February 2, 2023

Pickens named chair of VUMC Thoracic Surgery

Allan Pickens, MD, has been named professor and chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Thoracic Surgery.

Allan Pickens, MD
Allan Pickens, MD

by Matt Batcheldor

Allan Pickens, MD, has been named professor and chair of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Thoracic Surgery.

Pickens, a nationally renowned thoracic surgeon, comes to VUMC from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where he was director of Thoracic Oncology, program director for Cardiothoracic Surgery, medical director of Perioperative Services for Emory University Hospital Midtown and member of the Winship Cancer Institute.

Pickens’ initial research focused on the molecular biology of cancer, and he isolated and studied the Fas apoptosis receptor in adenocarcinoma. His research now focuses on thoracic malignancies and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.

His clinical specialties include thoracoscopic and robotic thoracic surgery for minimally invasive removal of early-stage lung cancers and esophageal cancers. He has taught these procedures on local, national and international stages.

“Minimally invasive thoracic operations allow safe removal of thoracic tumors with less pain and faster recovery,” Pickens said.

Pickens received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Alabama before completing his surgical residency at University of Alabama Hospitals. He later completed a thoracic surgery residency at University of Michigan Hospitals, a minimally invasive thoracic surgery fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and a general thoracic surgery fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Pickens’ distinguished career includes roles as a procurement surgeon for the Alabama Organ Center, thoracic surgery workforce director for the University of Michigan and director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery for Emory.

He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. His memberships include the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, General Thoracic Surgery Club, American College of Chest Physicians, Thoracic Surgery Directors Association and the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons.

“Dr. Pickens is a national leader in the surgical care of patients with thoracic disease,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor, chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.

“We are so very fortunate to have recruited him to Vanderbilt and look forward to his expanding our ability to care for these complex patients.”