Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, chair and Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been elected president of the USC Care Medical Group. He will serve as president until June 30, 2019, according to a memo from Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC.

“As surgeon-in-chief of Keck Medical Center since 2008, Dr. Starnes has contributed greatly to the growth and success of Keck Medicine,” Jackiewicz said. “He has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the health system’s vitality. We are grateful for his leadership to date and look forward to his ongoing contributions in this strategic role for the health system.”

Starnes, who also is the H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair and executive director of the CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, is a recognized expert in heart and lung transplants and the repair of congenital heart defects and heart surgery in children and newborns. He pioneered the living-related double-lobar lung transplant in 1993 and currently serves as president-elect of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

The USC Care president serves an important role in the health system as the leader of the physician practice and is critical to promoting the physician community’s clinical mission, teaching and research objectives, Jackiewicz wrote. “The president joins the health system leadership to help shape ongoing strategic and operational initiatives, bringing forward the interests of our high-caliber physician practice,” he said.

Starnes earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his training in pharmacology and surgery at Vanderbilt University; cardiovascular surgery and cardiac transplantation at Stanford University; and pediatric cardiac surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.