Cardiac surgeon named to new chair in Surgical Innovation

Dr. Bob Kiaii has been named the inaugural Raymond and Margaret Elliott Chair in Surgical Innovation, Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry announced this morning. He begins the position on July 1.

Currently, Kiaii is a professor in the Department of Surgery and chair/chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Schulich, as well as the director of the Minimally Invasive Robotic Cardiac Surgery Program at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

Founded in 2011, the endowed chair was established with a gift of $1.5 million from Raymond and Margaret Elliott, funds that were matched by Western. The chair positions the Department of Surgery at the forefront of surgical care, education and research.

As chair, Kiaii will build teams in advancing technology changes in surgery; contribute to the advancement of simulation and simulation-based training; participate in the establishment of the Biomedical Devices Institute in London; and foster relationships with the medical device industry.

“This opportunity will further enable us to develop and pioneer new innovative surgical procedures that will further enhance Western as a leader in the field of innovation and as a centre of excellence for patient care,” Kiaii said.

Kiaii completed his MD at Western in 1992, general surgery residency at the University of Calgary and cardiac surgery residency at Western. He was recruited to the Department of Surgery and LHSC in 2003.

“Dr. Kiaii is an internationally acclaimed clinician and researcher in minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and has frequently served as an expert in cardiac care for provincial governing bodies in Ontario,” said Dr. Michael Strong, Schulich dean. “He has a proven track record for surgical innovations, and we are very pleased that he will take on this new leadership role.”

Kiaii  performed the first North American simultaneous integrated coronary artery revascularization in 2004; the world’s first aortic valve bypass using the Correx apical conduit; the world’s first repair of a perforation of the right atrium using the da Vinci Robotic System in 2011; the first Canadian robotic-assisted multi-vessel coronary artery bypass; the world’s first robotic-assisted left atrial appendage ligation for atrial fibrillation;  and was the first to broadcast a real-time cardiac surgical procedure to surgeons in Colombia in 2011.

Kiaii has performed the largest series of simultaneous integrated coronary artery revascularizations in the world.  He was also a founding member of Canadian Surgical Advanced Technology and Robotics (CSTAR).

Western’s Matching Chair Program has a goal of creating 100 new endowed chairs by 2020. Seven chairs have been created under the program including: