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Chief’s Message: Peter Smith to transition from Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery After 25 years of Service and Leadership

Allan Kirk, chair of the Department of Surgery has announced that Peter Smith, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery has requested that Kirk begin a process to recruit his successor as division chief. In the announcement, Kirk said, “In keeping with his remarkable stewardship of the division for the past 25 years, this approach has been carefully considered and determined to be in the best interests of the institution, the faculty, and the Thoracic Residency.”

Peter said,  “I have asked Dr. Kirk to begin a process to identify my successor as your Division Chief. Although this has been a difficult decision, I believe this to be in the best interest of the Division and its faculty, and will provide new opportunities for my personal growth. This process is the logical continuation of the delegation of leadership that I have promoted for several years. By proceeding now, from a position of strength, we should be able to have a smooth transition that all of our cardiothoracic surgeons and the institution well deserve.”

Peter has served as the Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery since 1993-1994.  During his time, Peter has carried forward and enhanced the legacy of Duke CT surgery – a legacy has clearly seen the Division as an international leader in training the world’s best surgeons, surgeons that are engaged in excellence in clinical care, research aimed at improving human health, and perhaps most important from the my viewpoint – a legacy of team based care in which cardiology and anesthesia has partnered with CT Surgery in patient care.

Kirk further stated that he will begin this process with careful consideration, as it is expected that this will be one of the most sought-after positions in academic Thoracic Surgery, and there will be many strong candidates. Smith currently holds one of the most important positions in the Health System, therefore we must seek the highest quality individual possible. Identifying and recruiting the best candidate and ensuring a smooth transition will take as much time as is necessary, but certainly will occur no sooner than July, 2020.

We will find a time to recognize the numerous and substantial contributions to cardiovascular medicine and surgery that Peter Smith has made.  In the interim, please recognize and thank Peter for his leadership when you see him.

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