SAN ANTONIO (January 29, 2024) - Jennifer C. Romano, MD, MS, a congenital heart surgeon at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and the Herbert Sloan Collegiate Professor of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School, was elected president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons today at STS 2024 during the Society’s Business Meeting. The selection makes Dr. Romano the first woman to hold that office in the organization’s 60-year history. 

Dr. Romano sees her new role as a catalyst for increased modernization and diversity across the organization and the CT surgery field. To her, it’s more than being a “first,” it’s part of a bigger movement for increased growth and inclusion. 

“I'm honored and excited to be selected by the Board as the new president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons,” said Dr. Romano. “I’m ready to lead our members into this next chapter and increase our impact on the specialty and patient care.”

As STS President, Dr. Romano understands how important it is to follow through on STS’s long-standing work in research, innovation, education, and inclusion. She recognizes the challenges CT surgeons face in this ever-changing healthcare landscape and is passionate about continually raising the bar to deliver STS member surgeons the ideas, insights, mentorship, and resources they need to advance at every stage of their careers. 

“STS is the voice of our profession and our patients,” added Dr. Romano. “So how can we become better advocates for each other and the patients we serve? We must be more dynamic and flexible and find ways to improve work-life balance. Because when people are happy in all areas of life – career, family, and personal hobbies ─ they are better surgeons and better leaders.”

No doubt Dr. Romano is a powerhouse for progress, which was instilled in her early on in her career. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Romano looked for residency programs that were inclusive of women and The University of Michigan was one of them. 

“When I started interviewing with surgery programs, many had never trained a woman in surgery. But Michigan had a strong tradition of female surgical trainees,” Romano said. 

During her intern year at Michigan, there were six chief residents, four of them women. During her intern year, she had a female chief resident for 10 of the 12 months. The female chiefs were known as the best by both attendings and trainees. “It wasn’t like I had to pave the way at Michigan,” Romano said. “They were already used to having women who were amazing.” Because of these strong women, Romano had great mentorship and support throughout her residency.

What makes Dr. Romano remarkable beyond her commitment to helping modernize the CT surgery specialty is her commitment to her family. She and her husband, Matthew, an adult cardiothoracic surgeon, have two children: Maximillian, eleven, and Allegra, nine. “My family brings me the greatest joy.  I couldn’t do what I do without their support,” said Dr. Romano.

Also elected during the Annual Meeting was Joseph Sabik III, MD, as First Vice President, and Vinay Badhwar, MD, as Second Vice President.

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Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,700 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied healthcare professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.