The Cardiovascular Surgery Division of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre recently welcomed a new recruit. Dr. William Stansfield becomes the ninth cardiac surgeon to join an internationally-acclaimed roster led by Dr. Tirone David, and Division Chief of Cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Vivek Rao.
Dr. Stansfield, an American, explains why he left his native country to join PMCC.
Q. What made you decide to accept a position at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre?
A. I was very encouraged by the institutional commitment to research, both clinical and laboratory based. I wanted to start a lab to pursue basic and translational research, and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is one of the few centres in North America with the resources to help me launch this type of career.
Q. What are you looking forward to most working with the cardiovascular team at PMCC?
A. I am very excited to learn from all the team members who have helped make PMCC an internationally-recognized leader in cardiovascular surgery. Their collection of surgical knowledge and wisdom within the cardiovascular division is truly overwhelming.
Q. What are your areas of interest, clinically?
A. I am especially interested in mechanically-assisted circulatory support. This area of cardiovascular surgery is one of the fastest-growing, and most quickly-evolving. As our understanding of operative techniques and management strategies evolves, I believe the use of these devices will become even more widespread.
I am also very interested in less-invasive approaches to cardiac surgery, especially for valve surgery. There are many benefits that come from decreasing the trauma associated with major surgical procedures and I believe that patients and clinicians are increasingly asking for less invasive surgical strategies.
Q. In what specific ways will your experience in the US complement your role here?
A. My training in the US was very broad-based, with full certification in general surgery, thoracic surgery, and cardiac surgery. This has given me a great appreciation of the contemporary techniques used within these specialties, and a relatively unique insight into how they may be brought together to solve complex surgical problems.
Q. You are an American now living in Canada, what's been the biggest transition relocating here?
A. Once you get used to shopping on Amazon.com, it is really hard to give it up!
Q. Your wife is also a physician at UHN – what is the most striking difference in your opinion, of the healthcare system in the US vs. Canada?
A. I think that every institution has its own corporate culture, and I think that the differences between hospitals are dominated more by the personalities of the hospitals and their parent institutions than by the country in which they're based.
Q. Anything else you'd like to add?
A. My wife and I are both very excited to be here, working with such an amazingly talented group of people and living in a vibrant and dynamic city like Toronto.