Sunil Geevarghese, MD, FACS, MSCI
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
A native of Tennessee, Dr. Geevarghese received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga in 1990 as a William E. Brock Scholar and Irving Grote Chemistry Scholar. He attended Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, graduating with Doctor of Medicine, the John G. Coniglio Prize in Biochemistry and the H. William Scott, Jr. Prize in Surgery in 1994. He remained at Vanderbilt for general surgery residency and performed liver transplant research in the laboratory of C. Wright Pinson, MD, MBA. His American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) fellowship in multiorgan transplant and hepatobiliary surgery followed at the Dumont-UCLA Transplant and Liver Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California under the direction of Ronald W. Busuttil, MD, PhD. There he received the Fujisawa Clinical Achievement in Transplantation Award.
He returned to Vanderbilt as junior faculty and attained a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation through work in the laboratory of Ravi S. Chari, MD. There he studied the role of mitochondrial calcium management in liver transplant ischemia-reperfusion. For this work he was awarded the Americas Hepatopancreatobiliary Association (AHPBA) Prize in Physiology/Biology in 2005. As a member of the Vanderbilt ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Group, he explored post-liver transplant cognitive impairment, culminating in team publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. Other research work includes innovations in hepatobiliary imaging, hepatobiliary surgery training pathways and resilience in surgical training with funding support from Vanderbilt and the NIH. He was recently awarded RO1 funding supporting investigations into deformation corrected image-guided laparoscopic liver surgery in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Department of Biomedical Engineering and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. In recognition of research and academic leadership, he was inducted into the Society of University Surgeons. Given his extensive research and clinical collaborations, he has received a secondary appointment in Radiology.
The son of distinguished career educators, Dr. Geevarghese has made surgical education his major ongoing work. Recognizing a major gap in perioperative resident education, he devised the Educational Time-Out to formalize preoperative goal-setting during the surgical time-out and to provide feedback using the SIMPL app. With Kyla Terhune, MD, MBA and Rachel Forbes, MD, MBA he created the ASTS Vanderbilt Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery Fellowship which offers standard 2-year fellowship as well as an internal track combining general surgical residency and transplant fellowship into 6 clinical years. Given the rising tide of burnout among healthcare providers, he created the Vanderbilt Resilience Rapid Response Team, a specially trained team of surgical residents and faculty designed to facilitate early recognition and support. A sought-after educator in transplantation, he has lectured for over a decade in Vanderbilt Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Management. For his work in surgical education, he was elected by Vanderbilt medical students to honorary membership in Alpha Omega Alpha in 2014 and received the coveted Robert S. McCleery Master Teacher Award for Surgical Resident Education in 2017. He has won a Chair’s Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award yearly since its advent. A busy clinical hepatobiliary and transplant surgeon with a regional referral base, he was named to the Vanderbilt Physician Council for Clinical Service Excellence in 2018.
Dr. Geevarghese has been active nationally in numerous roles. He serves as member of the Wellness Taskforce and Chair of the Membership & Workforce Committee of the ASTS, Chair of the Education & Training Committee and an Executive Council Representative of the Southeastern Surgical Congress, and member of the Executive Council of the Society of University Surgeons. Over the last 10 years he has mentored twenty students and residents, nine of whom have chosen careers in transplant surgery, three of whom have become associate program directors.
Married to Dr. Liby John Geevarghese, staff psychiatrist at the Nashville VA Hospital, they have three children and have called Nashville home for nearly 25 years. In his free time, he enjoys family, travel and horology.