Message from the Chairman

Chair, Department of SurgeryThe Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has earned a reputation for being the place where people with the most serious and complex health conditions come for their care. Some choose Columbia initially based on our exceptional outcomes in specialties such as heart transplantation or pancreatic surgery. Still others come – often from across the nation and from abroad – after reaching the limits of care at other centers, only to discover that Columbia offers wider options. This is the center where doctors from the region choose to seek care for themselves and their loved ones when it matters most.

The reasons are many, but here are just a few. 

First, our divisions are directed by national leaders in their fields – physicians and researchers who pioneer life-saving therapies such as living donor liver transplantation, ECMO for respiratory failure, and incisionless surgeries for GERD and weight loss. Our services are comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, and exemplary in their quality of care and outcomes;

  • Our exceptional Transplant Initiative is driving progress in both clinical and research aspects of transplantation;
  • Our pediatric heart surgery program, treating children with the most complex heart conditions, has the highest volume of pediatric heart transplants in the nation;
  • Specialized services such as Acute Care Surgery, providing 24/7 dedicated surgical expertise, set our center apart. 

Second, our clinical programs are backed by a breadth and depth of research that is possible only at comprehensive, high-volume, academic medical centers such as NewYork-Presbyterian. Collaboration with medical and scientific experts at NewYork-Presbyterian and globally, as well as with the biotech industry, produce advances every year that directly improve our patients’ lives:  

Thirdly, in addition to being among the best-educated and talented surgeons in the nation, our doctors work tirelessly and compassionately to improve our patients’ experience and quality of care. In the Division of Breast Surgery, for instance, patients can now enhance their care with complementary and alternative healing modalities such as Reiki that promote healing, reduce stress, and improve recovery. We now offer same-day and next-day appointments in many of our divisions, and we offer a Second Opinion consultation service to patients who want a Columbia expert to confirm a diagnosis or discuss recommended treatment options. Moreover, in order to help our patients more easily navigate appointments with multiple specialists in an efficient, coordinated manner, we have established numerous multidisciplinary clinics where patients can receive testing, diagnosis, and a plan of care in a single visit. Examples include the Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Program and the recently established Thyroid Biopsy Clinic.

We understand that a serious health issue presents many challenges, and we are here to help in every way. I trust you will find your experience here exceeds your expectations.

Craig R. Smith, MD