About Dr. Lee

Leonard Y. Lee, M.D. is the Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson’s Medical School and the Vice President for Clinical Affairs for Rutgers Health Group. In this role, he oversees the clinical operations for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with 500 clinical faculty including access and clinical programs. Most recently, in February 2018, he was appointed the permanent Chair for the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Leonard Y. Lee, M.D. graduated from then UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden in 1992. He completed his general surgery residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, New York Medical College in 1997. He served two years in the basic science lab of Todd Rosengart, M.D. and Ron Crystal, M.D. at New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center focused on gene therapy research for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases culminating in an NHLBI sponsored human trial. He then completed fellowship training in cardiothoracic surgery at New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2001.

For the next 10 years he served on the faculty at Cornell within the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery where he rose to Associate Professor. In 2011 he was recruited to Hackensack Medical Center as Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vice Chairman of the Heart and Vascular Hospital where he stayed for a period of just one year before being recruited to then UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2012. Over a period of 7 years, cardiac surgery volume has enjoyed a nearly 80% growth in volume to 1600 from 950 cases per annum in 2012. Commensurate with the increase in volume, the program has seen a significant improvement in quality metrics including a decrease in mortality from 2% to 1.2% in aggregate, CVA from 4% to 1%, renal failure from 7% to 2%, length of stay from 11 days to 9 days, and readmission rates from 11% to 7%.

In addition, the most recent Society of Thoracic Surgeons data revealed that the program has achieved a 3 star rating (the highest quality measure awarded by the society) in all areas reported, aortic valve replacement (AVR), coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), and AVR/CABG a distinction held by no other program in the state. Pre-op, intra-op, and post-op care has been standardized and a great cohesiveness has been achieved to include the cardiac anesthesiologists, advanced practice providers, nurses, technicians, and any and all individuals that participate in the care of the patients providing a true sense of team driven health care.

In addition to responsibilities in cardiothoracic surgery, Dr Lee fulfills the role of James W. Mackenzie, M.D., Professor and Chair for the Department of Surgery. Over the past 2 years, there has developed a new cohesiveness and transparency across the department, resulting in increasing wRVU’s and improving fiscal successes year over year despite the lack of additional resources. Currently, in excess of 90% of the full faculty are producing at least at the 50th percentile for wRVU by UHC standards and there has been minimal attrition of faculty during this time. Clinical programs have grown by contracting with RWJ Somerset for ICU coverage as well as the intermediate care unit under the guidance of the Acute Care Surgery service. Vascular Surgery will also provide coverage for RWJ Somerset under similar contractual terms. These new agreements have resulted in new contract revenues and expansion of surgical services into the RWJBH system, the blueprint for future expansion possibilities.

Personally, Dr Lee has maintained productivity in terms of education, research, and clinical responsibilities despite growing administrative demands and requirements. Research efforts have continued, both clinical and basic, with over 200 published articles and abstracts as well as a recent ADA grant submission and RO1 and AHA grants currently in preparation for submission. As a mentor and educator, He has received high reviews from students and residents alike despite growing administrative responsibilities. Finally, Dr Lee remains one of the most productive clinicians in the school and hospital, personally performing 400 heart surgeries per year producing 19,000 wRVU.


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