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Montefiore in the News

April 4, 2005

At Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine

New York City, NY  (April 1, 2005) -- Robert E. Michler, MD, the internationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon who first used minimally invasive and robotic surgery on heart patients, and who pioneered the safe use of human muscle cell injections to treat congestive heart failure, has been appointed professor and chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) in New York City, NY.  Dr. Michler currently is the lead investigator in a groundbreaking FDA trial examining whether novel surgery to reshape the human heart will benefit patients with heart failure and coronary artery disease. 

 Spencer Foreman, MD, president of Montefiore and Dominick P. Purpura, MD, dean of AECOM, announced his appointment, effective April 2, 2005.

“Dr. Michler’s appointment underscores Montefiore’s national reputation as a leader in cardiothoracic surgery and our commitment to provide unparalleled, quality care to heart patients in the region,” said Dr. Foreman.

“Our medical school has a rich legacy of advancing research and treatment in the fields of cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology,” said Dr. Purpura.  “Under Dr. Michler’s leadership, we will reach new milestones in treatments for heart patients.”

“We are living in a time of enormous promise and new treatment breakthroughs for patients with heart disease,” said Dr. Michler.  “My goal is to build on both institutions’ existing expertise and to assemble an unparalleled team of specialists who offer novel, cutting-edge treatments to our patients.”

“Our team will help define “state of the art” care in heart remodeling, surgery for both valve repair and treatment of atrial fibrillation, minimally invasive and robotic surgery, heart assist devices and heart transplants, stem cell research and myoblast injections,” said Dr. Michler.

Dr. Michler, a specialist in both adult and pediatric heart surgery, is recognized for advancing the use of minimally invasive techniques for coronary bypass surgery, aortic and mitral valve repair, and novel treatment strategies for heart failure including the use of human muscle cells and bone marrow stem cells.  His seminal work in robotics led to FDA approval of robotics for mitral valve repair and for coronary artery bypass surgery. 

Dr. Michler is the principal investigator in current FDA trials to treat congestive heart failure by injecting autologous myoblasts (a patient’s own, healthy, leg muscle cells) directly into the diseased heart muscles of patients.  This promising research could help treat the 400,000 new cases of heart failure in the US each year.

Dr. Michler joins Montefiore and AECOM from The Ohio State University Medical Center, where he was the John G. and Jeanne B. McCoy Endowed Chair, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation from 1997 to 2004.  Previously he served as Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Michler is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University and received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School where he was a Leopold Schepp Scholar.  He completed his residency in general surgery, fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation at Columbia and was chief resident in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Michler has authored hundreds of peer-review articles and book chapters in cardiothoracic surgery and heart transplantation.  He has received numerous honors and awards, including “Person of the Week” by Peter Jennings of ABC World News Tonight, and “The Order of Christopher Columbus” by Hippolito Mejia, President of the Dominican Republic.  Dr. Michler is the Founder and Chairman of Heart Care International, a not-for-profit foundation providing diagnostic heart care and surgery to indigent children in developing countries.

Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, ranks among the top one percent of all US hospitals based on its investments in medical innovation and cutting-edge technology.

Montefiore invests more in order to enable compassionate, personalized care and the most positive outcomes for patients and their families in New York, the tri-state area and beyond.
Montefiore’s unique combination of ‘state-of-the-art’ technology with ‘state-of-the-heart’ medical and nursing care in a teaching and research environment provides patients with access to world-class medical experts, the newest and most innovative treatments and the best medical center experience anywhere.

This 1,062 bed medical center includes the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, a large home healthcare agency and a 21-site medical group practice located throughout the Bronx and nearby Westchester.
Montefiore treats all major illnesses and has distinguished centers of excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children's health, women's health, surgery and the surgical subspecialties.  Montefiore Medical Center focuses on providing family-centered healthcare in a nurturing environment that extends well beyond hospital and clinic walls.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is among the nation’s leading centers for medical research and education. It is also widely known for its socially-conscious approach to medicine. Particular areas of research strength at include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, molecular genetics, immunology, liver diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and neuroscience.