NC Heart Surgeon Receives International Recognition

W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr., MD, director of the East Carolina Heart Institute in Greenville, was awarded the Bokoulev Premium Medal by the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Bakoulev Scientific Center for Cardiovascular Surgery on October 12, 2011, in Moscow. Dr. Chitwood is only the second American to receive Russia’s highest cardiovascular medical award. The presentation was part of the Bokoulev Center’s 55th anniversary celebration.

Dr. Chitwood was recognized for his groundbreaking work in minimally invasive cardiac procedures, particularly those using robotics. He currently leads the cardiovascular team that has performed the most robotic mitral valve repair procedures in the world.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition for an important scientific achievement that is also integral to good patient care,” Dr. Chitwood said. “Ten years ago, no one in medicine believed we could robotically repair mitral valves—they thought I was a heretic. Today, however, more people are starting to do it because they realize it does improve patient care and patient safety.”

Paul Cunningham, MD, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and a member of the NCMS Board of Directors, said the award is a well-deserved recognition for a pioneer and visionary surgeon. The Heart Institute is a collaboration between Pitt County Memorial Hospital and East Carolina University.

Dr. Chitwood earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and has been an active member of the NCMS since 1975.


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