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Baylor St. Luke’s Names Two New Surgeons and Experienced Transplant Executive To Expand Heart and Lung Transplant Programs

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Trio Will Be Part of Expanded Team Focused on Improving Quality of Care and Patient Experience

Houston – October 19, 2018 – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center today announced the appointment of two cardiothoracic surgeons and a prominent transplant executive to expand the surgical and administrative leadership of its cardiothoracic transplant teams. The hospital named Dr. Kenneth Liao as incoming chief of cardiothoracic transplantation and mechanical circulatory support and Dr. Alexis Shafii as surgical director of the heart transplant program. The hospital also named Deborah Maurer, RN, as vice president of transplantation, a newly created senior executive position overseeing clinical and administrative operations for all organ transplant programs, as well as performance improvement and regulatory compliance.

“The addition of two expert surgeons and an experienced executive who specializes in transplant program administration demonstrates Baylor St. Luke’s continued and growing commitment to heart and lung transplants,” said Gay Nord, President at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Dr. Liao, Dr. Shafii, and Deborah Maurer have the experience and expertise to lead Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center as we grow and continuously improve our transplant programs.”

Dr. Liao and Dr. Shafii will treat critically ill patients in need of heart transplants and other heart-failure procedures, such as heart-pump implants, and lung transplants. Dr. Liao will perform heart transplants, as well as robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. Dr. Shafii began treating patients in mid- September, and Dr. Liao will formally join the team in January. Ms. Mauer will start working with the team next week. As part of its efforts to strengthen the program which started in January, the hospital will continue to recruit additional surgical and clinical expertise and implement improvements.

“Advancing our hospital programs is a never-ending process,” Ms. Nord said, “and these latest appointments are part of our ongoing commitment to our patients, our physicians and staff, and our community. We look forward to continuing to expand our clinical expertise and experience in patient care across the hospital in the months and years ahead.”

Dr. Kenneth Liao

Dr. Kenneth Liao joins the cardiothoracic surgery team from the University of Minnesota Health, where he is professor of surgery and serves as surgical director of the heart transplant program. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Liao is an experienced surgeon in heart transplantation, ventricular assist device implantation and complex/redo cardiac surgery. He also specializes in robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery, mitral valve repair and aortic aneurysm repair. In additional to his clinical duties at the hospital, he will serve as a senior faculty member at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Liao earned his medical degree from Beijing University Medical School with a doctoral degree in Clinical Surgery. He continued his postdoctoral research in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his general surgery training at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He completed his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Alexis Shafii

Dr. Alexis Shafii served most recently on the cardiothoracic surgery team at UK Healthcare, the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky, performing surgeries in heart transplant, lung transplant and mechanical circulatory support. He also served as surgical director of the lung transplant program, and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Dr. Shafii is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He earned his medical degree and completed his residency at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, and completed fellowships in thoracic surgery, advanced heart failure and heart transplantation at Cleveland Clinic.

Deborah Maurer, RN

Deborah Maurer, RN, most recently served as Executive Director of Advanced Organ and Transplant Management at Banner University Medical Center in Arizona. She has more than 25 years of experience managing transplant programs at various institutions including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, St. Vincent Medical Center, and the University of Chicago Hospitals. Her experience includes managing two national transplant networks at CIGNA Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente.

Deborah Maurer earned her master’s degree in business administration from Southern California University for Professional Studies and her diploma in nursing from the Geisinger Medical Center School of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University.

Media Contact Josh Snellgrove Division Director of Marketing Marketing Communications CHI Texas Division 713.503.0921 [email protected]


About Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is an 881-bed quaternary care academic medical center that is a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the hospital is the home of the Texas Heart® Institute, a cardiovascular research and education institution founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD. The hospital was the first facility in Texas and the Southwest designated a Magnet® hospital for Nursing Excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, receiving the award four consecutive times. Baylor St. Luke’s also has three community emergency centers offering adult and pediatric care for the Greater Houston area.

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