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Program History

Leon Goldman  Benson Roe, MD - 144  Scot H. Merrick - 144x  Jasleen Kukreja - 144x

The Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery was founded seventy years ago by Leon Goldman, MD, at the time, the Chair of the Department of Surgery, and the father of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Dr. Goldman recruited the late Benson Roe, MD to join the faculty and establish the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Dr. Roe earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical school in 1943 and completed five years of surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In his return to San Francisco in 1951, he founded the cardiothoracic program at UCSF and was one of the pioneers for open-heart surgery.

Dr. Roe adopted the use of an experimental heart-lung machine to perform heart surgery on near-dead patients. Later, he  invented an artificial heart valve with his colleagues and also pioneered the use of induced hypothermia for cardiac surgery patients. In 1969, Dr. Roe performed the first heart transplant in San Francisco. At the age of 94, Dr. Roe passed away in 2012. 

His passion for medicine and commitment to cardiothoracic surgery is continued through the leadership of Scott Merrick MD, then Jasleen Kukreja, MD, MPH, and now Tom C. Nguyen, MD

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