Stony Brook Heart Institute’s Cardiothoracic Team Expands

Stony Brook University Heart Institutes Cardiothoracic Team Expands
New Co-Director Named and Cardiothoracic Surgeons Appointed

To serve the growing cardiac needs of the Long Island community, the Heart Institute welcomes co-director and cardiothoracic surgeon Joanna Chikwe, MD, and cardiothoracic surgeon Henry J. Tannous, MD, both from Mount Sinai Health System. They joined the Heart Institute’s expert team of surgeons on Sept. 1.

Dr. Chikwe serves as Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery and Co-Director of the Heart Institute. She joins Co-Director and Chief of Cardiology Javed Butler, MD, MPH, as part of the Heart Institute’s leadership team. Dr. Tannous is Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery in the Cardiothoracic Division.

These board-certified heart surgeons rank among the top physicians in the region. “Our patients and their family members, staff, nurses and physicians at Stony Brook University Heart Institute are looking forward to working with Dr. Chikwe and Dr. Tannous,” said Dr. Butler. “Together they bring tremendous experience to Stony Brook that spans the entire spectrum of cardiovascular surgery so this is an important step forward in our progress and excellence in cardiac care.”

“We are very fortunate to have two deeply experienced young heart surgeons, who are stars in their field, joining our team here at Stony Brook,” said Mark Talamini, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at Stony Brook Medicine. “Having built excellent programs in Manhattan, they are both excited about taking the reins here at Stony Brook and expanding their reputation for clinical excellence to Long Island.”

Meet Dr. ChikweJoanna Chikwe, MD
Co-Director, Heart Institute
, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Joanna Chikwe, MD, was previously Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. She also served as Program Director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency and Advanced Fellowship Programs for the Mount Sinai Health System.

Clinical Expertise:
Dr. Chikwe’s primary focus is aortic and mitral valve reconstruction, coronary revascularization and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. She has particular experience in mitral valve repair and will be involved in the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) program at the Heart Institute. Dr. Chikwe will also lead our investigative efforts in advancing our understanding of the origins of valvular heart disease, and the optimal approach to prevention and treatment.

Dr. Chikwe received her medical degree from Oxford University in the United Kingdom. She completed her general surgery residency at Oxford and Cambridge, followed by research in cardiac transplantation for which she received a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. After finishing her residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals in London where she gained expertise in minimally invasive surgery, she completed an advanced fellowship focusing on mitral valve repair and aortic reconstruction at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Dr. Chikwe continues a productive collaboration with the Department of Population Health Science and Policy at Mount Sinai, publishing landmark clinical research in leading journals including JAMA, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology where she serves on the editorial board. She is an award-winning author of six clinical textbooks, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.


Meet Dr. TannousHenry Tannous, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Tannous previously served as Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and cardiothoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital. He also served as Chief of Pump-Assisted Thoracic Surgery, Chief of Mount Sinai Thoracic Expansion Program and Chair of the Resident Council. He has also served as Chief of Thoracic Surgery at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, NY. 

Clinical Expertise:
As a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Tannous has established an advanced clinical practice in adult cardiac surgery, as well as a focused interest in the most effective and advanced techniques for minimally invasive surgery for certain lung cancers, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). He also concentrates on the latest surgical methods to correct atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.

Dr. Tannous received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in 2000 and completed his residency at WHHC-Yale School of Medicine in Waterbury, CT, in 2005. He completed fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery at George Washington University and Mount Sinai Hospital. He has been a fellow in the American College of Surgeons since 2006 and is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery.



In addition to Dr. Chikwe and Dr. Tannous, the team of five cardiothoracic surgeons includes Thomas Bilfinger, MD, Allison McLarty, MD and Vinay Tak, MBBS. The division offers outstanding expertise across the spectrum of adult cardiothoracic surgery, with specialist expertise and programs in mitral valve repair, coronary revascularization, minimally invasive surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, ventricular assist devices and atrial fibrillation surgery.