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Kaneko Installed as Shoenberg Chair in Cardiovascular Disease

At a ceremony held on February 13, 2023, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, was formally installed as the John M. Shoenberg Chair in Cardiovascular Disease. Kaneko, a world renowned cardiac surgeon and expert in transcatheter and minimally invasive valvular surgery, was recently welcomed to the Department of Surgery and named Chief of Cardiac Surgery in 2022.

The John M. Shoenberg Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Disease was established in 1974 to honor the memory of John Shoenberg and to uphold the Shoenberg family’s long standing tradition of philanthropy. The Shoenberg Foundation was crucial in the early success of the former Jewish Hospital, and John Shoenberg himself served as president of the board of Jewish Hospital from 1958-1963. Today, the generosity of the Shoenberg family and the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital continue to provide vital support to the health care community. Their altruism makes the quality education, groundbreaking research and exceptional patient care provided by Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital possible.

As the new Shoenberg Chair, Kaneko joins a prestigious line of exceptional cardiac surgeons who previously held the title, including Nicholas Kouchoukos, MD, and current Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Ralph Damiano Jr., MD. “This position requires a unique individual,” said Damiano, who is the Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery. “It requires someone who has confidence without arrogance. It requires someone who is goal driven but not goal obsessed. We need someone who is very ambitious, but ambitiously outward looking, not inward looking. I can’t think of anyone better suited for that tremendous challenge than Dr. Kaneko.”

Kaneko earned his medical degree from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan in 2002. He began his training in general surgery and cardiac surgery at Keio University, later studying general surgery at New York Medical College and later University of Texas at Huston, and completed training in cardiothoracic surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in 2013. Kaneko also completed a transcatheter fellowship at the Bringham and an aortic surgery fellowship at Duke University Hospital in 2014.

His career is one filled with groundbreaking innovations and contributions to the field of cardiothoracic medicine, including the establishment of the first transaxillary ascending aortic stent drafting program in New England and one of the first enhanced recovery-after-surgery programs for cardiac surgery at the Brigham. He is responsible for numerous clinical innovations such as the conception of novel approaches to the endovascular treatment of aortic and valvular heart disease and the development of new devices which decrease the chance of stroke during transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). He additionally invests in the future of cardiothoracic medicine through his dedication to training the next generation of great surgeons, and is the recipient of multiple teaching awards. As a researcher, Kaneko seeks the improvement of clinical outcomes for surgical and transcatheter valvular and aortic disease, having served as director of Clinical Outcomes Research in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the Brigham and Harvard Medical School prior to his appointment at Washington University.

Read More: Kaneko Named Chief of Cardiac Surgery

Following an introduction by Barnes-Jewish Hospital President John Lynch, MD, three of Kaneko’s former colleagues and mentors from around the country offered congratulations and support of Kaneko in his new appointment in a brief video. John Potts III, MD, who recruited Kaneko to the residency program at University of Texas, offered kind words and congratulations to Kaneko in his statement: “Dr. Kaneko is a gentleman, scholar, a remarkably talented surgeon, and as you all surely know, he’s just a nice guy. Washington University could not have recruited a better person for this job.”

Further remarks by Washington University School of Medicine Dean David H. Perlmutter, MD, Department of Surgery Chair John Olson, MD, and Damiano, expressed hopes for a bright future with Kaneko’s continued success in his new position at Washington University.

“Over the next decade, we predict many new technologies that build upon the research that Dr. Kaneko has worked on,” Perlmutter said. “We are confident that Dr. Kaneko will help put Washington University and BJC at the very forefront of that revolution.”

Kaneko then took to the podium himself and delivered his first presentation as the newly installed Shoenberg Chair, entitled “The Past and Future of the Heart Team.” As a revolutionary researcher and clinician, Kaneko has high hopes for the integration of heart and valve teams into high-quality cardiac care practices nationwide. His presentation touched on his interests in history and philosophy and applied these concepts to the idea of multidisciplinary approaches to provide the best possible care for patients. He detailed the history of heart and valve teams, spoke to the necessity of teamwork and collaboration required to fully support the care of cardiac patients and detailed strategies to make such coherent teamwork possible. Through proper cross training, structures built around trust, shared goals, and a dedication to innovation and patient care, Kaneko believes multidisciplinary heart and valve teams have massive potential as essential components in cardiac surgery in the future of the field.

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Kaneko’s vision for this new chapter at Washington University hinges on the principles of teamwork, innovation and collaboration. In this new position, he hopes to create an innovative culture, foster diversity and equity, create experts in the field and further invest in education that will strengthen the world-class cardiac surgery program in the School of Medicine.

“Dr. Kaneko’s is truly a pioneer. He has proved himself as a world leader in cardiothoracic surgery through his clinical skills, his commitment to patient outcomes and his dedication to the education of future surgeons, all of which resonate with our mission at Washington University.” Olson said. “He and his trainees will be the future of cardiac surgery.”