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John Smith, MD

The AATS is our profession's oldest society and has maintained the highest standards for membership and academic excellence. It was a great honor to be selected as a member in 2012.

Member Since 2012


I graduated from Harvard University (BA) and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University (MD). I received training in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. After completing a Fellowship in Thoracic Surgical Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, I joined the faculty at Duke University Medical Center. I am currently Professor and Vice Chairman of Surgery, Chief of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery, Director of the Training Program in Thoracic Surgery, and Chief Medical Officer of the Duke Cancer Institute. I specialize in the surgical management of lung cancer and esophageal cancer, with a focus on minimally invasive thoracic surgery. As Vice Chair of Surgery, I am responsible for the development of technology and innovation in the Department. As Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program of the Duke Cancer Institute, I supervise the clinical and research programs in lung cancer and esophageal cancer. I am also involved in improving safety and quality in cancer care, as a member of the Duke Safety and Quality Committee.

My First Experience with AATS:

Attending meetings and being impressed with the academic quality of members.

Why I became an AATS member:

To be part of the organization.

The most impactful presentation I have seen at an AATS meeting:

Too many to choose one.

The first presentation I gave is:

Abnormal Gastric Emptying in Patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux at the Surgical Forum of the American College of Surgeons 1977

The first paper I had published is:

Little AG, DeMeester TR, Rezai-Zadar K, Skinner DB: Abnormal Gastric Emptying in Patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux. Surgical Forum Vol XXVIII:1977,347-348

I plan on becoming more involved in the organization through:

No plans as fully retired.

Advice for Trainees

Enjoy your surgical life.

My career in CT Surgery was inspired by:

David Skinner as a role model and the immediate and lasting attraction of both the academic and clinical aspects of general thoracic surgery.

A significant case/patient interaction that impacted my career is:

It was the cumulative experience that got to me.

The biggest impact my mentor had on my career is:

David Skinner's advice and mentorship.

The topic most important to advancing the field of CT Surgery is:

Unbiased and honest reporting of scientific and clinical experiences and results.

The most pressing issues impacting CT surgery are:

Dealing with new technology particularly

Advice for Trainees:

Enjoy your surgical life.