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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 08/18/03
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Dr. Randall K. Wolf Returns to Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati Medical Center is pleased to announce that Randall K. Wolf, MD, will return to Cincinnati.  Dr. Wolf is a pioneer in robotic cardiac surgery and will hold appointments in both the Department of Surgery and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UC.  He will also serve as the director of UC’s Center for Surgical Innovation. 

Dr. Wolf’s return to Cincinnati is made possible by philanthropist, Carl Lindner.  Mr. Lindner has long been a loyal benefactor to the university, supporting the UC College of Business, housed in Lindner Hall, which is named after him, founding the Lindner Honors-PLUS program attracting excellent students who become leaders on campus and in the community, and most recently, along with his brother, supporting the new Varsity Village.  "My family and I are thrilled to be a part of the important addition of Dr. Wolf to our medical and university community,” said Mr. Lindner. 

Through gifts from the Lindner family, the Department of Surgery will secure new surgical research robots and continue to develop its vision for the Center for Surgical Innovation, a technology training program to instruct surgeons and develop cutting-edge surgical devices and research.

"This gift from Mr. Lindner will benefit the university, its medical center, and the people of the Greater Cincinnati area, said UC President Joseph A. Steger, PhD.  "This is another example of the ongoing commitment from Carl and his family that has meant so much to the university and the region.  Their spirit of giving is making this a better place.

"I am glad to be coming back to Cincinnati.  It is my home,” says Dr. Wolf.  "It is very exciting to work with the Departments of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering.  The resources of all of these players, supported significantly by Mr. Carl Lindner, ensure that many new applications for robotic surgery will be considered and investigated.  There is no doubt that we will shape the future of surgery at UC.”

Dr. Wolf was the first surgeon in the United States to use robotic applications for cardiac surgery.  His return to Cincinnati follows four years as the director of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery and Robotics at The Ohio State University Medical Center.  While there, he performed the first endoscopic cardiac procedure in North America in 1999.  He also completed the first Food and Drug Administration study with the da Vinci robotic system for cardiac surgery. 

"I am excited that Randy is coming back to Cincinnati to join UC Surgeons,” said Jeffrey Matthews, MD, chairman, UC Department of Surgery.  "He shares our vision to offer world-class health care to the Tri-State.  This vision is significantly enhanced through the generosity and support of the Carl Lindner family.  Dr. Wolf is a world leader in surgical robotics research and will now lead the way from UC.” 

"Dr. Wolf fits in well with what we are trying to accomplish at UC by combining efforts from two of our prominent colleges (Medicine and Engineering) in order to have a positive impact on local, regional and national healthcare,” said William Ball, MD, professor and interim head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  "Dr. Wolf adds to our team approach in medical research which combines basic scientists, engineers, surgeons and bio-industry to solve both simple and complex medical problems in individual health today.”

Dr. Wolf’s expertise includes robotics in cardiac surgery, minimally invasive heart and lung surgery, anastomotic devices, atrial fibrillation and surgical sealants.  He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery and is actively involved in numerous professional affiliations.  He has performed more than 75 telesurgeries demonstrating cardiac and thoracic procedures in more than 15 countries.  Additionally, Dr. Wolf serves on the advisory boards of many medical device companies helping them to develop and replicate new surgical technologies, including local players Atricure and Ethicon-Endosurgery.  

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Wolf return to the Cincinnati community and the UC Medical Center,” said Jane E. Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs at the UC Medical Center.  "His experience and enthusiasm, coupled with his commitment to the highest quality of patient care, will enhance our entire research and clinical enterprise.  We look forward to his leadership in the days ahead.”

A graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Wolf came to Cincinnati and completed his vascular fellowship at Jewish Hospital in 1986 and his cardiothoracic fellowship at UC in 1988.  He practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Cincinnati for 11 years.  From 1990 to 1997, he introduced several new thorascopic procedures.  He was also the first in the world to perform totally endoscopic first-rib resection and harmonic scalpel mammary artery mobilization.  Additionally, Dr. Wolf collaborated with Alvin Crawford, MD, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, to pioneer pediatric endoscopic scoliosis surgery.

"With leaders such as Dr. Wolf, UC College of Medicine will pave the way, creating new devices and techniques that will transform surgery as we know it,” said William Martin II, MD, dean, UC College of Medicine.

"Robotic surgery is still in its infancy,” said Dr. Wolf.  "The first steps have been taken in the areas of general and cardiac procedures.  There are more opportunities to decrease the trauma of surgery using this technology in vascular, urology, pediatric and even fetal surgery.  Robotics is a piece of the minimally invasive puzzle.  The robot needs enabling technology to realize its full potential.  Through biomedical engineering we will make the new devices to fit on the robot, developing entirely endoscopic procedures for many applications.”

Dr. Wolf has also developed a hobby in magic.  His passion for magic began as a teen-ager thanks to his grandmother’s attic.  Now the magic shows are a family affair, involving his three children who are now veteran performers.

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