2017/18 Faculty Hires & Promotions

The Department of Surgery is pleased to announce new faculty hires and promotions for FY 2017/18. Learn more about our growing team below. 

New Hires

Ben-Haim

Sharona Ben-Haim, joined the Division of Neurosurgery as faculty in November 2017. An Assistant Clinical Professor, she completed a fellowship in epilepsy and functional surgery at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and was a visiting fellow in functional neurosurgery at University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Dr. Ben-Haim completed residency training in neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She earned her medical degree from UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Cantrell

Emily Cantrell, Assistant Clinical Professor, joined the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns & Acute Care Surgery, in July 2017. Dr. Cantrell completed fellowship training in surgical critical care at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and residency training in general surgery at University of Florida College of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. 

Cheverie

Joslin Cheverie joined the UC San Diego team in April 2018 as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS). Dr. Cheverie completed her MIS fellowship training at UC San Diego in 2013, and her surgical training at the University of Toronto in 2012. She is an active Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada.

Edwards

Sara Edwards, Assistant Clinical Professor, joined the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns & Acute Care Surgery, in August 2017. Dr. Edwards completed fellowship training in trauma and surgical critical care at UC San Diego School of Medicine and surgical residency training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) in New York City. She earned her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She holds a certificate in the principles and practices of hospice and palliative care from the University of Maryland Graduate School.

Hosseini

Ava Hosseini joined the Division of Breast Surgery as an Assistant Clinical Professor in September 2017. Ava Hosseini received her B.A. and M.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago. She completed her general surgery residency at UC San Diego and conducted research in breast cancer under the direction of Anne Wallace, M.D. She recently completed a surgical breast oncology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Kari

Elina Kari joined the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery in December 2017, as Assistant Clinical Professor, Otology, Neurotology Skull-Base Surgery. Before joining UC San Diego , Dr. Kari was the principle pediatric ear surgeon at University of Southern California / Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Kari did her fellowship training in neurotology and otology at House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. She completed her residency training in otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and earned her medical degree from University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Lazar

David Lazar, Assistant Clinical Professor, joined the Division of Pediatric General Surgery as faculty in November 2017. Dr. Lazar graduated from medical school at Baylor College of Medicine, and did his general surgery residency at UC San Diego. He pursued two years of research in wound healing and fetal surgery at Texas Children's Hospital, and went on to complete his pediatric surgery fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, where he gained comprehensive exposure to fetal and neonatal surgery, surgical oncology and minimally invasive surgery.

Nigro

John Nigro, a Clinical Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, joined the department as faculty in April 2018. Dr. Nigro received his medical degree from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in 1993; completed a residency in General Surgery at the Los Angeles Country and USC Medical Center in 1999; and completed a residency in Cardiothoracic Surgery (2002) and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery (2003) both at LA County/USC Medical Center.  In 2003, he served an Observership in Heart Transplant at Stanford University Medical Center.  He was recruited to the faculty at USC where he served as Assistant Professor of Surgery from 2004 through 2005, when he then joined St. Joseph Hospital Medical Center in Arizona, serving as Division Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, Director of the Eller Congenital Heart Center, and Director of the Heart Transplant Program.  In 2011, he was appointed Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery and Co-Director of the Heart Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  In March, 2017, he was appointed Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery and Director of the Heart Institute at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego.

Orosco

Ryan Orosco, Assistant Professor in Residence in the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, joined the Department in August 2017. Dr. Orosco completed fellowship training in head and neck cancer and microvascular reconstruction at Stanford University School of Medicine following residency training in otolaryngology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

J. Scott Pannell, Assistant Clinical Professor, joined the Division of Neurosurgery as faculty in May 2018. A board certified neurointerventional radiologist who specializes in endovascular neurosurgery and neuroradiology, he graduated from the University of Georgia with an American Chemical Society certified Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry; received his Medical Doctorate from the Medical College of Georgia; and completed his internship at Emory University and his radiology residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Pannell completed fellowships in endovascular neurosurgery and neuroradiology at UC San Diego. 

Schnickel

Gabriel Schnickel, Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgery, joined the Department is September 2017. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Dr. Schnickel was a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Florida. He completed a fellowship in abdominal transplant surgery and a residency in general surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Schnickel earned his medical degree from University of Colorado School of Medicine; and holds a master’s degree in public health from University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

Simpson

Amelia Simpson, Assistant Clinical Professor, joined the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns & Acute Care Surgery, in July 2017. Dr. Simpson completed fellowship training in surgical critical care at UC San Diego School of Medicine and residency training in general surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. She earned her medical degree from UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

Veerapong

Jula Veerapong, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, joined the Department in August 2017. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Dr. Veerapong was an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where he developed a HIPEC program that treated over 100 patients from different parts of the U.S. Dr. Veerapong completed a surgical oncology fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a residency in general surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He earned his medical degree at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Urbana-Champaign.

Promotions

Joel Baumgartner, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, Step 1, Division of Surgical Oncology

Charley Coffey, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, Step 1, Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

Todd Constantini, Associate Professor of Surgery / Associate Professor in Residence, Step 2, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns & Acute Care Surgery

Adam DeConde, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, Step 1, Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

Santiago Horgan, Professor of Clinical Surgery, Step 6, Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Garth Jacobsen, Professor of Clinical Surgery, Step 1, Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Karen Kling, Clinical Professor of Surgery, Step 1, Division of Pediatric General Surgery

Michael Levy, Professor of Clinical Surgery, Step 6, Division of Neurosurgery

Philip Weissbrod, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, Step 1, Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery