Bpt_7i7CEAI9wD5We’re proud to announce that New York Magazine has chosen 15 faculty members from the Columbia University Department of Surgery for its 2014 Best Doctors list.

Michael Argenziano, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Jeffrey Ascherman, MD (Plastic Surgery)
Emile A. Bacha, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Marc Bessler, MD (Bariatric Surgery)
John A. Chabot, MD (GI/Endocrine Surgery)
Jean C. Emond, MD (Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery)
Daniel L. Feingold, MD (Colon & Rectal Surgery)
Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD (Thoracic & Cardiac Surgery)
Tomoaki Kato, MD (Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery)
James A. Lee, MD (GI/Endocrine Surgery)
William Middlesworth, MD (Pediatric Surgery)
Nicholas J. Morrissey, MD (Vascular Surgery)
Yoshifuma Naka, MD, PhD (Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery )
Mehmet C. Oz, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Craig R. Smith, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Joshua R. Sonett, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)

For the full list of physicians and ranking criteria, visit


On Saturday November 16, the Columbia University Department of Surgery will be hosting Lung Cancer Awareness Day at the medical center campus in Washington Heights. To learn more about this program we spoke with Joshua R. Sonett, MD, Section Chief, General Thoracic Surgery, who will be speaking at this event.

Question: This is the first ever Lung Cancer Awareness Day for the Department of Surgery. What was the reason for creating this?

Joshua Sonett: Lung cancer is sometimes referred to as the forgotten cancer probably due to its association with smoking. While it is true that 80% to 90% of lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking, there are other causes such as exposure to asbestos, radon gas, and even pollution. Genetics also play a role in lung cancer. Someone who has never smoked can develop the disease.

Nobody wants to get cancer and regardless of cause, we must remember treat these patients with compassion and respect. Lung cancer is also the most common cancer in the U.S so it’s important to provide education on this disease

Q: What will be discussed at Lung Cancer Awareness Day?

JS: In addition to screening and prevention there will be a discussion on the impact of lung cancer to our society and a debate on the merits and risks of available treatment options.

The day will wrap up with the personal story of a young man who was diagnosed and cured of lung cancer and then went on to become an advocate for using personalized medicine to treat the disease.

Q: Is the occurrence of lung cancer decreasing?

JS: Lung cancer caused by smoking is decreasing. This is probably due to the outreach and educational efforts taking place today. Yet, the new cases of lung cancer attributed to non-smoking are increasing and the reasons for this are unknown. Lung cancer is curable in most cases, but there are still aspects of the disease we do not understand. This is why awareness days like this are needed and beneficial to both the medical community and public.

Q: Will information on smoking cessation be provided?

JS: Lung Cancer Awareness Day will focus on the medical and surgical aspects of lung cancer. Cessation involves addiction and psychology and more than surgical or medical expertise. For that reason it will not be a central topic. Anyone who is interested in learning about cessation can visit

Q: Will you be addressing questions about e-cigarettes during the awareness day? For instance, are e-cigarettes safe?

JS: Again due to our medical and surgical focus, e-cigarettes will not be a topic of discussion at Lung Cancer Awareness Day.

As a side comment, the scientific community is inconclusive in their studies on e-cigarettes, much as they were with tobacco. It took over 50 years for the scientific community to determine that cigarettes were unsafe. Yet, I still cannot imagine that e-cigarettes are an activity that anyone should start.

Q: Will personalized medicine be discussed at the Lung Cancer Awareness Day?

JS: Yes, personalized medicine is a topic growing in importance that will be covered by my colleague Balazs Halmos, MD. (For a brief overview of the use in personalized medicine in the treatment of lung cancer, please see this video that Dr. Sonett created at the beginning of this year.)

Q: Can you tell us about the patient who will be speaking at Lung Cancer Awareness Day?

JS: Our planned patient speaker is a very interesting and compelling young man who has made himself into a well-known advocate of using personalized medicine for the treatment of lung cancer. Against steep odds, he has successfully fought his diagnosis and is doing very well.

Q: What would you say to someone who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer?

JS: Lung cancer is cured every day regardless of the stage it is in when found. So there is always hope. It’s important to accept a lung cancer diagnosis in a positive and constructive manner with a mindset of being cured.

Q: Who would benefit from attending Lung Cancer Awareness Day?

JS: This will be a casual event with time for one-on-one discussion and an opportunity to speak with experts. So Lung Cancer Awareness Day would be of interest to anyone who is affected by lung cancer. Clinicians who treat lung cancer patients could also benefit from hearing about the research efforts taking place at a research institution like Columbia.


Announcement: Division of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery

February 11, 2013

TweetWithin the NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery, more than two dozen departments and programs offer specialized care in breast surgery, colorectal surgery, pancreas surgery, and more. The department is pleased to announce that three of its divisions – Cardiac Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, and Vascular Surgery – have united into an integrated Division of Cardiac, Thoracic, and […]

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U.S. News & World Report Recognizes 33 Top Doctors at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery

September 21, 2012

TweetCongratulations to the thirty three surgeons at the Department of Surgeon for being recognized by U.S. News & World Report in their 2012 list of Top Doctors. Of these top-ranked surgeons, U.S. News further identified seventeen physicians as being in the top one percent in the nation in their specialties. U.S. News & World Report’s […]

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Outrunning Cystic Fibrosis: The Amazing Story of Jerry Cahill

July 26, 2012

TweetJust three months after receiving a double lung transplant at NYP/Columbia, 56-year-old Jerry Cahill crossed the finish line of Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe, a 10K in New York City’s Central Park. He was barely out of breath. As if running a 10K race three months post-transplant were not miraculous enough, Jerry’s story is […]

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Esophageal Cancer: Recent Study Supports the Effectiveness of Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy

July 7, 2012

Tweet Esophageal cancer is on the rise. The American Cancer Society estimated that there are over 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer in 2012. Currently, traditional surgical treatment of esophageal cancer involves a procedure called an open esophagectomy. An open esophagectomy is an invasive procedure, which involves removing the diseased portion of the esophagus.  If […]

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NY Magazine Recognizes 16 Top Docs at NYP/Columbia

June 7, 2012

TweetCongratulations to sixteen surgeons at the Department of Surgery for being named top doctors by New York Magazine. This annual list recognizes 1160 physicians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who are considered top in their fields of expertise. This year, the magazine recognized faculty from nine divisions at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery: Plastic […]

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Lung Cancer Continuing Medical Education Event: Update 2012 Screening, Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment

June 5, 2012

TweetOn Thursday, June 14, from 7 am to 5:30 pm, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College will hold an intensive, one-day Continuing Medical Education course on lung cancer, its screening, diagnosis and staging, as well as bronchoscopic, surgical, radiation-based and oncologic treatment approaches. The course is for: pulmonologists radiologists medical and radiation […]

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Tim Sweeney’s Story

November 28, 2011

TweetAt age 31, cystic fibrosis patient Timothy Sweeney needed a double lung transplant. Less than one year later, he ran the New York City Marathon with his transplant surgeon, Joshua Sonett, MD. Tim Sweeney’s Story – New York-Presbyterian

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Joshua Sonett, MD and Double Lung Transplant Patient Run New York City Marathon

January 20, 2011

TweetLast November, Joshua R. Sonett, MD, Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, joined patient Timothy Sweeney in running the NYC marathon. Dr. Sonett performed Timothy’s double lung transplant surgery less than a year before after complications of cystic fibrosis had reduced his lung function to 20%. The pair […]

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