A new chair in surgical innovation aims to position Western University at the “forefront of surgical care, education and research.”
Dr. Bob Kiaii, associate professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Surgery and chair/chief of the division of cardiac surgery, has been appointed the first-ever inaugural Raymond and Margaret Elliott Chair in Surgical Innovation.
Kiaii is also the director of the Minimally Invasive Robotic Cardiac Surgery Program at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).
His appointment is effective July 1. The chair was founded in 2011 with a gift of $1.5 million from Raymond and Margaret Elliott that was matched by Western according to a press release.
In his new role, Kiaii will build teams in advancing technology changes in surgery; contribute to the advancement of simulation and simulation-based training at Western; participating in the establishment of the Biomedical Devices Institute in London; and foster relationships with the medical device industry.
Kiaii has built a reputation for surgical innovation most recently through extensive use of robotic technology to perform minimally invasive heart surgeries, including a number of world and North American firsts.
He has performed the largest series of simultaneous integrated coronary artery revascularizations in the world and was a founding member of Canadian Surgical Advanced Technology and Robotics (CSTAR).
“This opportunity will further enable us to develop and pioneer new innovative surgical procedures that will further enhance Western University as a leader in the field of innovation and as a centre of excellence for patient care,” Kiaii said in the press release.
Dr. Kiaii completed his MD at Western in 1992, his general surgery residency at the University of Calgary, and his cardiac surgery residency at Western. He was recruited to the Department of Surgery at Western and LHSC in 2003.
Kiaii’s other notable milestones include performing 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; and the world’s first robotic-assisted left atrial appendage ligation for atrial fibrillation.