October 27, 2006

Additions boost cardiology program

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Additions boost cardiology program

Vanderbilt University Medical Center continues to grow its cardiovascular services to become the preeminent provider of heart care in the region.

In an effort to meet the increasing needs of its patients the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute welcomes eight new cardiologists to the team.

The new physicians include Drs. John McPherson, Geoff Chidsey, Mark Robbins, David P. Hall, Joseph L. Fredi, Henry S. Jennings III, Allen Naftilan and Mark Wigger. All of these doctors were previously employed by groups at Saint Thomas Hospital.

“We are very pleased that they have chosen to bring their expertise to Vanderbilt,” said Martin Sandler, M.D. associate vice chancellor for Hospital Affairs.

“These are some of the nation's most outstanding and accomplished cardiologists. When you can bring physicians of this caliber together with the top flight clinicians and the world class researchers and technology innovators already here, the combination puts the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute on target to become one of the country's premier programs.”

The addition comes on the heels of the merger between Vanderbilt and Page-Campbell Cardiology Group at Saint Thomas in July. The two groups have enjoyed a longstanding partnership since 1999. After a unanimous vote, Page-Campbell officially joined forces with Vanderbilt over the summer to provide the most comprehensive services in the Midstate.

“We are thrilled that we have such high caliber colleagues joining the Institute,” said Tom DiSalvo, M.D., medical director of the Heart Institute. “They bring different skills, depth and seasoning and will greatly extend our clinical effectiveness in our local community.

“We feel like we have recruited among the most talented clinicians, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons in the city. These clinicians are widely-known and well-respected throughout Middle Tennessee.”

Already noted as one of the largest regional cardiac care networks in Tennessee, the addition of premier cardiologists and surgeons to the staff of Vanderbilt provides patients access to the most advanced therapies, the best in emerging technologies and the leading edge of clinical research.

DiSalvo credits Doug Vaughan, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and John Byrne, M.D., chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, with the recruitment of the new physicians.

Vaughan said: “The addition of these stellar clinicians positions us even more strongly to be the premier provider of cardiac services in our region and helps move us toward our ultimate ambition to bring the most advanced cardiac care to our patients and to become one of the nation's leading cardiovascular programs.”

Byrne agreed: “Vanderbilt is in the process of putting together a world class team that will set the pace for cardiovascular care in the 21st century.”

In 2005, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery and cardiology moved into one consolidated space in order to provide a comprehensive program for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Now home to the Heart Institute, it was the first step in moving toward the long awaited vision of a “virtual hospital” within a hospital.

The inpatient unit on the fifth floor of Vanderbilt University Hospital has a connecting walkway to the diagnostic services of the Heart Institute, which serves both inpatient and outpatient needs.

The second phase calls for additional patient beds to be included in the future construction of a bed tower, scheduled for 2008. It will be built above the Adult Emergency Department.

It is this kind of integrated practice model that administrators hope will propel the institution into a role as a national clinical center of excellence.

“As a teaching hospital, Vanderbilt has been fortunate to develop solid, long-term relationships with countless physicians in the region,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

“In the last five years, Vanderbilt has experienced unprecedented growth in our cardiology and cardiovascular services. It is only fitting that we welcome additional specialists as we move forward in creating an enterprise that provides a level of service that will be unparalleled.”

All the physicians will receive full faculty appointments and are expected to start by January 2007.