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Established in the Fall of 2008, the Department of Surgery is dedicated to excellence in improving the health of those we serve by providing an outstanding environment for undergraduate medical education, exceptional residency training program in Surgery, and a venue for innovative continuing medical education.


  • General Surgery

    I. Surgical Oncology

    Surgical Oncology/Endocrinology division is structured to balance patient care, research and teaching. The mission of the division is to develop integrated, multidisciplinary and comprehensive programs. We are committed to provide the best care for our patients and to teach the intellectual and scientific basis of oncology to the future practitioners of medicine and surgery, always maintaining highest standards of ethics.
    Comprehensive Clinical Programs:

    Thyroid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Center
    Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Program

    II. Minimally Invasive/Bariatric Surgery

    The Division of Laparoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgery is committed to the education, research and development of techniques of surgery utilizing the concepts of performing surgery via the least invasive means possible, with the primary objective of achieving improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. This is a highly technical field in constant evolution. Dr. Juan-Carlos Verdeja, Director of the Division, coauthored the first scientific paper in the world literature on Laparoscopic Colon Surgery, and was instrumental in the creation and description of Laparoscopic Sigmoid Colectomy.

    Most recently, he has been working with the evolving area of single-port surgery with the SPIDER, a device that allows removal of the gallbladder via a single cut in the umbilicus, which is virtually non-visible. Surgical training courses are offered by the Division to practicing surgeons on the use of this device, and students rotate with surgeons and are taught the most current and cutting edge techniques in laparoscopy. Because of the focus of this very technology-dependent area of surgery, the Division will play an active role in the development of surgical simulation labs as well as animal labs for continuing education in this field. 

    Fellowship Program:

    Baptist Health has created an affiliation with Florida International University College of Medicine to educate students in their clinical years. The MIS and Bariatric Surgery fellowship is a clinical laparoscopic surgical fellowship with an emphasis on advanced minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery and metabolic & bariatric surgery. Scientific research is an important component of the fellowship program. Publication in scholarly journals and presentation at the national society meetings are a regular occurrence from the surgeons in the Miami Minimally Invasive fellowship. The fellow would be intimately involved in the data collection, review and publication of these projects. To that end, conferences, in-services, lectures, seminars and bedside teaching will be a frequent occurrence for the selected surgeon.

    III. Breast

    We are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast conditions as well as following the patient at high risk for the development of breast cancer.  We work hand in hand with the breast imaging radiologists across the hall from our surgical office.

    Our patients undergo a variety of surgical procedures ranging from simple cyst aspirations in the office setting to mastectomies with reconstruction.  We work closely with our community medical and radiation oncologists to coordinate adjuvant therapy, and with our community reconstructive surgeons to offer the best options to our patients.

    Currently, the third year medical students spend one day in the operating room and one day in the office setting to gain a basic understanding of what a breast surgical practice entails.  The goal would be to expand rotations to fourth year medical students and eventually to residents and fellows. 

    Our commitment is to superior cancer care as well as to the education of our future generations of physicians so that we can create well-rounded individuals capable of the timely diagnosis of breast cancer.  

    IV. Trauma/Critical Care

    The Trauma/General Surgery Clinic emphasizes multidisciplinary care. Adult trauma patients are followed after their hospitalization by appointment during pre-established time frames, and referrals of adult general surgery patients are also evaluated during the same clinic hours. Unit-specific patient services provided in the Trauma/ General Surgery Clinic includes the following:

    • Evaluation and management of new patients
    • Examinations of established patients
    • Consultation patient visits
    • Suture/staple removal
    • PEG tube removal
    • Wound care

    The Division of Trauma Services at Memorial Regional Hospital maintains clinical affiliations with several Universities, including Florida International University. Surgery students, as well as a fully trained surgeon, staff our unit on a full-time basis. Memorial is also active in conducting clinical and pharmaceutical research. The Division of Trauma Services reflects the end result of these efforts in numerous publications and presentations.

  • Colorectal Surgery

    The Department of Colorectal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida has had an Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredited residency since 1989. This program was the first ACGME accredited residency in any specialty in Broward or Palm Beach Counties. The program trains 5 residents per year and the Department has a program accredited by the Fellowship Council. In addition to being the largest accredited training program in colorectal surgery in the eastern United States, over 10-15 research fellows participate in research projects each year.

    The department is internationally acclaimed for its role in numerous recent advances including the double stapled J pouch for mucosal ulcerative colitis and familial adenomatous polyposis, laparoscopic colorectal surgery, the stimulated graciloplasty, artificial bowel sphincter, radiofrequency, and sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence, colonic J-pouch procedures for rectal carcinoma and gracilis muscle interposition for rectourethral fistulas. Patients from around the world come to seek the expertise of the staff and innovations offered by them. Specific areas of interest include rectal cancer, fecal incontinence, inflammatory bowel disease, and familial adenomatous polyposis.

  • Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
    The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine is affiliated with Baptist Health of South Florida Cardiac and Thoracic Surgical Group. Although the Division was newly formed, members of our surgical team were pioneers in minimally invasive techniques for heart and lung surgery. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to offer innovative techniques to treat cardiovascular and thoracic diseases. In 2012 the program earned the highest rating (three stars) by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for coronary artery bypass grafting. Noteworthy, only 10-15% of cardiac surgery programs in the nation have three-star rating. Our team is committed to clinical excellence and compassionate care.
  • Plastic Surgery

    The Division of Plastic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine provides cutting-edge treatment in reconstructive and aesthetic surgical procedures to patients throughout the South Florida community. The Division is staffed by voluntary academic and clinical faculty with expertise in the areas of general reconstruction, breast surgery, cosmetic surgery, hand and nerve surgery, and pediatric/craniofacial surgery. 

    Medical students at FIU have the opportunity to rotate on the service and gain exposure to breast, craniofacial, head/neck trauma, hand, microsurgery, cosmetics and peripheral nerve surgery.  This can be done both as broadly based elective in plastic surgery or a sub-internship in a one of the fields subspecialties.

    Students also have the opportunity to participate in research. Current areas of research include wound healing, hand surgical outcomes, congenital hand surgery, craniofacial genetics, and microsurgery.

  • Vascular Surgery

    Information coming soon...

The Cutting Edge

Surgery Newsletter

Vision & Goals

The Department of Surgery strives to be one of the most outstanding academic departments of Surgery in the region and a center of excellence in innovative surgery, research, and surgical education.

Goal 1: Train our medical students with the highest level of professionalism in patient care

Goal 2: Familiarize them with the specialty, giving them a competent basic education in Surgery, while encouraging research at every level

Goal 3: Create and maintain a curriculum that will expose our residents and students to all surgical subspecialties through our academic affiliated institutions

Goal 4: Recruit the best faculty and supporting them in their pursuit of excellence in patient care, research, medical education, and technology


The Department of Surgery is committed to patient care and innovative research. We have physicians and scientists who have made significant contributions to the understanding, and advancement of science, craft, and art of surgery. Current research in the department focuses on translational research. Translational research is defined as research that is taken from the labs and brought directly into use with the patients. It is the melding of research with patient care. We are building an infrastructure that would connect basic science work to clinical investigations. This task involves the mobilization of interdisciplinary resources and collaboration of physicians and investigators at different clinical practice locations. Since the inception of our department in 2008, we have established a strong collaboration with the Biomedical Engineering department at the FIU School of Engineering. This collaboration has already produced a number of investigational new drugs and techniques in the field of molecular imaging and therapy. Today, close collaboration between our physicians and scientists enables us to provide patients with the best care available while working to discover more-effective techniques and strategies to manage surgical problems.


The Department of Surgery maintains and nurtures an environment conducive to faculty development, the advancement of research, and clinical and scholarly activities. Faculty members are recognized for their contributions to numerous articles published in peer-reviewed journals and their leadership roles in local, national, and international societies and organizations. Recent articles put out by the faculty focus on current treatments and relevant patient cases, including published works on the history of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, a tribute to Dr. Edward E. Mason, Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy in Laparoscopic Gastrointestinal Surgery, and a low-interaction automatic 3D liver segmentation method using computed tomography for selective internal radiation therapy.

Education and Training

Surgery Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds is a monthly activity hosted by the Faculty of the Department of Surgery, the format is a closed case presentation by one of the faculty members in their specific area of expertise, since the audience mainly involves 3rd year medical students it is encouraged to make the case presentation appropriate for the student level. This activity encourages active participation from the students reinforcing basic science knowledge such as anatomy physiology and embryology as well as focusing on clinical and diagnostic skills. Students are guided through the case by the attending faculty in a dynamic fashion that encourages participation.

Surgical Simulation Laboratory

Understanding that the future of surgical education and training revolves around simulation, FIU is committed to provide the latest advances in the areas of surgical simulation. The 3rd year actively incorporates workshops in the simulation lab at FIU in which the students learn how to perform basic surgical skills such as suturing, airway management, OR etiquette, and basic laparoscopic skills. FIU is committed to continue the enhancement of its facility to incorporate advanced surgical simulation in a state of the art center located on campus.

Medical Student Curriculum

Students will gain experience in the recognition and management of surgical disease and in basic surgical techniques. Students will develop understanding of the scientific basis of surgical diseases and disorders. Students will then learn to perform assessments and develop differential diagnoses for these surgical presentations. Students will learn through participating in pre-operative care, operative procedures, outpatient surgery clinics and didactic experiences on management of surgical diseases. Students will also learn how to evaluate normal and complicated post-operative recovery with surgical inpatients and outpatients. Upon completion of the curriculum, students will also fully understand norms of professional behavior by working effectively with patients and families as a member of the health care team.

The general surgical education objectives are:

Goal 1: Patient care

Students must demonstrate willingness and ability to provide health care to patients that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for treating health problems and promoting health.

  • Interpret information obtained during the clinical examination and evaluate diagnostic studies to develop an accurate diagnosis in surgical patients.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and implement a management plan to care for surgical patients with the guidance of faculty.
  • Demonstrate competence in the preoperative preparation of patients for surgery and routine post-operative care, with the guidance of faculty.

Goal 2: Medical knowledge

Students must demonstrate the application of knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social-behavioral sciences to the delivery of quality and safe patient care.

  • Students must demonstrate knowledge of evolving surgical science and apply this knowledge to patient care.
  • Students must bring an understanding of basic surgical principles (fund of knowledge).
  • Students must demonstrate knowledge of the risks and benefits of various surgical procedures.

Goal 3: Practice-based learning and improvement

Students must be able to investigate and evaluate patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and continually improve their practice of medicine.

  • Students must actively seek feedback regarding own performance from faculty.
  • Student must exhibit use of relevant surgical information resources in pursuing learning goals.

Goal 4: Interpersonal communication skills

Students must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, patients' families, and professional associates.

  • Students will understand the importance of developing clear and concise communication skills.
  • Students will understand the core elements of communications with surgical patients.
  • Students will understand the core elements of oral and written communications with surgical colleagues, and the importance of tailoring communications to the listener and environment.

Goal 5: Professionalism

Students must demonstrate a commitment to developing a scientific mind, real world comprehensive knowledge, skills and knowledge for optimal patient care and professional behavior

  • Students must demonstrate commitment to professional responsibilities, ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.
  • Students must demonstrate consideration for surgical patients’ comfort and concern for feelings and privacy during interviews and examination.
  • Students must demonstrate emotional maturity and appropriately resolve tensions and conflicts.
  • Students must recognize and describe own role and the roles of other members of the surgical team.

Goal 6: Systems-based practice

Students must demonstrate an awareness and responsiveness to the larger context and systems of health care and the ability to call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.

  • Students must demonstrate an awareness of the various systematic approaches to reduce medical errors and how to implement system solutions.
  • Students must effectively access and utilize outside surgical resources.

Goal 7: Social Responsibility

Students must recognize and adapt best practices to accommodate the specific health care needs of their patients, families, and community.

  • Students must recognize how the health care organization affects the care of surgical patients.
  • When appropriate, students must coordinate quality health care including discharge planning, social services, rehabilitation, and long term care.
  • Students must recognize and discuss all issues related to informed consent.


Florida International University
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Department of Surgery
11200 SW 8th Street, AHC 4-250W3
Miami, FL 33199

Tel: 305-348-0570
Fax: 305-348-0123

Community-Based Faculty

Fuad Alkhouy, Md
Associate Professor

Jorge Alvarez-Moreno, MD
Assistant Professor

Juan Pablo Arnoletti, MD

Anthony J Bared, MD
Assistant Professor

Carlos Jose Bello, MD
Assistant Professor

Kfir Ben-David, MD
Associate Professor

Eilenn Bernal, DO
Assistant Professor

John Denis Berne, MD
Associate Professor

Gary Birken, MD
Assistant Professor

Steven Bibevski, MD
Assistant Professor

Dessislava Boneva, MD
Assistant Professor

Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

Jorge A. Caridad Barros, MD
Assistant Professor

Ricardo Castrellon, MD
Assistant Professor

Abilio A.Coello, MD
Assistant Professor

John DeRosimo, MD
Assistant Professor

Jeffrey Epstein, MD
Assistant Professor

Gavin Alexander Falk, MD
Assistant Professor

Diana Lee Farmer, MD

Sandra Franco, MD

Jose Garri, MD
Assistant Professor

Pedro Jose Gonzalez, MD
Assistant Professor

Orlando Gracia, MD
Assistant Professor

Kristine Guleserian, MD

Shaikh Hai, MD
Assistant Professor

Tjasa Hranjec
Assistant Professor

Gerardo Kahane, MD
Assistant Professor

Jose R. Lampert, MD
Assistant Professor

Tamar Levene, MD
Assistant Professor

Jorge Lopez-Canino, MD
Assistant Professor

Cristina Lopez-Penalver, MD
Assistant Professor

Dafney Lubin, MD
Assistant Professor

Leopoldo Malvezzi, MD
Assistant Professor

Ricardo Martinez-Ruiz, MD
Assistant Professor

Starr Mautner, MD
Assistant Professor

Mark McKenney, MD

Raul Mederos Jr., MD
Assistant Professor

Don Nakayama, MD

Juan Paramo, MD
Associate Professor

Raquel Pasaron, PhD

Juan Carlos Pereda
Assistant Professor

Jason Portnof, MD
Adjunct Associate Professor

Marcela Ramirez, MD
Assistant Professor

Jose Rodriguez-Feliz, MD
Assistant Professor

Jorge Rosello, PhD
Assistant Professor

Saoussen Salhi, MD
Assistant Professor

Rupa Seetharamaiah, MD
Assistant Professor

Seth Spector, MD

Francisco A. Tarrazzi, MD
Assistant Professor

Manuel Viamonte III, MD
Assistant Professor

Jill Whitehouse, MD
Assistant Professor

Henry Wodnicki, MD
Assistant Professor