Message From the Chair


Panos Kougias, MD MSc FACS
Clarence and Mary Dennis Professor of Surgery
Chair, Department of Surgery
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Welcome to the Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. Here you will learn about our latest developments in patient care, surgical education, and basic science, health services and clinical research.

Our department includes more than 70 academic and clinical faculty in the main campus and its hospital affiliates. We maintain one of the largest surgical residency programs in the country that graduates eight chief residents per year. Our residents receive outstanding training in all aspects of surgery and routinely match in competitive fellowship positions. We offer broad exposure to general surgery and its major subspecialties, to include bariatrics, minimally invasive, hepatobiliary, colorectal, transplant, plastics, thoracic, and vascular surgery. A high volume level I trauma center offers superb trauma and critical care experience. The recently launched iNSPIRe research initiative provides a unique opportunity for early exposure to the principles of high quality clinical research; and one on one mentoring by leaders in the field of clinical trials and health services research.

The residency program includes integrated rotations in five hospitals:

The Department of Surgery is proud of its heritage and its current work builds upon the legacy and accomplishments of previous Surgery Chairs who initiated exciting clinical and research programs that continue to this day. The first Chairman of the Department, Dr. Clarence Dennis, made significant contributions to the development of the cardio-pulmonary bypass machine. Under his leadership, the first open heart surgery in New York was performed. Dr. Samuel Kountz was a pioneer in the field of organ transplantation. He established our transplant program which became one of the busiest in the country and remains the only transplant program in Brooklyn. And Dr. Bernard Jaffe built a nationally-renowned gastrointestinal surgery and basic science research program. Several of his trainees rose through the academic ranks to lead prominent departments of surgery around the country.

In the backdrop of this rich history the Department has now entered an important transitional period with focus on pursuing excellence in all four dimensions of a modern academic department. Our goal is to deliver personable, patient-centric care; conduct high quality research that will substantially influence medical practice and health policy; provide exceptional training for our residents and medical students; and promote a culture of innovation and professionalism while placing emphasis on an inclusive, servant leadership mindset.

I hope to, personally, welcome you to the Department of Surgery at Downstate.


Panos Kougias, MD, MSc, FACS