Parekh appointed chair of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Date: Thursday, October 27, 2022

Kalpaj Parekh portraitKalpaj Parekh, MBBS, has been named chair and departmental executive officer of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery with University of Iowa Health Care, following a national search.

Parekh’s appointment is effective Nov. 1. He has served as interim chair of the department since September 2021. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the university’s request to establish a freestanding Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in summer 2021.

“Dr. Parekh has done a great job leading the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery over the past year, and we’re excited to see how his vision and leadership will continue to move the department forward,” says Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA, UI vice president for medical affairs and the Tyrone D. Artz Dean of the Carver College of Medicine. “As an accomplished clinician, scientist, mentor, and collaborator here at Iowa for over 15 years, Dr. Parekh has strong support across the department. I look forward to having him continue as a member of our leadership team.”

Parekh served as the director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery from 2016 until the division became its own department.

Parekh, who holds the endowed Nicholas P. Rossi Professorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery, serves as surgical director of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery’s lung transplant program. He also has a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

His research interests include chronic lung allograft dysfunction after lung transplantation. His current research projects include the development of airway stem cells as a potential therapeutic tool in lung disease and the role of epithelial stem cells in lung transplant rejection. Parekh has published close to 100 research manuscripts and book chapters, and he has given dozens of research abstract presentations at national and international conferences.

Parekh is one of the few cardiothoracic surgeons who directs a National Institutes of Health-funded research program; 1.3% of cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. are funded by the NIH.

As an educator, Parekh gives lectures on general surgery and thoracic surgery and works closely with resident physicians, fellow physicians, and third- and fourth-year medical students. He also has provided mentorship and supervision for numerous MD and PhD students in the Carver College of Medicine.

His memberships to professional organizations include the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Chest Physicians, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He also serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Donor Network.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and I look forward to working with institutional leaders and our multidisciplinary teams to continue to grow UI excellence and innovation in the care of patients with cardiothoracic illnesses, promote cutting-edge research, and provide world-class education,” Parekh says.

Parekh joined the UI faculty in 2006 after completing residency training in cardiothoracic surgery at UI Hospitals & Clinics. Before that, he completed a fellowship in general thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and a fellowship in lung transplantation at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He earned a medical degree at the University of Mumbai in India, followed by residency training in general surgery and categorial general surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.