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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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"Best Doc" Named New Head of Surgery at Houston VA

June 20, 2012


Listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of critical care medicine, Samir S. Awad, M.D. examines Veteran Jimmy Ray Yancey during a recent appointment.
Photo: Communications Office.

HOUSTON – Samir S. Awad, M.D. has been selected as the new Operative Care Line executive of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC).

"With his strong leadership skills and personal drive, Sam has a proven track record of ensuring VA health care is more attentive to Veterans and their families; more performance-based and quality-driven; and better supported by medical education and research," said Medical Center Chief of Staff J. Kalavar, M.D. “He is an extremely skilled surgeon, teacher, and mentor.”

Listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of surgical critical care medicine, Awad, who is also an associate professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2000. He has served as the the Operative Care Line associate executive, chief of general surgery, and medical director of Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the MEDVAMC. He has worked on various South Central VA Health Care Network (VISN 16) initiatives and serves on the VA National Surgical Critical Care Advisory Board.

VA recently ranked the MEDVAMC as the most complex of its 141 medical facilities in terms of patient population, clinical services complexity, intensive care unit and operative complexity, and education and research. The MEDVAMC has been recognized for demonstrating consistently low observed-to-expected mortality rates in general surgery, all surgery, and all non-cardiac surgery during the last decade. 

Awad is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. He attended medical school at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and completed his residency and fellowship at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Awad's areas of specialty include liver, pancreas, and acute care surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgical procedures. He is a member of the Association for Academic Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the Surgical Infection Society, and the Society for Critical Care Medicine. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed and invited publications, and is the recipient of numerous awards for surgical and research achievements.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 Veterans in southeast Texas and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center*, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 60 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine* and operates one of the largest VA residency programs in the nation. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011.
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