Internationally renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon coming to Cleveland

University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine announce today that internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Soon J. Park, MD, will join the two institutions October 14. Dr. Park will serve as the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at UH Case Medical Center, Co-director of the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute and the Jay L. Ankeney Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Professor of Surgery at CWRU School of Medicine. The Case Western Reserve appointments are pending final approval from the university’s Board of Trustees.


Dr. Park, known and respected worldwide as a gifted heart surgeon, researcher and passionate educator, has mentored more than 100 clinical and research fellows worldwide.  He has led many significant National Institutes of Health (NIH) and industry-funded clinical trials, including the landmark REMATCH trial with the HeartMate XVE, the HeartMate II detination therapy (DT) trial and the HeartWare DT trial.


Dr. Park’s clinical practice spans all aspects of adult cardiac surgery with the world-renowned expertise in treating patients with advanced heart failure.  His long-standing research interests include myocardial recovery, cardiac xenotransplantation (pig to primate), stem cell therapy, left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and other innovative surgical therapies. His recent pioneering work was in establishing LVAD therapy for patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy providing hopes for those suffering from advanced cardiac amyloidosis.


“We are extremely honored to welcome Soon to UH Case Medical Center and eagerly anticipate many great contributions he will make to our surgical programs,” said Jeffrey L. Ponsky, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at UH Case Medical Center and CWRU School of Medicine and Oliver H. Payne Professor at the School of Medicine. “His expertise and international reputation as a groundbreaker in cardiac surgery, research and academics will enhance our clinical practice, enrich our students and most importantly benefit our patients.”


Dr. Park previously served as Director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Ventricular Assist Device Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He also held the rank of professor at the Mayo School of Medicine and has served as advisor for many leading companies in the medical industry. He has served on the Board of Directors for the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and he is a current member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Journal of Cardiac Surgery and Clinical Transplantation. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.


“Not only will Soon’s arrival bring world-class care to patients seeking innovation and advanced heart care, but he also brings outstanding research skills to the School of Medicine,” said Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD.  “He is a superb teacher who is recognized by his medical students, residents and colleagues for his mentorship and contributions to medical science.”


As an experienced surgical leader, Dr. Park said he is eager to take on the new role where he will lead the development of new heart surgery programs and services.


“When I learned about the shared vision of the leaders at UH and CWRU for providing the highest quality of personalized patient care and clinical research and their ongoing strategic plans to expand those efforts through the increasing network of hospitals, I couldn’t help but be truly excited to join the team here at this world-class academic medical center,” said Dr. Park. “We do have an amazingly forward-thinking and dedicated team for our patients!  We are primed for growth and ready to take our patient-focused care to a level that is well beyond the norms of most cardiac programs at large hospitals.”


“Soon brings an innovative and new strategic vision to our heart program,” said Daniel I. Simon, MD, Division Chief and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UH Case Medical Center and CWRU School of Medicine and Director of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. “Foremost, he is a masterful surgeon and highly accomplished clinical and translational researcher.  From investigational circulatory assist devices to robotic surgery and heart and lung transplantation, he is poised to take our institute in many new directions.  By combining the resources of our expert interventional cardiologists with one of the world’s most forward-thinking heart surgeons, the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute is committed to truly advancing and changing the standard of care for our patients.” 


Dr. Park earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Chicago. He completed a General Surgery Residency at the University of Washington and Thoracic Surgery Residency at the University of Minnesota (UM). He served as the Surgical Director for Heart, Lung and Cardiac Assist Device Programs at UM ultimately leading to his appointment as St. Jude Medical Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Later, he served as Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center and Marin General Hospitals in California from 2003 – 2006 and in 2007 joined the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


He and his wife Seun, have four children.

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine is affiliated with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.

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Amanda Petrak