MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

“A clinician is someone who always puts the best interests of the patient and the family first. They should be steadfast in this, regardless of external pressures to perhaps do something to the contrary. They should compassionate and kind. A distinguished clinician should be wise, should be abreast of potential new innovations that offer the patient a better quality or longer life... They should not be afraid of making a decision, even when that decision is emotionally difficult. They should be an example to their colleagues of what they should aspire to. They should be nurturing to their junior colleagues and paramedical staff. They should be a beacon of kindness and wisdom. Vigneshwar Kasirajan is someone who exemplifies all of these traits.” Richard Cooke M.D., Medical Director Cardiac Transplantation, VCU Medical Center, describes why Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., Stuart McGuire Professor and Chair of the VCU Department of Surgery is being recognized with the MCVP Distinguished Physician Award.

Dr. Kasirajan came to VCU in 2000 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004, and Professor in 2008. He assumed increasingly important leadership roles and in 2014 became Chair of the Department of Surgery. His areas of clinical focus include management of advanced heart failure with total artificial heart, clinical trials with mechanical left ventricular assist devices, treatment of atrial fibrillation with minimally invasive surgery, and histological changes in human atria after catheter ablation and surgery.

“Through his leadership, infrastructure, grant funding, scientist recruitment, and research outcomes have increased geometrically. New patents and advancements directed at patient care moving from translational studies through FDA trials is now the rule rather than the exception. Our department is on course to be within the top 10 research divisions in the US in 5 years. This is only possible through Dr. Kasirajan's leadership and dedication to his department and patient care,” states Martin J. Mangino, Ph.D., Professor of Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and Physiology and Biophysics, and Associate Chair of Surgery (Research).

Dr. Kasirajan’s advocacy for extremely complex patients who have been turned away elsewhere and his collaborative and warm interpersonal manner with colleagues, patients, and families have earned him broad admiration.

“As clinicians, we all develop networks of support that are critical to our success and the delivery of the highest level of patient care. Dr. Kasirajan tops my list. Whenever we have a complex case, he is our "go to". He is an active collaborator. He listens, he questions, he listens more and then thoughtfully offers a coherent plan of action. He is never rushed or cursory in his approach. He is always compassionate and holistic. These skills clearly set him apart from many of his peers. We can and do learn from his example every day,” explains Charlotte “Cha” Roberts, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, VCU Pauley Heart Center.

Dr. Kasirajan is recognized as a role model by our future physicians. “Dr Kasirajan is the type of physician anyone would want for their loved ones. Listening to his patients with compassion; hearing their goals, concerns, and barriers to treatment to come up with the best approach for every individual patient has been one of the many aspects of being a distinguished physician that I have been learning from him,” observes Armita Kabirpour, VCU SOM Class of 2020.

Anthony D. Cassano, M.D., M.S.H.A., Associate Professor of Surgery, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, shares the ultimate compliment. “From a clinical perspective, if I needed heart surgery he would be the one to do it. He is seen as the go-to guy who always goes the extra mile for the patient. You can call him any time day or night and he is there to help you.”