Dr. David Sugarbaker is a world renowned expert in thoracic surgery, including malignant pleural mesothelioma. Currently he is the Professor and Chief, Division of General Thoracic Surgery Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, along with the Olga Keith Wiess Chairman in Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. David Sugarbaker graduated from Cornell University in New York where he obtained his medical degree. He did his general surgical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He did his cardiothoracic residency at University of Toronto. From there he came back to Boston in 1988. Dr. Sugarbaker has focused his career on the treatment of thoracic malignancies. He is the former head of the thoracic division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA. In 2002 he founded the International Mesothelioma Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is well known internationally and recognized as a pioneer in the treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Sugarbaker has published many articles in the treatment of mesothelioma and has received many awards including, The Pioneer Award and The Chadwick Medal. The Chadwick Medal is given by the Massachusetts Pulmonary Section of the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s Medical and Scientific Branch. This medal is awarded to a doctor or individual who is outstanding in the field of pulmonary diseases. The Pioneer Award is given by the National Institute of Health. This award supports individuals who have demonstrated new ideas and approaches to major barriers in biomedical and behavioral research. These are just a few of the awards that he has received over the years.
When talking with Dr. Sugarbaker the one thing that you take away is his energy and passion for helping mesothelioma patients and their families. His new program at Baylor Medical Center in Houston will celebrate its second anniversary in July. To date he has seen well over 200 patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. While much has changed in the mesothelioma world, the fundamentals still remain. He believes that when one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is in the best interest of both the patient and family to find a specialist they trust.
The Baylor Mesothelioma Treatment Center’s support group is equipped with social workers, navigators, chaplains, and nutritionists. He also has a team of doctors including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and intensivists who round out the mesothelioma treatment center.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s tenacity and passion for mesothelioma is palpable when he speaks. One of his favorite messages to spread is that “when hope is part of the equation anything is possible.”
His research is well supported and he believes that they are incorporating all of their latest findings into the patient’s treatment plans as soon as possible. He has an extensive support group for patient’s caregivers and family members due to the fact that he believes this is a family disease and everyone needs to be supported during this endeavor.
Dr. David Sugarbaker has been a mentor to many physicians over the decades. He has influenced, mentored and worked with some of the leading doctors and researchers at mesothelioma centers throughout the world.
The mesothelioma community has been and continues to be fortunate that Dr. Sugarbaker continues on the quest for a cure for this aggressive disease. His leadership continues to inspire patients, families and members of the mesothelioma community.