Michael Caty looks forward to leading pediatric surgery to a new level

The new chief is recruiting surgeons, exploring an unusual technique

Michael G. Caty, MD

Michael G. Caty, MD, MMM, the new chief of pediatric surgery for the Department of Surgery and Yale Medical Group, and pediatric surgeon-in-chief of Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH), sees exciting potential to take pediatric surgery here to a new level.

“The things I’ve noticed are a real willingness to work together,” he said. “There’s a real passion to make things better, and have continual self-improvement and institutional improvement. I’ve noticed a richness in intellectual life and scientific inquiry.”

Dr. Caty’s arrival two months ago after years at Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo furthers the goal of making Yale a regional and national referral center for pediatric surgery, said Robert Udelsman, MD, chief of surgery. After a national search, Dr. Udelsman called the new chief “the obvious first choice. He is an extremely successful and experienced surgeon. He is widely respected throughout the field as a thought leader and a spokesperson for pediatric surgery.”

Hiring new surgeons

Dr. Caty sees Yale’s program evolving, with new surgeons coming in—the ultimate goal is six pediatric surgeons for the section of pediatric surgery, which sees 3,500 outpatients and performs 1,200 surgeries a year.

He was recruiting surgeons long before his start date, and is already welcoming two. Doruk Ozgediz, MD, from Buffalo and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, also coordinates care at a hospital in Kampala, Uganda, and expects to develop programs in concert with the Yale School of Public Health. Emily Christison-Lagay, MD, is a surgical oncologist from Massachusetts General Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Joining Yale from Buffalo

Dr. Caty obtained his medical degree at the University of Massachusetts. He completed his general surgery training at the University of Michigan, where he served as administrative chief resident and pursued a research fellowship investigating intestinal injury during ischemia and reperfusion. He finished his pediatric surgery residency at Children’s Hospital of Boston and Harvard Medical School, where he served as chief resident. He recently completed a Masters degree in Medical Management from the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

In Buffalo, where he worked since 1993, Dr. Caty was surgeon-in-chief and director of pediatric surgical services. He was considered the driving physician leader for the planning and development of moving both the inpatient and outpatient services to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

He was a professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Board-certified in pediatric and general surgery, his clinical interests include neonatal surgery, thoracic surgery, intestinal motility disorders, pediatric surgical oncology, pediatric laparoscopy and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.

Dr. Caty is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Pediatric Surgical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of University Surgeons and many others. This month he is being inducted into the American Surgical Association, the oldest and most exclusive surgical society in the United States.

Special interest in imaging technique

As a clinician interested in research, Dr. Caty is drawn to minimally invasive surgical techniques, as well the development of an unusual imaging technique called “augmented reality,” which involves creating 3-D models of organs so that the surgeon can see the insides of the organs. ”It will change the way we think about surgery and diagnostics,” he said. In addition, he is working on developing prototypes that will make it possible to repair esophageal atresia with an endoscopic approach.

Personally, coming to Yale was an excellent decision, said Dr. Caty, a Massachusetts native. His three children are all pursuing their educations in the Northeast. “My wife, Diana, and I are both from New England, both from large families, and it just got very easy to be involved in family life,” he said.