Skip to main

Ram Kumar Subramanyan

Member Spotlight

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Congenital Heart Disease

Member Since: 2018


Ram Kumar Subramanyan, MD, PhD, FACS is a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon-scientist. After finishing medical school in India, he completed his General Surgery training at the University of Southern California (USC) under Tom R. DeMeester, MD. He subsequently trained in Thoracic Surgery at USC and Congenital Cardiac Surgery at Children?s Hospital Los Angeles, under Vaughn A. Starnes, MD. He also has a PhD from USC, studying membrane protein biology and cell-cell interaction.

Dr. Subramanyan is currently the Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Omaha and Professor of Surgery at University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to practicing the full spectrum of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, he runs an extramurally funded research lab that studies cardiac outflow track development and cardiomyocyte biology. He participates in robust translational research initiatives, including being the site lead on four regenerative therapy clinical trials for children with single right ventricle heart disease. Dr. Subramanyan has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, authored several textbook chapters, and has delivered many invited lectures and presentations. He is the editor of the congenital section of the Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and is on the editorial board of three other major surgical journals. He has served on the study sections of various funding agencies, including the NIH and American Heart Association and currently serves as Chair of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database and the Vice-Chair of Workforce on National Databases. He is also a member of the executive council of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association and participates in several committees in national organizations.

Dr. Subramanyan is married to Charanya Ram Kumar, a software executive. They have two wonderful children, Adrishya and Vivash. In addition to all manner of family escapades, Dr. Subramanyan enjoys various forms of music and travel.

What Does the AATS Mean to You:

AATS to me embodies the elite group of experts in Cardiothoracic Surgery all over the world. I look up to AATS for mentorship and for the North Star to guide the wild forward.

My First Experience with AATS:

It was at an AATS annual meeting coming as a fresh graduate and seeing the who's who in CT surgery be together and put their best minds at work to make the world a better place. I was enthralled.

Why I became an AATS member:

That is a crowning achievement of my life - as an organization I have looked up to, being in AATS was a matter of personal pride and satisfaction. I wanted to learn from the association and at the same time contribute meaningfully to make a positive change. I can still remember the day when Emile Bacha (then membership committee chair) gave me the nod to say I was in.

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

The interview with Condelezza Rice - one of my heroes in real life. I learnt what rising up meant and how to thrive in the face of adversity

The first presentation I gave is:

I had a medical student present our research work at AATS and I took questions on his behalf. It was a great moment of joy and pride.

The first paper I had published is:

A case report when I was in medical school. My first publication in JTCVS was a multi-institutional study on Norwood management

I plan on becoming more involved in the organization through:

I hope to volunteer as much time as AATS demands of me and give my fullest. I hope to advance the research and diversity efforts of AATS. I expect to play a positive role in spreading the good work of AATS so everyone benefits from the organization's expertise.

Advice for Trainees:

I would say - never forget why you chose this career path. And don't lose sight of the ultimate goal of aiming for excellence in every pursuit."

My career in CT Surgery was inspired by:

I have always loved the heart from when I was little. The physiology is enthralling. I am amazed at how the heart starts to beat at 2 weeks after fertilization (when the mother may yet be unaware of pregnancy) and never stops beating till the end of life (and sometimes even after). The challenge of the disease process and the intricacies of the intervention are a constant source of inspiration

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

When I was in medical school in India, a newborn with d-TGA was provided compassionate care as the public hospital did not have the resources to perform neonatal open heart surgery (when they had oral rehydration salt packets to buy to treat diarrheal disorders). Things have come a long way in India - but that moment solidified my resolve to be the best congenital heart surgeon I can be.

The biggest impact my mentor had on my career is:

That would be Vaughn Starnes - Kept me focused and trained me to see the big picture at all times

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

1. Innovation - challenging established boundaries

2. Diversity

3. Restoring the glory in the field - with recognition in the eye of the lay public

The most pressing issues impacting CT surgery are:

Work-life integration, which has impacted having a diverse work force. Long training, poor reimbursement resulting in fading of the attraction associated with our specialty

Advice for Trainees:

I would say - never forget why you chose this career path. And don't lose sight of the ultimate goal of aiming for excellence in every pursuit.