New Faculty Appointment: Joseph Costa, DHSc, PA-C

by Columbia Surgery on October 29, 2013

Joseph Costa, DHSc, P

Joseph Costa, DHSc, PA-C

Instructor in Clinical Surgical Sciences (in Surgery), Division of Thoracic Surgery

Joseph Costa, DHSc, PA-C, is the first Physician Assistant to become a faculty member at NYP/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He gained this historic status through a unique path that began with his position as Dr. Craig Smith’s private PA in Cardiothoracic Surgery (2000-2010). There he began his role as a key oversight team member on pediatric and adult heart procurements, and later in performing lung procurements. When he became the Chief PA in Thoracic Surgery and Lung Transplantation, his role expanded to include complete responsibility for all aspects of onsite evaluation of potential lung allografts for transplant, which included review of chest x-rays, CT scans, and intraoperative bronchoscopy.

His duties as lead surgeon include performing and teaching the intraoperative evaluation, cardiac dissection and cannulation for perfusion of lung allografts, and performing the en-bloc pneumonectomy. In addition, Dr. Costa is responsible for evaluating and performing the operative phase in re-operative donors and Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) donors.

Along with his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Costa has taught and mentored surgical interns and fellows since 2003. He was featured in the book, “The Surgeons,” casted in the movie “Awake” as a transplant surgeon, and is the author of numerous journal articles, abstracts, and poster presentations. He is the recipient of numerous awards including CUMC’s PA of the Year in 2011. Having earned his Doctorate in Health Science with a focus on Health Policy and in combination with Dr. Costa’s unique surgical and teaching experience, a motion was made to appoint him as faculty at Columbia P&S, which was granted this year.

Dr. Costa wishes to acknowledge the effort by Dr. Joshua Sonett in helping to facilitate this unique PA role and its evolution into the division’s current model. He also includes a special thanks to Drs. Frank D’Ovidio and Matthew Bacchetta for their tremendous support.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

The DiLeo, Deiso, & Russe Families November 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm

The DiLeo, Deiso, and Russe families will forever be grateful for Dr. Costa’s sincere care during 2 open heart surgeries. My father had time added to his life thanks to Dr. Smith and Dr. Costa. Columbia Presbyterian is blessed to have him on staff and as a faculty member….what lucky students!

Ryan Z November 8, 2013 at 10:10 am

Dr. Costa simply put is an amazing individual. He was the surgeon who performed the evaluation and explanted my best friends lungs for transplant. Incredibly humble and just a great person. Dr. Costa is clearly blessed in many ways and has touched the lives of many who have been lucky enough to have him as a team member. This is very well deserved and knowing him, he will continue to achieve many great things. Dr. Costa has changed peoples lives like no other.

Columbia Surgery November 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

Thank you so much for your messages. I will forward these to Dr. Costa to make sure he knows that you left them.

Jennifer Scala November 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm

As impressive as this article is about Dr. Joe Costa, it could never REALLY tell the story of how amazing “Joe” is – not only as a medical professional – but as a person who cares BEYOND the call of duty. I know my story isn’t unique to anyone who has had the pleasure, honor and LUCK to have Joe on their team. I commend NY Presbyterian for appointing Joe as a faculty member.

NY Presby (as I like to call it) has lived up to their reputation that “Amazing Things Are Happening Here”. Thank you!
Jennifer Scala

Coakley Family January 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

As a medical professional I have many colleagues. Few meet the standards of Joe Costa. Joe is an exceptional individual motivated by his passion for medicine. He is selfless and an unsung hero. Joe makes decisions for lung transplant patients the we know little about. I know that I would not be alive if not for Joe and his maticulous commitment to exceptional procurement. Joe stands next to the giants of the lung transplant field in the OR. Truly he is a giant himself, but publicly he is willing to stand in the showows. When my family was at its lowest Joe Costa picked us up with his truthful words of encouragement and kindness. Joe never made empty promises but instead assured us with his confidence and knowledge. Each and every time my wife smiles or my kids laugh I remember how lucky we all are to have met Joe. Thank you for all that you do. The Columbia Lung Transplant Program is lucky to have you.

Dr. and Mrs. Gregory Coakley and Family

DONNA BUBNIS January 24, 2014 at 9:51 am


Ira and Jean Bravin May 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

Ira and Jean B.
I’ve been re-reading the wonderful comments here, written by patients and families regarding Joe Costa’s faculty appointment. I wondered what I could add to the understanding and appreciation of this remarkable man. Our experiences were all unique in their complexity. The outcome of each procedure, though uncertain, always contained exactly the same special aspect and that was the common ingredient of one Jospeh Costa. His ability to display his humanity with such grace in such trying circumstances was to be admired. What a marvelous human being, possessing clinical skills, which place him in a league with the best of the best, unmatched by many older professionals. He seemed blessed with a powerful but gentle hand.
We met Joe in 2003 when Ira’s COPD and chest pain were worsening dramatically. Joe was then Dr. Craig Smith’s personal P.A. and a very valuable addition to Dr. Smith’s cardio-thoracic team. Looking not much older than 21 years, it took only a couple of hours for us to learn we were in the right hands. It was not as frightening to learn that Ira would need 6 bypasses, knowing that Dr.s Smith and Costa were in the picture. What could be better…We were educated, calmed, and explained all we needed to know, including Joe’s detailed anatomical drawings of the 6 bypasses. Throughout the ordeal, Joe was present, our contact with reality. The years since then, we have heard from him frequently, just to check in and be sure Ira was leading an exemplary life and in general just keeping in touch.
Thank you Columbia Presbyterian for recognizing what you have in this man. The honor he has received is well deserved – What took you so long? Never mind, you have done the right thing. He will make us all feel fortunate to have known him.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: