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Allegheny Health Network Names Raymond Benza, MD, as James A. Magovern Chair in Cardiovascular Research

Monday, May 20, 2019

Pittsburgh, Pa – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has named Raymond Benza, MD, as the James A. Magovern Chair in Cardiovascular Research. The purpose of the chair is to provide a nationally-renowned surgeon or physician at the AHN Cardiovascular Institute with endowment funding for research, and innovation in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Benza is an internationally renowned clinician and research scientist in heart failure, cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Benza was named Physician of the Year by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association in 2013 and serves on numerous national boards, committees, and councils related to his work in the field of advanced heart failure and pulmonary vascular disease.

“Dr. Benza is a pioneer in cardiovascular medicine who has helped build one of the country’s leading heart failure and pulmonary hypertension programs at AHN. He is a physician leader who always goes above and beyond to provide patients with exceptional care, and the hope of a better tomorrow through the study and development of new technologies and therapies,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Co-Chairman, AHN Cardiovascular Institute and Interim Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at AHN. “It has been my honor to work with Dr. Benza over the past 10 years, and we are looking forward to his continuing significant accomplishments in driving clinical innovation at AHN Cardiovascular Institute.”

Dr. Benza once climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about and funds toward pulmonary hypertension research.  He said the journey gave him a new appreciation for how the disease impacts patients - as the lack of oxygen at such heights mirrors the breathlessness they experience.  It also helped inspire the ideal model for how to treat the disease.

“On a major climb, you also see how, when someone struggles, the group masses around them. Coming back to your patients, you recognize that same phenomenon when care is coordinated the way it should be. Climbing helped me recognize that and make positive changes in the experience we provide to patients,”Dr. Benza said.

Dr. James Magovern joined Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) in 1989 and served as the hospital’s director of cardiac surgery and cardiac surgery research until his death in 2007.   Recognized as a pioneering cardiothoracic surgeon, he was a leader in cardiovascular innovation during his career, including mechanical heart assistance and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

The James A. Magovern, MD Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research will help support the ongoing, innovative efforts of AHN clinicians to discover and develop new ways of diagnosing and treating heart disease through clinical and translational cardiovascular research.

“It’s a privilege to accept this appointment and I look forward to the impact it will have on further improving the patient experience at Allegheny Health Network and beyond,” said Dr. Benza. “Dr. Magovern’s shoes are big ones to fill but we will do our very best to carry on his indelible legacy of excellence as a surgeon, teacher, mentor and pioneer of new ideas and solutions that transform the health care experience and outcomes of the patients we care for.”