James R. Taylor Jr., MD, FACS, Vice Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, and Harold A. Fernandez, MD, Director of the Division of Heart Failure Surgery at St. Francis Hospital, have been appointed Professors of Surgery in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and named Co-Directors of Stony Brook University’s Heart Institute effective September 1.
Taylor will serve as Director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Fernandez will serve as Deputy Director of the Division. “Their addition to the Stony Brook Heart Institute significantly advances our overarching mission to deliver the best ideas in medicine to the citizens of Long Island and well beyond,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
Taylor received his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of South Carolina. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, followed by residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he served as chief resident. He completed a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the same institution and joined St. Francis in 1991. He is board certified in cardiothoracic surgery.
“Since launching his practice on Long Island two decades ago, Jim has been one of the most prolific and top-quality cardiothoracic surgeons in the State of New York,” said Kaushansky.
“I am very excited to join the faculty of Stony Brook University and to embark upon new opportunities within the Stony Brook Heart Institute,” Taylor said. “I am thrilled with the notion that I will be educating the next generation of surgeons at a top public university and very much look forward to working with my new colleagues at Stony Brook.
“I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked at St. Francis – home to one of New York’s premiere cardiothoracic surgery programs – for the past 20 years,” he said. “I look forward to bringing that experience to bear as we provide that same high level of care for heart patients at Stony Brook University Hospital.”
Fernandez came to the United States at age 13 as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia and within 10 years received his bachelor of science degree in molecular biology from Princeton University. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, followed by a residency in general surgery and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at NYU Medical Center. He joined St. Francis in 2001 and is board certified in cardiothoracic surgery.
Fernandez recently published a memoir, “Undocumented: My Journey to Princeton and Harvard and Life as a Heart Surgeon,” and has received national publicity regarding his story as an immigrant who has risen to the height of his profession.
“I am excited to start caring for patients at Stony Brook University Hospital,” Fernandez said. “I have found that the faculty and staff are extremely dedicated and caring, and I see this as a wonderful opportunity to work with them to advance cardiac care to residents of Long Island – closer to home. During the last decade I have had the incredible privilege to work for St. Francis Hospital. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am sad to be leaving a community of friends and colleagues that feels like a family. This has been a tremendous experience that I will always treasure, and which has prepared me well to pursue other clinical and academic goals.
“As I prepare to enter into the next phase of my career at Stony Brook, I am excited to work alongside Dr. Taylor and the skilled medical staff there,” he said. “I am confident that we will continue to advance the work already underway there to build a world-class program for Suffolk County residents and all of Long Island.”
“The addition of Drs. Taylor and Fernandez will continue Stony Brook Medicine’s development into one of the finest Heart Institutes in the country,” Kaushansky said, citing their excellent outcomes and high patient satisfaction rates.
“They are both highly productive surgeons, extremely responsive and always ready to care for another clinical challenge,” he said. “The care they deliver is simply superlative.”