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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Doctor Named President of Surgical Association

April 4, 2012

HOUSTON – Members of the Association of VA Surgeons recently elected David H. Berger, M.D., M.H.C.M. to serve as the organization’s new president. Listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of surgical oncology, Berger is the Operative Care Line executive at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

“Following Dr. DeBakey’s life-long pursuit of excellence and commitment to surgical advances in order to make a worldwide impact on health care and improving lives, Dr. Berger is carrying on that tradition today at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.A., M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E., MEDVAMC director. “We are very fortunate to have that level of passion and expertise in advancing medical care for our nation’s heroes.”

The Association of VA Surgeons, a non-profit, non-political, educational organization, was established in 1967 to improve patient care, medical education, and research in surgery in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“For more than 12 years, Dr. Berger has worked hard to establish the best surgical program within the VA system and consistently maintain the lowest average observed mortality to expected mortality ratio”, said J. Kalavar, M.D., MEDVAMC chief of staff. “We are extremely lucky to have such an accomplished and highly esteemed surgical expert on our team.”

Berger received his medical degree from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn where he also completed his residency in general surgery. Berger also completed a three year fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. A professor and vice chair of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Berger is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed and invited publications and the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching.

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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 50 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates the largest VA residency program in the nation with 270 residents. 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. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit