Profile image of Cary B. Aarons, MD

Cary B. Aarons, MD

Vice Chair of Education, Department of Surgery
Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program
Interim Chief, Division of Colorectal Surgery


Anorectal Disorder
Colon Cancer
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Rectal Cancer


Cary B. Aarons is a Professor of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and interim chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. He then completed his general surgery training at Boston University Medical Center followed by his colorectal surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He has an interest in the management of the full spectrum of benign and malignant colorectal diseases including anorectal conditions, pelvic floor disorders, diverticulitis, colon and rectal cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease using minimally invasive and open surgical procedures.

Dr. Aarons is currently the Program Director for the General Surgery Residency Program and the Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Surgery. He has been involved in medical education in various capacities, both regionally and nationally, and received a master's degree in Medical Education from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.


2022 Department of Surgery Teaching Award of Distinction (UME)

2022 Department of Surgery Cary B. Aarons Advocacy Award

2019 Keynote Speaker Penn Med Student Clinician's Ceremony, Gold Humanism Honor Society

2018 Penn Medicine Minority Hall of Fame Inductee

2002 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society

2002 LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D. Surgical Award

2001 Patrick E. Gorman Scholarship

2000-2001 Howard University College of Medicine Trustee Scholarship

2000 Mitchell-Kiernan Surgical Fellowship Award, Howard University College of Medicine

1996 Scientific American College Scholarship

1995 Hundred Year Association College Scholarship

1994-1998 Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Science College Scholarship


Fatunmbi, A., Wang, S., Woelfel, I., Aarons CB, Balanoff, C, Protyniak B, Joshi, A, Henry, R, Hoffman, RL. Goal orientation motivation theory in surgical trainees: a multi-institutional validation study of the GO-ST scale. Global Surg Educ 1, 33 (2022).

Peck, C. J., Roberts, S. E., Ly, C. L., Hsia, H. C., Aarons, C. B., Guerra, C. E., & Butler, P. D. (2022). Embracing Allyship in Academic Surgery: How All Surgeons Can Become Effective Champions for Change. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 235(2), 371–374.

Acker, R., Swendiman, R. A., Luks, V. L., Hanna, A. N., Lee, M. K., Williams, N. N., Kelz, R. R., Lynn, J., & Aarons, C. B. (2022). Pulling Back from the Brink: A Multi-Pronged Approach to Address General Surgery Resident Clinical Work Hour Adherence. Journal of surgical education, S1931-7204(22)00119-2. Advance online publication.

Tidwell, J, Yudien, M, Rutledge, H, LaFemina, J, Terhune KP, Aarons, CB. Reshaping Residency Recruitment:Achieving Alignment Between Applicants and Programs in Surgery. J Surg Educ. 2022 Feb 2:S1931-7204(22)00004-6

Terhune KP, Aarons CB. Invited Commentary: Parental Leave-Are We Implementing Perspectives Rather than Policies? JAMA Surg. 2021 Dec 1.

Cassling, K., Aarons, C. B., & Terhune, K. (2022). Four Lessons to Take From Athena-Without Disguising Oneself as the Mortal, Mentor. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 14(2), 158–161.

Lily Owei, BA, Valerie Luks, MD, MS, Kendall Brooks, MD, Rachel R. Kelz, MD, MSCE, MBA, Jeffrey S. Berns, MD, Cary B. Aarons, MD, MSEd. Smart-Phone Based Geofencing: A Novel Approach to Monitoring Clinical Work Hours in Surgery Residency. Journal of Surgical Education, 78(6), e210–e217.

Park, K. M., Rashidian, N., Mohamedaly, S., Brasel, K. J., Conroy, P., Glencer, A. C., He, J., Passeri, M. J., Katariya, N. N., Alseidi, A., & TrainHPB research group (2021). Unifying the  Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery Fellowship Curriculum via Delphi Consensus. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, S1072-7515(21)00420-8. Advance online publication.

Landau, S. I., Syvyk, S., Wirtalla, C., Aarons, C. B., Butts, S., Holmboe, E., & Kelz, R. R. (2021). Trainee Sex and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Milestone Assessments During General Surgery Residency. JAMA surgery, 156(10), 925–931.

Llado-Farrulla M, Fosnot J, Couto J, Chang B, Broach RB, Rios-Diaz A, Fowler JA, Aarons CB, Serletti JM, Butler PD., In Search of Workforce Diversity? A Program's Successful Approach. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2021 May 1;147(5):1229-1233

Fieber, J, Aarons CB, Sanfey H, Kelz, RR., The Flipped Operating Room: Establishing Best Practices in Surgical Education Using Resident-Initiated, Inquiry-Based Preoperative Briefing. J Surg Educ. 2021

Han JJ, Soegaard Ballester JM, Aarons CB., Finding alignment between numbers and values in medical education. Med Educ. 2021

Tong J, Brooks ES, Mavroudis CL, Wirtalla C, Aarons CB, Saur NM, Mahmoud NN, Karakousis GC, Kelz RR. The impact of the affordable care act on surgeon selection amongst colorectal surgery patients. Am J Surg. 2021

Brooks ES, Tong J, Mavroudis CW, Wirtalla C, Karakousis GC, Saur NM, Aarons CB, Mahmoud NN, Kelz RR. The effects of the Affordable Care Act on access and outcomes of colon surgery. Am J Surg. 2021

Mavroudis CL, Wirtalla C, Tong J, Brooks ES, Aarons CB, Kelz RR. Clarifying the Role of the Modern General Surgeon: The Effect of Specialization on Inpatient Practice Patterns in General Surgery. J Surg Educ. 2021

Shellito AD, de Virgilio C, Kaji AH, Harrington DW, Robertson JM, Zern NK, Spain DA, Dickinson KJ, Smink DS, Cho NL, Donahue T, Aarons CB, Namm JP, Amersi F, Tanner TN, Frey ES, Jarman BT, Smith BR, Gauvin JM, Brasel KJ, Salcedo ES, Murayama K, Poola VP, Mpinga E, Inaba K, Calhoun KE. A Multi-Institutional Study Assessing General Surgery Faculty Teaching Evaluations. Am J Surg. 2020

Mavroudis CL, Tong J, Wirtalla C, Brooks ES, Morris JB, Aarons CB, Kelz RR. (Re)thinking the Residential in Residency: Modern Surgical Practice Continues to Move Away from the Inpatient Setting. J Surg Educ. 2020

Aggarwal A, Rosen CB, Nehemiah A, Maina I, Kelz RR, Aarons CB, Roberts SE. Is There Color or Gender Behind the Mask and Sterile Blue? Examining Gender and Racial Demographics within Academic Surgery. Ann Surg. 2020 Sep 18.

Nehemiah, A., Roberts, S. E., Song, Y., Kelz, R. R., Butler, P. D., Morris, J. B., & Aarons, C. B. (2021). Looking Beyond the Numbers: Increasing Diversity and Inclusion Through Holistic Review in General Surgery Recruitment. Journal of surgical education, 78(3), 763–769.

Roberts SE, Nehemiah A, Butler PD, Terhune K, Aarons CB. Mentoring Residents Underrepresented in Medicine: Strategies to Ensure Success. J Surg Educ. 2020 Aug 21

Shellito AD, de Virgilio C, Lee G, Aarons CB, Namm JP, Smink DS, Tanner T, Brasel KJ, Poola VP, Calhoun KE; Surgery Educators Workgroup. Investigating Association Between Sex and Faculty Teaching Evaluation in General Surgery Residency Programs: A Multi-Institutional Study. J Am Coll Surg. 2020 Sep;231(3):309-315

Terhune KP, Choi J, Green JM, Hildreth AN, Lipman JM, Aarons CB, Heyduk DA, Misra S, Anand RJ, Fise TF, Thorne CB, Edwards GC, Joshi ART, Clark CE, Nfonsam VN, Chahine A, Smink DS, Jarman BT, Harrington DT. Ad astra per aspera (Through Hardships to the Stars): Lessons Learned from the First National Virtual APDS Meeting, J Surg Educ. 2020.

Song Y, Swendiman RA, Shannon AB, Torres-Landa S, Khan FN, Williams NN, Dumon KR, Brooks AD, DeMatteo RP, Aarons CB. Can We Coach Resilience? An Evaluation of Professional Resilience Coaching as a Well-Being Initiative for Surgical Interns. J Surg Educ. 2020 May 20:S1931-7204(20)30129-X

Richard Birkett, Elias Chamely, Seth Concors, Joshua Bleier, Aarons CB, Skandan Shanmugan, Nicole Saur, Emily Carter Paulson. Overuse and limited benefit of chemotherapy for stage II colon cancer in young patients. Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2019 Dec;18(4):292-300

Butler PD, Aarons CB, Ahn J, Wein AJ, Ruckenstein MJ, Lett LA, DeMatteo RP, Serletti JM. Leading From the Front: An Approach to Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Surgical Training Programs. Ann Surg. 2019 Jan 18.

Montgomery SR Jr, Butler PD, Wirtalla CJ, Collier KT, Hoffman RL, Aarons CB, Damrauer SM, Kelz RR. Racial disparities in surgical outcomes of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Am J Surg. 2018 Jun;215(6):1046-1050

Hoffman RL, Bryant B, Allen SR, Lee MK, Aarons CB, Kelz RR: Using community outreach to explore health-related beliefs and improve surgeon-patient engagement. J Surg Res. 2016 Dec;206(2):411-417

Ecker BL, Paulson EC, Datta J, Jeganathan AN, Aarons C, Kelz RR, Mahmoud NN. Lymph node identification following neoadjuvant therapy in rectal cancer: A stage-stratified analysis using the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) - Medicare database J Surg Oncol. 2015 Sep;112(4):415-20

Bewtra M, Newcomb CW, Wu Q, Chen L, Xie F, Roy JA, Aarons CB, Osterman MT, Forde KA, Curtis JR, Lewis JD. Mortality Associated With Medical Therapy Versus Elective Colectomy in Ulcerative Colitis: A Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Aug 18;163(4):262-70

Riff BP, Aarons CB, Metz DC. Vascular Injury Following Pyloric Dilation: Unusual Cause of Ischemic Colitis. ACG Case Rep J. 2014 Jul 8;1(4):178-80

Prushik SG, Stucchi AF, Matteotti R, Aarons CB, Reed KL, Gower AC, Becker JM. Open adhesiolysis is more effective in reducing adhesion reformation than laparoscopic adhesiolysis in an experimental model. British Journal of Surgery 97(3):420-427, Mar. 2010.

Heydrick SJ, Reed KL, Cohen PA, Aarons CB, Gower AC, Stucchi AF, Becker JM. Intraperitoneal administration of methylene blue attenuates oxidative stress, increases peritoneal fibrinolysis, and inhibits intraabdominal adhesion formation. Journal of Surgical Research 143(2):311-319, Dec. 2007.

Aarons CB, Bajenova O, Andrews C, Heydrick S, Bushell KN, Reed KL, Thomas P, Becker JM, Stucchi AF. Carcinoembryonic antigen-stimulated THP-1 macrophages activate endothelial cells and increase cell-cell adhesion of colorectal cancer cells. Clinical Experimental Metastasis 24(3):201-209, 2007.

Prushik SG, Aarons CB, Matteotti R, Reed KL, Gower AC, Leeman SE, Stucchi AF, Becker JM. A neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist decreases adhesion reformation after laparoscopic lysis of adhesions in a rat model of adhesion formation. Surgical Endoscopy 21(10):1790-1795, Oct. 2007.

Tyler KM, Aarons CB, Sentovich SM. Successful sphincter-sparing surgery for all anal fistulas. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum 50(10):1535-1539, Oct. 2007.

Reed KL, Heydrick SJ, Aarons CB, Prushik S, Gower AC, Stucchi AF, Becker JM. A neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist that reduces intra-abdominal adhesion formation decreases oxidative stress in the peritoneum. American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 293(3):G544-551, Sept. 2007.

Cohen PA, Aarons CB, Gower AC, Stucchi AF, Leeman SE, Becker JM, Reed KL. The effective-ness of a single intraperitoneal infusion of a neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist in reducing postoperative adhesion formation is time
dependent. Surgery 141(3):368-375, Mar. 2007.

Aarons CB, Cohen PA, Gower A, Reed KL, Leeman SE, Stucchi AF, Becker JM. Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) decrease postoperative adhesions by increasing peritoneal fibrinolytic activity. Annals of Surgery 245(2):176-184, Feb. 2007.

Stucchi AF, Aarons CB, Becker JM. Surgical approaches to cancer in patients with IBD. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America 35(3):641-673, Sept. 2006.