December 13, 1996

Drinkwater named to lead Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

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Dr. Davis Drinkwater Jr.

Drinkwater named to lead Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

Dr. Davis C. Drinkwater Jr., professor of Surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine and director of the UCLA Cardiac Transplantation Program, has been named William S. Stoney Jr. professor and chair of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Drinkwater will replace Dr. Harvey W. Bender, who recently stepped down as chair after 25 years of leadership. Drinkwater will come on board in March of 1997.

"Dr. Drinkwater is recognized for his leadership in one of the largest heart transplantation programs in the country. He has much to offer Vanderbilt University Medical Center and we look forward to his arrival," said Dr. James A. O'Neill Jr., John Clinton Foshee Distinguished professor of Surgery and director of the division of Surgical Sciences.

"He's a seasoned, mature surgeon with broad national and international recognition who will bring several new techniques to our environment," O'Neill said. "He's known as a popular and effective educator and as a productive individual whose research has been extremely well funded for years."

Drinkwater, a Boston native, is a 1969 graduate of Harvard University and a 1976 graduate of the University of Vermont Medical School. In between, he earned a graduate degree in physiology from Harvard.

He served both his surgical and cardiothoracic and vascular surgery residencies at McGill University in Montreal and a subsequent fellowship in thoracic surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children in London in 1983. He was a cardiothoracic fellow at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston in 1984.

While at UCLA, Drinkwater has served as director of the UCLA Pediatric Cardiac Transplantation Program, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Wadsworth's Veterans Administration Hospital, and associate medical director of the UCLA Perfusion and Assist Device Service.

"I'm very much looking forward to coming to Vanderbilt. It will be a very pleasant place to work," Drinkwater said. "It will be an intellectual challenge and a challenge in every other way."

Drinkwater, who has been at UCLA for the past 12 years, has very broad and extensive clinical experience in both congenital and adult heart surgery and transplantation. One of his primary areas of clinical interest is the surgical treatment of end-stage cardiac failure.

Drinkwater lends expertise to Vanderbilt in the areas of methods of long-term myocardial preservation in heart transplantation; protection of the endothelium; and improving microvascular perfusion. He also will bring to VUMC his research concerning the genetic manipulation of the implanted heart.

He also brings minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery to VUMC, a relatively new technique that can be used on only a small number of patients who require less complicated heart surgery.

"I will be carrying on the fine tradition of cardiac organ transplantation which has already been set at Vanderbilt, and hopefully adding to it in many ways," Drinkwater said.