Long-time UF surgeon becomes chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery

Thomas Beaver, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the division of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at UF HealthThomas Beaver, M.D., M.P.H., has been named the new chief of the division of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at UF Health, within the UF College of Medicine’s department of surgery.

Beaver, who has worked at UF Health since 2000, is a professor of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, holds an endowed chair position in the department of surgery and has a joint appointment in the department of anesthesiology’s division of cardiovascular anesthesia. Before becoming chief, he served as interim chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery.

“We have an outstanding team — we always have — and now we’re looking forward to great things in the future,” Beaver said.

UF Health’s plan to build a new hospital wing to house heart and vascular care, along with neuromedicine, is a highlight for the division, he said. UF Health officials say they aim to open the new tower in 2018.

Beaver also emphasized his team’s focus on replacing aortic valves through a procedure that uses a catheter guided through a small incision toward the heart, rather than open-heart surgery. As of August, UF Health was one of the busiest institutions in the Southeast for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, according to the manufacturer of the catheter and valve used in the operation.

“We plan to stay on the cutting edge with new technologies,” Beaver said. “We’ve had an explosion in our transcatheter valve program. We’ve now done over 125 of these procedures in just over a year. We see expansion of that technology to the mitral valve and other platforms as well, in the future.”

He said he wants to hire two new faculty members for the division in the next few years to serve in the lung transplant program and to expand the program for patients with thoracic tumors. UF thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons collaborate with UF gastroesophageal surgeons to treat patients with these tumors.

Beaver earned his medical degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completed his general surgery residency at the University of Colorado, and completed his fellowship in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and a master of public health degree at the University of Florida. He is board-certified in general surgery and thoracic surgery. Beaver was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve medical corps from 1992 to 2005 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004. He and his wife, Michelle, have two children.

His clinical and research interests include outcomes following thoracic aortic surgery and the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, as well as renal-protection strategies during cardiac surgery. He is the lead investigator on a trial evaluating a new minimally invasive surgical technique for patients with stroke and atrial fibrillation, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“Thomas Beaver is an outstanding academic surgeon with stellar credentials in clinical care, research and education,” said Kevin Behrns, M.D., a professor and chair of the UF department of surgery. “His knowledge of the rich tradition of the division and department will provide a springboard for further successes. We are particularly excited about his innovative approaches to care and his success as an 4NIH-funded researcher. We look forward to growing clinically and academically under his leadership.”

For media inquiries call Laura Mize at 352-316-7056 or email lmize@ufl.edu