A Message from our Chairman


Christian de Virgilio

Chair, Department of Surgery

The Department of Surgery at Harbor-UCLA is a vibrant and growing tertiary care academic unit.  It is composed of 11 divisions staffed with 39 full-time and 9 part-time faculty, all of whom are appointed and promoted through the high standards of the UCLA School of Medicine.   We are also one of the busiest operative Level I Trauma Centers in the western U.S.  The Department supports a General Surgery Residency Program, a Vascular Surgery Fellowship, and a newly approved Trauma/Critical Care fellowship.  Our mission is to provide first class surgical care for our patients, and we take pride in the fact that our faculty and residents are a multifaceted group of exceptional clinicians, outstanding teachers, and cutting edge innovators.

In April 2014, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center opened 16 new ultramodern operating rooms, along with a new 50+ bed emergency department that is fully equipped for high-level trauma management.  With a full complement of surgical subspecialists, many of the latest advanced surgical technologies are offered at our facility, including cutting-edge endovascular techniques for complex thoracic aortic pathology (TEVAR), intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) for breast cancer, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) with cytoreductive surgery, resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) for trauma, and robotic cancer surgery, to name a few.  We are the first hospital in the Western U.S. to have procured the latest generation of the da Vinci robot, and within the first year, we have performed over 100 robotic cases spanning colorectal, thoracic, surgical oncology, urology, and hepatobiliary disciplines. Overall, the new OR suite provides a much needed 45% increase in block time, allowing us to perform over 1000 cases per month.

Our department places a premium on education.  We have a robust and innovative educational program. Our faculty actively engage residents and students in weekly skills and didactic teaching sessions.  The program’s success is evidenced by numerous teaching accolades, including two National Golden Apple Teaching Awards from the American Medical Student Association, a commendation from the ACGME for the general surgery residency program, and several teaching awards given to our surgical residents by the UCLA medical students.  Harbor-UCLA is one of the primary teaching sites for the UCLA medical students.  Our surgical faculty hold prominent and active roles in the UCLA School of Medicine, and are involved in the design and implementation of the medical school curriculum.

Research has always been on the forefront of our department. The research conducted by the faculty and trainees is generously supported by the on-campus Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute (LABiomed), a nonprofit organization that is funded at a level of approximately $60 million per year by the NIH and other federal and private sources. Harbor-UCLA surgical faculty have a renowned record of scientific achievement and research productivity and have held leadership positions in many national and regional academic societies in all of the surgical disciplines.  The academic year culminates in our Annual Research Day, which showcases our most significant research contributions and is attended by Harbor-UCLA alumni and faculty from our collaborating institutions.

The Department of Surgery has an exciting future ahead as plans are underway to further expand the Harbor-UCLA campus, with a new hospital, outpatient clinic facilities, and a modern pavilion.   We invite you to fully explore this website to learn more about our clinical and training programs. We are rightfully proud of our clinical, educational and research legacies.

Christian de Virgilio, M.D., FACS
Chairman, Department of Surgery
Professor of Surgery
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center