The American Health Council honored Mark Russo, MD as “America’s Best Doctor” for his outstanding and unparalleled contributions to the medical field. Currently serving as the director of the Aortic Center, the Valve Research Center and Structural Heart Disease at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health in New Jersey, Dr. Russo utilizes innovative techniques to perform complex and reoperative aortic and valvular surgery and heart transplants. While he has held his current roles for four years, Dr. Russo has spent 16 years in the healthcare industry gaining comprehensive skills and knowledge in cardiac surgery, heart valve disease, complex and reoperative aortic and valvular surgery and transplant surgery.
After watching a heart transplant video in elementary school, Dr. Russo was inspired to eventually pursue a career in the medical field. His interest in cardiac surgery further developed after learning that the profession offered the opportunity to work with his hands, apply data to real-world questions and to directly improve people’s lives. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree in outcomes research from Dartmouth Medical School. He later earned a medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2002 and completed a residency in general surgery in 2008 and a fellowship in cardiac surgery in 2010 at the New York Presbyterian Hospital — Columbia University Medical Center. Additionally, Dr. Russo completed post-doctoral research fellowships at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Throughout his career, Dr. Russo authored over 150 published abstracts, textbook chapters and manuscripts focused on improving health care quality and clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. He has presented his research internationally and his work has been reported by major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek. He has served as an assistant attending in cardiothoracic surgery at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, assistant director of cardiac surgery research at the University of Chicago and a diplomate of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Russo has assumed various leadership roles for multiple national and international clinical trials focused on heart valve disease for PARTNER3, EarlyTAVR, PORTICO and PORTICO — Japan.
An experienced heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Russo has performed over 500 successful organ transplants. His meticulous and comprehensive skills earned him various accolades, including the Residents Research Award from the Thoracic Society Directors Association in 2010, the second recipient of the President’s Award from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in 2012 and was named a Healthcare Hero by NJBIZ for his innovative approaches to cardiac care in 2016. Additionally, he received recognition for his work by several organizations, including the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Russo regularly contributes funds to Heart Works and the NBI Foundation. He is a founding member of the Einstein Community Health Outreach (ECHO) Free Clinic — a collaboration between the Institute of Family Health and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine — in the Bronx. The clinic aims to provide free, high-quality health care to uninsured Bronx residents. With a successful career at hand, Dr. Russo attributes his achievements to his supportive family. His parents instilled a strong work ethic and the importance of helping others. He credits his loving and supportive wife and two children for his success. In the upcoming years, Dr. Russo plans to continue to explore new therapies to treat cardiac diseases and help his institution expand in both research and infrastructure.
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Director of the Aortic Center, the Valve Research Center and Structural Heart Disease at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health
- RWJ Barnabas Health supports programs that promote health and wellness in our communities and provide access to services that would otherwise be unavailable.
- RWJ Barnabas Health is committed to the ongoing improvement of the health, quality of life, and vitality of our communities.
- RWJ Barnabas Health strives to bring the best healthcare to meet the evolving needs of residents in New Jersey—whether that be enhancing the coordination for treating complex health conditions or improving community health through local programs and education.
- Residents Research Award from the Thoracic Society Directors Association in 2010.
- President’s Award from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in 2012.
- Named a Healthcare Hero by NJBIZ for his innovative approaches to cardiac care in 2016.
- Has received awards based upon his work from the American Heart Association, Thoracic
Surgery Directors Association, European Society of Cardiology Thoracic Surgery
Foundation for Research and Education, Association of American Medical Colleges,
National Institutes of Health.