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Nita Ahuja Named Chair of Surgery

November 16, 2017

Nita Ahuja, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at Yale School of Medicine and chief of surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital, effective February 1, 2018. Ahuja is currently the Jacob C. Handelsman Professor in Abdominal Surgery and professor of surgery, oncology, and urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is chief of surgical oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Ahuja also serves as vice chair of academic affairs for the Department of Surgery and associate director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

She obtained her medical education at the Duke University School of Medicine and her training in general surgery at Johns Hopkins. Ahuja completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Johns Hopkins focused on hepatobiliary malignancies and joined the faculty in 2003. Ahuja has become one of Hopkins’ most accomplished faculty members, exemplifying the tripartite missions of academic medicine. She is a passionate advocate for mentorship of trainees, staff, and faculty and has a reputation as a collaborative leader.

“From my very first visit to Yale, I felt that collaborative spark where faculty, residents, and students are interested in improving health.”

Ahuja leads the integration and expansion of surgical oncology programs across the Johns Hopkins health system. Her surgical specialization is in gastrointestinal cancers, including gastric, rectal, and pancreatic cancers. She directs the multidisciplinary programs in soft tissue sarcoma and gastric cancers. She has developed an international reputation for management of peritoneal cancer metastases with cytoreduction and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which attracts patients from around the world.

She directs an NIH-funded active cancer research laboratory focused on improving outcomes for gastrointestinal cancers. She is widely recognized as a leader in translational epigenetics, conducting investigator-initiated clinical trials in colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other solid tumors. In addition, she has developed biomarkers for early detection of colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Ahuja leads a National Cancer Institute T32 Clinical and Laboratory Training Program for developing a pipeline of academic surgical oncologists.

A national and international surgical leader and scientist, Ahuja serves on multiple editorial boards and in national leadership positions including as a member of the American Surgical Association, the elected national representative to the Commission on Cancer from the Fellowship for the American College of Surgeons, and on the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Faculty and Academic Societies Administrative Board. She has published over 200 papers and book chapters contributing to both the surgical and basic science fields. Her many awards and honors include the William J. Reinhoff, Jr. Scholar Award, the American Surgical Association Fellowship, the Society of Surgical Oncology Clinical Investigator Award, and the Abell Foundation Award: Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development.

Submitted by Adrian Bonenberger on November 15, 2017