Health Care and Human Resources

Health system hires surgical director

March 31, 2015
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Health system hires surgical director
Dr. Martin Strueber, a cardiothoracic, or heart and chest, surgeon performs a surgery in Grand Rapids. Courtesy Spectrum Health/Johnny Quirin

A health care system has hired a surgeon from Germany to lead its heart and lung transplant program.

Spectrum Health said yesterday that it has named Dr. Martin Strueber, a cardiothoracic, or heart and chest, surgeon the surgical director of heart and lung transplantation, heart-failure surgery and mechanical circulatory support at the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids.

The role

Strueber will work with a team of physicians, surgeons, administrators and clinical coordinators at Spectrum Health and lead the continued development of the Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Program.

The program was established in 2010 by Dr. Asghar Khaghani, who serves as co-director of heart failure and transplant.

Strueber will continue to be involved in conducting transplant and thoracic surgeries, in addition to his leadership role, according to Timothy Hawkins, media relations consultant, Spectrum Health.

Strueber said he’s pleased to become “part of the team at Spectrum health” and “help expand the important work being accomplished here by Dr. Khaghani and his colleagues.”

“I look forward to continuing the growth of a transplant program that is a vital resource for patients in need of a high level of care,” Strueber said.

Surgical “pioneer”

Most recently, Strueber served as surgical director of heart and lung transplants and the mechanical circulatory support program at the University Heart Center in Leipzig, Germany.

Spectrum Health said he was one of the originators of the minimally invasive video-assisted approach in lung-transplant surgeries and is an expert in customizing lungs to fit small transplant patients.

In 2013, he was elected president of the European Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, where he now serves as secretary, and is a member of the board of directors at the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Tina Freese-Decker, president of the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, said Strueber’s expertise, innovation and approach to patient care are tremendous assets as the organization strives to be one of the country’s premier programs.

“Dr. Strueber is widely recognized as a pioneer and as one of the true innovators in the field,” Freese-Decker said. “He’s relied upon by both industry and clinical leaders when a difficult medical problem is noted and there is consideration for potential use of a new device. He’s had a hand in designing or improving many of the life-saving products used in the fields of heart failure and transplantation.”

Strueber earned his medical degree from Hannover Medical School in Germany, before completing a cardiac surgery residency at Christian Albrechts University.

He also finished a cardiac surgery senior residency at Hannover Medical School and became a staff surgeon in the school’s cardiothoracic program.

Transplant program

Spectrum Health’s organ transplant program at the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center was established in 2010.

The program has completed 52 heart transplants and 34 lung transplants to date. 

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