to come to such a magnificent place. The Department of Surgery, specifically, "has it all"and is clearly one of the top programs in the country. It has a rich history and tradition, and as home to some of the leading minds in clinical care and research, it is positioned to make an impact on surgery for years to come. 

What are some of the challenges facing the department, and what are your hopes in addressing them?

Medicine and surgery are changing dramatically. Issues such as work hour restrictions, limitations in federal funding of research, decreased reimbursement and a change in the paradigm from quantity to quality are challenges that are either present now or in the immediate future. My hope is that the innovative minds within the department and collaboration with the leadership of the MGH and Partners will allow us to make the appropriate changes to face these challenges and even lead the way for others moving forward.

This year, the MGH celebrates its bicentennial. What do you recognize as some of the most significant ways surgery has changed over time?

The progress in surgery over the 200-year history of the MGH has been tremendous. The development of general anesthesia, surgical antisepsis and improved surgical technique are examples from the past, while organ transplantation and minimally invasive surgery reflect more recent strides. Fortunately, the MGH is well positioned to continue to make advances -- such as eliminating some of the risks of transplantation by developing tolerance, tissue engineering, further advancing minimal access surgery, and defining quality and value associated with surgical procedures. I am delighted to be a part of this progress.


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