NEW YORK, April 4, 2008 Robert E. Michler, M.D., the internationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon who first used minimally invasive and robotic surgery on heart patients, and who pioneered the safe use of human muscle cell injections to treat congestive heart failure, has been named Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and at Montefiore Medical Center, as well as Surgeon-in-Chief at Montefiore. The appointments were announced jointly by Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein, and Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO at Montefiore. Dr. Michler will continue to serve as the Samuel Belkin Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a position he has held since 2005.
In his role as Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Michler will oversee all administrative surgical activities in the Montefiore Health System. Dr. Michler's vision for the Department of Surgery includes the development of a Center for Surgical Clinical Trials and the recruitment of renowned and promising surgeons in the fields of surgical oncology, breast surgery and women's health, colorectal surgery, pancreas surgery, and minimally invasive surgery.
"Rob was the unanimous choice, particularly in light of the enormous respect he has garnered among his fellow surgeons and the leadership at Einstein and at Montefiore," said Dr. Spiegel. "We are confident that, in his dual role leading the departments of surgery as well as cardiothoracic surgery, his leadership and vision will further strengthen the clinical, research and teaching capabilities within the Department of Surgery that are integral to the medical school's mission."
"Rob Michler's extraordinary talents as a clinician, teacher and researcher make him the perfect choice to lead our surgical programs," said Montefiore President and CEO Steven M. Safyer, MD. "Montefiore and Einstein each have an outstanding national reputation and long-established tradition of surgical excellence. Rob's commitment to innovation, quality, and teamwork will establish a new standard of superior patient care among top-tier academic medical centers."
Dr. Michler, whose seminal work in robotics led to FDA approval of robotics for mitral valve repair and for coronary artery bypass surgery, is the principal investigator of a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health aimed at evaluating new techniques, technologies and devices designed to improve the scientific basis of care in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Michler is the Chairman of the Surgical Therapy Committee of the NIH sponsored Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) international trial. His clinical research centers on the surgical treatment of heart failure and his laboratory research program focuses on the use of stem cells for myocardial regeneration.
"It is with great enthusiasm that I accept these additional responsibilities," said Dr. Michler. "We are in a very exciting and challenging era for surgery. My goal is to build on Montefiore's surgical history by assembling an unparalleled team of specialists to provide patients with the complete spectrum of innovative cancer treatments and minimally invasive surgical options. The creation of new knowledge and the ability to share this with patients through clinical trials will be the cornerstone of our surgical program."
Dr. Michler has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 30 book chapters in cardiothoracic surgery. In addition, Dr. Michler is chairman and founder of Heart Care International, a not-for-profit foundation providing diagnostic heart care and surgery to indigent children in developing countries. To date, Heart Care International has seen and diagnosed more than 1,000 children with heart disease and performed heart surgery on mo