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    Two of New York's Top Heart Surgeons Assume Leadership Role as Co-Directors of Stony Brook University Heart Institute

    New leaders will also oversee Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

    STONY BROOK, NY, Sept. 5, 2012 James R. Taylor Jr., MD, FACS, and Harold A. Fernandez, MD, have joined Stony Brook Medicine as Professors of Surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Co-Directors of Stony Brook University Heart Institute effective Sept. 4. Dr. Taylor will also serve as Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Dr. Fernandez will serve as Deputy Chief of the Division.

    Citing their excellent outcomes and high patient satisfaction rates, Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, said, “The addition of Drs. Taylor and Fernandez as Co-Directors will continue Stony Brook Medicine’s development into one of the finest Heart Institutes in the country.”

    Dr. Taylor is one of the highest-volume cardiac surgeons in New York State, and one of the safest, as indicated by risk-adjusted mortality statistics published by the New York State Department of Health Cardiac Surgical database. His cardiac surgical experience includes coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, thoracic aortic disease, and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

    “The Stony Brook Heart Institute is committed to delivery of advanced cardiac surgical techniques and high-quality patient care,” Dr. Taylor said. “Our goal is to construct cardiac surgical procedures designed to address the unique clinical problems of individuals and thereby provide the best possible outcome for each patient.”

    Dr. Fernandez has trained at some of the finest medical institutions in the world, including Princeton University, Harvard Medical School and MIT. “My scientific and clinical training over many years has given me the opportunity to make my childhood dream of helping others a reality,” he said. “Despite the state-of-the art surgical skills that I can offer my patients, I still feel that my most important quality is my desire to provide personal and compassionate care to all my patients and their families. 

    As Long Island’s only university-based cardiovascular program, Stony Brook University Heart Institute is the region’s leading referral center for clinically complex cardiac care. It offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including Suffolk County’s only university-based open-heart surgery program and 24/7 interventional services.

    The staff includes 50 full-time and community-based, board-certified cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, as well as 350 specially trained anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, operating room technicians, perfusionists and other support staff. While the Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and blood vessels through basic biomedical studies and clinical research.

    “Stony Brook Heart Institute has a collegial atmosphere where physicians from the various disciplines within cardiovascular medicine and surgery collaborate with each other, as well as interact with leaders in basic science and basic research to provide a true multidisciplinary approach to care for our patients,” said Dr. Fernandez.

    “I’m very impressed with the new energy that has been created at Stony Brook,” said Dr. Taylor. “It’s clear that Stony Brook is raising its profile as both an academic and clinical institution within the region. Stony Brook has the potential to be a premier cardiac surgical program, and I want to be part of that.”

    Dr. Taylor most recently served as Vice Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, followed by residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he served as chief resident. He completed a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the same institution and joined St. Francis in 1991. He is board certified in cardiothoracic surgery.

    Dr. Fernandez came to the United States at age 13 as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia and within 10 years received his Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology from Princeton University. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, followed by a residency in general surgery and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at New York University Medical Center. Board certified in cardiothoracic surgery, he was Director of the Division of Heart Failure Surgery at St. Francis Hospital.

    For the past four years, Drs. Taylor and Fernandez have been recognized by Castle Connolly as New York Metro Area’s Top Doctors. In addition, the State of New York Department of Health has recognized Dr. Taylor for his outstanding surgical results, measured as risk-adjusted mortality rates for valve, bypass, and valve/bypass surgery combined, and Dr. Fernandez for his outstanding surgical results, measured as risk-adjusted mortality rates for bypass surgery.

    Both Drs. Taylor and Fernandez will continue their clinical practices at Stony Brook Heart Institute. Their clinical expertise includes surgery for all forms of adult heart disease, including minimally invasive surgery, valve repair surgery, aneurysm surgery and thoracic surgery, and minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

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    About Stony Brook University Heart Institute:

    Stony Brook University Heart Institute is located within Stony Brook University Hospital as part of Long Island's premier university-based medical center. The Heart Institute offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The staff includes 50 full-time and community-based, board-certified cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, as well as 350 specially trained anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, operating room technicians, perfusionists, and other support staff. Their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. And while the Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and blood vessels through basic biomedical studies and clinical research. To learn more, visit www.heart.stonybrookmedicine.edu.