Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Announces New Heart Institute Faculty | Financial Buzz

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Announces New Heart Institute Faculty

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has expanded its Heart Institute medical team, adding three cardiologists and a cardiothoracic surgeon to its robust faculty roster led by Vaughn Starnes, MD and Paul Kantor, MBBCh, MSc, FRCPC. The Heart Institute at CHLA routinely ranks among the top three pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs nationwide according to U.S. News & World Report. The largest, highest-performing pediatric cardiac program in the Western United States, it sees patients from all 50 states and over 75 countries.

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Darren Berman, MD, Shuo Wang, MD, Molly Weisert, MD, and Luke Wiggins, MD, join the Children's Hospital Los Angeles Heart Institute, ranked among the top three pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs in the country. (Photo: Business Wire)

Darren Berman, MD, Shuo Wang, MD, Molly Weisert, MD, and Luke Wiggins, MD, join the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Heart Institute, ranked among the top three pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs in the country. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are delighted to welcome four outstanding board-certified faculty to the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” says Dr. Kantor, Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Co-Director of the Heart Institute. “Drs. Berman, Wang, Weisert and Wiggins bring a diverse array of expertise and passion to their respective areas within the Heart Institute, including the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Fetal Cardiology Program, Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program, and Cardiothoracic Surgery. We could not be more confident that these new recruits will further bolster the Heart Institute’s capacity to deliver the best care possible to more pediatric patients in California.”

Darren Berman, MD, has been named Director of Congenital Interventional Catheterization, leading CHLA’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, which includes two suites and a host of advanced technologies, including ultra-low radiation capabilities and rotational angiography with 3D imaging of the heart and vessels. A highly skilled interventionist for both children and adults with congenital heart disease, Dr. Berman is an expert in percutaneous valve replacement procedures and an innovator in the field of pediatric interventional cardiology. He will oversee the expansion of the catheterization program while fostering innovative research and championing the translation of new devices and techniques into patient care. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Berman is an active researcher with interests in transcatheter valve therapies and device development. Prior to joining CHLA, Dr. Berman served as Co-Director of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Therapy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio since 2014. He completed his pediatric residency and pediatric cardiology fellowship at CHLA and a fellowship in congenital interventional cardiac catheterization at Miami Children’s Hospital.

Shuo (Sue) Wang, MD, joins a specialized team of five fetal cardiology experts in CHLA’s growing Fetal Cardiology Program, led by Jay Pruetz, MD. Annually, the program conducts over 800 outpatient consultations and coordinates over 150 high-risk deliveries with complex fetal heart disease. Dr. Wang is also a member of CHLA’s high-volume echocardiography lab, led by Pierre Wong, MD. Her clinical and research interests include strain and 3D echocardiography, contrast echocardiography, prenatal detection of congenital heart disease and improvement in fetal congenital heart disease outcomes. Dr. Wang graduated from the University of California Irvine School of Medicine in 2013 and completed her internship and residency in Pediatrics at University of California Los Angeles and her fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at CHLA. She underwent an additional year of subspecialty fellowship training in Fetal Cardiology and Advanced Non-invasive Imaging at CHLA.

Molly Weisert, MD, joins the Heart Institute as a pediatric cardiologist with advanced training in heart failure, ventricular assist device technology and cardiac transplantation. She joins a team of five specialists with CHLA’s Heart Failure and Transplant Program. Led by Jondavid Menteer, MD, and Jennifer Su, MD, CHLA’s growing transplant program conducted its first heart-liver transplant in 2021 and boasts 100% one-year and three-year post-transplant survival rates. Dr. Weisert’s current research interests include failed single ventricle physiology and improved monitoring of these patients, as well as improving the understanding of the graft-recipient relationship and relative immunogenicity of grafts in pediatric heart transplant patients. After earning her medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, she completed her pediatric residency training and pediatric cardiology fellowship at CHLA. Most recently, she completed a fourth year of subspecialty training in pediatric heart failure and transplant medicine at CHLA.

Luke Wiggins, MD, joins the Heart Institute as a cardiothoracic surgeon with expertise in all aspects of neonatal cardiac surgery with specific research and clinical interest in pediatric valvular heart disease. He joins an exceptional team of seven congenital cardiac surgeons that performs more surgeries on neonates and infants than any other program in the western United States. After receiving his medical degree with research honors from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, he completed his residency in Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Southern California and then trained in Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he gained experience and published on complex pediatric aortic valve repair and reconstruction techniques. He then returned to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to complete a congenital cardiac surgery fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Starnes.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Founded in 1901, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is the largest provider of care for children in Los Angeles County. Families travel from all 50 states and more than 90 countries so that their children can receive the very best care. The hospital’s clinical teams treat patients ranging in age from newborn infants to young adults for everything from well-child visits to organ transplantation. It is ranked the top children’s hospital in California as well as in the Pacific region, and fifth in the nation for clinical excellence by U.S. News & World Report in its prestigious Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals. Clinical care is led by physicians who are faculty members of the Keck School of Medicine of USC through an affiliation dating from 1932. It is home to the largest pediatric residency training program at a freestanding children’s hospital of its kind in the western United States. Among top 10 children’s hospitals for National Institutes of Health funding, The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles leads the field in innovative bench-to-bedside basic, translational and clinical research conducted in pediatrics. To learn more, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, and visit our blog at CHLA.org/blog.

Contacts

Lauren Song

E-mail: lasong@chla.usc.edu

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