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University of Iowa News Release

June 29, 2005

Richenbacher Named Nicholas P. Rossi Professor Of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Wayne Richenbacher, M.D., professor of cardiothoracic surgery in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been named the Nicholas P. Rossi Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

This endowed professorship honors the professional contributions and leading gift support of Nicholas Rossi, M.D., UI professor emeritus of surgery. The Rossi professorship, which is a permanent appointment, was established by gifts to the UI Foundation from friends and alumni of the cardiothoracic surgery program and from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa. 

Richenbacher, a cardiothoracic surgeon with UI Heart Care at UI Hospitals and Clinics, joined the UI faculty in 1993 as surgical director of the Heart Transplant Program. He is an acknowledged leader in the field of heart transplantation and the development of artificial organs.

"This a great honor for Dr. Richenbacher and one which he richly deserves for his contributions to the field of cardiothoracic surgery and education," said Mark Iannettoni, M.D., the Johann L. Ehrenhaft Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and head of the newly created Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. "But more importantly, it allows Wayne to carry on the traditions established by Dr. Rossi of being an outstanding surgeon and tireless educator, which we all recognize as a great opportunity and responsibility for the future of cardiothoracic surgery here at the UI Hospital and Clinics and the Carver College of Medicine."

Richenbacher received a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He then completed training in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of The Pennsylvania State University.

Under Richenbacher's leadership, the Heart Transplant Program at UI Hospitals and Clinics achieved Medicare certification, acknowledging the quality of the program in terms of outcomes and life expectancy after transplantation. The program's surgeons perform more than 12 transplants a year.

Richenbacher has participated in several national trials investigating the efficacy of ventricular assist devices, which have opened up new life-saving options for patients with severe heart failure. He has authored two books, more than 60 scientific articles and 13 book chapters on artificial organs and other aspects of cardiac surgical care. He is a section editor for the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) Journal and is an associate editor for the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Richenbacher also is a member of several professional societies including the Society of University Surgeons and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Rossi received a medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1955 and came to join the UI faculty in 1960 at a time when the development of thoracic surgery was burgeoning in the areas of congenital heart surgery, valve surgery, coronary artery surgery, pulmonary and tuberculosis surgery.

Rossi noted that the efforts of the department in all these areas have led to an unbroken tradition of excellence, which continues through the present time.

Rossi became a full professor in 1972 and served as chief of thoracic surgery at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Iowa City Health Care System in the late 1990s. His research interests include clinical cardiovascular projects and thoracic oncology. He became a professor emeritus in 2000.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, (319) 335-9917