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From Fellow to Faculty: Jacob Miller, MD

Photo of Dr. Miller at St. Louis Children's Hospital with text overlay that reads "From Fellow to Faculty: Jacob Miller, MD"

Jacob Miller, MD, joined the Section of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery within the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2021 as an instructor of surgery.

Miller performs operations consisting of everything from atrial septal defects to the palliation of single ventricle anomalies and transplantation. Miller sees patients at the St. Louis Children’s and Washington University Heart Center, an international leader in caring for children with complex heart conditions. The Heart Center is nationally recognized as a top heart program by U.S. News & World Report.

“Dr. Miller is an incredibly talented, hard-working surgeon,” says Section Chief Pirooz Eghtesady, MD, PhD, who is cardiothoracic surgeon-in-chief and Emerson Chair in Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “The addition of Dr. Miller to our faculty highlights the continued growth of a historic, leading program in congenital cardiac surgical care.”

The Heart Center was the first pediatric center in the Midwest to perform over 500 heart transplants. In 2021, Eghtestady, Miller and Dilip Nath, MD, demonstrated the multidisciplinary expertise of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Heart Center by partnering with abdominal transplant specialists to perform multiple successful pediatric heart-liver transplant procedures.

“I enjoy pediatric heart surgery due to the heterogeneity of the patients and the defects,” Miller says. “Doing completely different operations from one day to the next is something that really appeals to me. All that, and at the same time you get to work to improve the life for kids. There is really nothing better.”

World-class Training

Before joining the faculty, Miller spent more than a decade training at Washington University. Miller came to the School of Medicine as a surgical intern after earning his medical degree. As a medical student, Miller already knew that pediatric cardiothoracic surgery was his passion. He completed the Washington University General Surgery Residency program, then stayed at the medical school for further specialized training in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship program.

“I have known since medical school that I was going to pursue a career in pediatric cardiac surgery,” says Miller. “I was lucky enough to find a great mentor. Dr. Eghtesady is incredibly intelligent, professional and respectful, as well as being a great teacher. You cannot help but learn from him.”

The same year Miller completed his cardiothoracic fellowship training, the Section of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery introduced a new fellowship in congenital cardiac surgery. Led by Eghtesady, the Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship was one of the first programs of its kind. To date, just 11 programs in the country offer fellowship training in this complex, highly specialized field of surgery. The two-year fellowship is designed to trains surgeons in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with congenital heart conditions. Miller was the program’s inaugural fellow.

“Congenital cardiothoracic training at Washington University provides a breadth and depth of experience available at very few institutions,” says Miller. “Our program is a national leader in pediatric heart and lung transplantation, surgical management of children with pulmonary hypertension and the use of ventricular assist devices in the management of pediatric patients with heart failure. Training here has prepared me to diagnose and treat the full spectrum of congenital cardiothoracic conditions, from the most common to the most complex.”