University of South Florida

USF Health and Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery team up to expand cardiovascular education and research

The academic partnership with a preeminent heart transplant group will help position the University as a national leader in cardiovascular care

Tampa, FL (June 15, 2015) —The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine has launched an academic partnership with one of the top heart and lung transplant surgery groups in the country to expand the university’s education and research opportunities in advanced cardiovascular care.

The affiliation comes at a time when interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery continue to merge as less invasive procedures for treating high-risk patients with heart disease.

Doctors Caldeira, Lockwood and Labovitz signing the partnership agreement between USFH Dept. of Cardiology and FACT.

L to R: Dr. Christiano Caldeira, president and CEO of Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery, with Dr. Charles Lockwood, USF Health senior vice president and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, and Dr. Arthur Labovitz, chair of USF Cardiovascular Sciences, at the academic partnership agreement signing.

The alliance with Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery (FACT Surgery), led by Cleveland Clinic-trained cardiothoracic surgeon Christiano Caldeira, MD, represents the latest success for the college’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, which has grown and strengthened under the leadership of cardiologist Arthur Labovitz, MD, department chair and co-director of the USF Health Heart Institute.

The partnership opens the door for USF to work closely with FACT Surgery to create accredited fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery and subspecialties such as heart and lung transplantation and heart surgery – training opportunities not available at the medical school.

FACT Surgery, a private cardiothoracic surgery group, specializes in treating patients with heart and lung failure. In a typical year, the surgeons perform more than 600 heart and lung surgeries. The four-member group practices primarily at Tampa General Hospital, which has the highest-volume heart transplant program in Florida according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

Dr.s Labovitz (USFH) Caldeira and Hook (FACT) at TGH in OR and pre patient conference

Dr. Caldeira in one of the cardiac operating rooms at Tampa General Hospital — USF’s primary teaching hospital where the FACT Surgery group performs most of their more than 600 heart and lung surgeries a year.

“We’re extremely pleased that such a pre-eminent group of cardiovascular surgeons will now be affiliated with us,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.  “USF and Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery will build academic excellence in cardiothoracic surgery and related interventional cardiology specialties that capitalize upon nearby state-of-the-art resources at our primary teaching hospital Tampa General, at the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) and at the Tampa Bay Research and Innovation Center.”

Under the agreement, the FACT Surgery doctors will be appointed affiliate faculty members at USF so they can help train and supervise USF fellows, residents and medical students and conduct research and other scholarly activities.

Dr.s Labovitz (USFH) Caldeira and Hook (FACT) at TGH in OR and pre patient conference

USF cardiology faculty and FACT Surgery surgeons meet for weekly conferences at TGH to decide on the best course of treatment for patients with advanced cardiovascular disease.

“At FACT Surgery, we always work to give patients the best care possible, to be on the cutting-edge of technology and to conduct clinical research – but we want the ability pass on our advanced knowledge and skills to the next generation of cardiothoracic specialists,” said Dr. Caldeira, president and CEO of FACT Surgery and surgical director of the heart and lung transplant programs at TGH. “With this new collaboration USF cardiologists can learn from us and we can learn from them. It will make us both better.”

“The collaboration will help raise the level of care and improve health outcomes for patients with heart disease in the Tampa Bay region while positioning USF Health as a national leader in cardiovascular care,” Dr. Labovitz said.

“This is the future of cardiovascular medicine,” he added. “Ultimately, this academic partnership, adding top-level cardiothoracic surgery to USF’s existing expertise in cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology, will lead to optimal patient care.”

Dr.s Labovitz (USFH) Caldeira and Hook (FACT) at TGH in OR and pre patient conference

USF Health cardiologist Dr. Arthur Labovitz, left, with Dr. Robert Hooker, one of the heart surgeons at Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery.

USF Health
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation.  For more information, visit

Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery
Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery (F.A.C.T. Surgery) is committed to providing our patients and referring providers with the most clinically and technologically advanced cardio thoracic treatment for advanced cardiac and lung conditions. The physicians and support staff are committed to our patients by offering a dedicated, caring and compassionate environment that is intended to improve the quality of their lives and subsequently, their families.

Media contacts:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications & Marketing
(813) 974-3303 or

Michael E. Erhard, Executive Director, Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery
(813) 844-3228 or






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