STS today named Keith Naunheim, MD, as the recipient of the 2024 STS Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of cardiothoracic surgery at the Society’s 60th Annual Meeting.

Dr. Naunheim, the Vallee L. and Melba Willman Professor and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, has dedicated more than 50 years of service to cardiothoracic surgery. 
Since joining STS in 1988, Dr. Naunheim has been appointed to 18 different workforce and committee roles. His numerous appointments include Medico-Legal Affairs Committee Member; Council on Health Policy and Relationships Operating Board Workforce Chair; and Workforce on Media Relations and Communications Chair. 

In 2018, Dr. Naunheim was elected STS President and led the Society with a strong commitment to advancing healthcare policy issues relevant to CT surgery and diversity and inclusion. Today, Dr. Naunheim's STS positions include Council on Health Policy and Relationships Operating Board Member, STS-PAC Board of Advisors Chair, and Board of Directors Historian.

"This is a huge honor," said Dr. Naunheim. "The STS has played a significant role in my life for over 30 years. I thought it would be a great way to give back to the specialty but I received so much more in return. The fellowship of collegiality has benefited me far more than I could have imagined." 
Dr. Naunheim also served as director on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and was elected president of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association in 2009. He was inducted as an honorary member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

With interests in lung cancer, esophageal disease, and health policy, as well as in coding and reimbursement issues, Dr. Naunheim has authored or co-authored more than 270 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He has participated in approximately 300 presentations on these topics.

His academic career is equally impressive. Dr. Naunheim graduated cum laude from the Johns Hopkins University. He received his medical degree with honors at the University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine where he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He also completed his general surgery and cardiothoracic training at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Naunheim’s personal life is as busy as his professional one. He reluctantly admits to being an amateur magician and has been an early-morning runner for more than 25 years. Together with his wife of 39 years, Rosanne Naunheim, MD, Dr. Naunheim enjoys skeet shooting, traveling, antique hunting, and caring for their two oversized Leonberger dogs. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Established in 1969, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have made significant and far-reaching contributions to STS and the specialty.

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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.