April 13, 2023

Three physicians appointed to VUH leadership roles

Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinics have named physicians Chetan Aher, MD, Arna Banerjee, MD, MMHC, and Gregory Polkowski, MD, MSc, to leadership roles designed to increase internal collaboration and to further improve patient outcomes.

Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinics have named physicians Chetan Aher, MD, Arna Banerjee, MD, MMHC, and Gregory Polkowski, MD, MSc, to leadership roles designed to increase internal collaboration and to further improve patient outcomes.

Chetan Aher, MD

“Each of these colleagues are consummate experts in their fields and committed to providing excellent patient care. They have each demonstrated a knack for driving and improving operations and have systems optimization orientations,” said Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Hospital and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. “They know how to turn challenges into opportunities and will help fuel the progress we are making in adult inpatient and ambulatory care.”

“These physician leaders all have a proven record of navigating through operational roadblocks in their local areas. Their new roles will allow them to have even greater impact and fortify the adult team’s operational structure. We have a stellar team who is shaping the future of health care delivery with each new day,” said Patty Wright, MD, chief of staff for Adult Ambulatory Services for Davidson County.

Arna Banerjee, MD, MMHC

Aher, assistant professor of Surgery and vice chair of Information Technologies for the Section of Surgical Services, has been named the associate chief of staff for Adult Ambulatory Services, Davidson County. In this role, which he started in October 2022, he collaborates with ambulatory nursing and operational leadership to create an ambulatory environment that provides high quality personalized care, with the latest and best knowledge within the medical community.

Effective July 1, Aher will transition to the role of associate chief medical officer for Adult Ambulatory Clinics, to better align with the changes to the physician leadership structure in the adult ambulatory enterprise which are occurring at that time. Aher reports to Patty Wright, MD, the chief of staff for Adult Ambulatory Services, Davidson County, and closely collaborates with the Patient Care Center executive medical directors.

Gregory Polkowski, MD, MSc

Aher joined VUMC in 2016 and quickly became a vital member of the minimally invasive surgery team, eventually serving as director of General Surgery. He enjoys partnering with patients and is continually interested in innovative systems and processes to deliver high quality, efficient patient care. He is an author on a recent study published by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons about the efficacy of telemedicine for first-time surgery consultations.

Aher is a graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago and completed the Rush University Medical Center/Cook County Hospital integrated surgical residency program. He completed his fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at VUMC.

Banerjee, professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Surgery, and Medical Education & Administration and senior director of the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment at VUMC, has been named executive medical director of the Critical Care Clinical Services Center at VUH, reporting to Sandberg.

In her new role, Banerjee will collaborate with nursing and operational leadership and constituent medical directors with critical care responsibilities. She is responsible for creating an environment of care in accordance with the Credo and Patient and Family Promise. Her goal is to provide the highest quality personalized care with the latest and best knowledge within the medical community for all patients admitted to adult ICUs.

Banerjee is a nationally recognized educator and education researcher with specific expertise in high-fidelity simulation-based training and clinical performance assessment. From 2005 to 2010, she built and became the inaugural medical director of the Surgical ICU at Tennessee Valley Healthcare Systems (Veterans Affairs Hospital) There, she created a staffing model that included intensivists and rotating resident trainees from the VUMC Departments of Surgery and Anesthesia.

Banerjee completed her medical education in India. She completed her residency in Anesthesiology in 2002 and fellowship in critical care medicine in 2003 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She also earned her Master of Management in Health Care degree from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

Polkowski, has been named associate chief of staff for Perioperative Services. In this role, he will work with perioperative leadership to support operations and surgical functions, reporting to Roger Dmochowski, MD, surgical executive medical director of Perioperative Services.

Polkowski is a highly regarded joint replacement surgeon and an associate professor and vice chair in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, serving as adult reconstruction fellowship director, department vice chair, and executive medical director for the Orthopaedic Patient Care Center. Most recently, Polkowski was a member of the leadership team that developed a new clinical pathway for total joint replacement, an approach known to improve patient outcomes. A longtime proponent of virtual therapy options for patients, he led the way to offer virtual physical therapy to patients recovering from surgery during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polkowski is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Vanderbilt University, followed by a fellowship in adult reconstruction at Washington University in St. Louis. During his initial years practicing at the University of Connecticut Health Center, he also completed a Master of Science in clinical and translational research.