Physician Who Helped Develop Aortic Endovascular Stent Named Long Beach Memorial Vascular Surgery Director

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Dr. Rod White
One of the world’s preeminent leaders in developing devices to treat vascular disease has been named Medical Director of Vascular Surgery for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial.

Rod White, M.D. is recognized globally for significant contributions in endovascular surgery, an innovative, less invasive procedure for conditions affecting blood vessels, such as an aneurysm, which involved swelling or "ballooning" of blood vessels. Endovascular surgery treats blood vessels to enable proper flow of blood from and to the heart.

Widely considered among the most important endovascular surgery pioneers, Dr. White spearheaded testing and first human deployment of an aortic stent graft with Dr. Thomas Fogarty in 1996. Stenting has since replaced open surgery as the most common method of aortic intervention.

Dr. White has authored more than 250 articles and 200 book chapters. He co-authored and edited 12 books on vascular surgery, including Vascular Surgery: Basic Science and Clinical Correlations. His current focus is on endovascular applications for carotid disease and thoracic aneurysms.

“We are honored to have Dr. White help lead our Institute team where innovation and excellence is at the heart of everything we do,” says Gregory Thomas, M.D., MPH, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute Medical Director at Long Beach Memorial. “Dr. White joins specialists who continue to gain prominence for innovations, discoveries and first-in-class adoption of the newest tests, treatments and technologies in cardiovascular care.”

With an emphasis on research to ensure unparalleled patient care and best possible clinical outcomes, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute’s care team of 500 physicians, nurses and staff uses the most advanced techniques, evidence-based practices, medications and ideas to treat adults and children with all forms of cardiovascular diseases.

From headline-grabbing research into the heart disease of ancient Egyptians, to targeted gene therapy likened to a scene out of “Star Wars,” to broad-based educational and outreach efforts concerning heart and vascular disease, the team is committed to remaining ahead of the innovation curve.

This includes work of the late cardiologists Mervyn Ellestad, M.D., long-time leader of Long Beach Memorial’s heart program who co-developed the treadmill stress test, and John Messenger, M.D., national pioneer and researcher in pacemakers. Dr. Thomas leads the internationally recognized Horus mummy research team that used CT scanning to discover that ancient people of Egypt had atherosclerosis, or blockages of the arteries, providing a window into the disease. Cardiovascular surgeon Daniel Bethencourt, M.D. is a trailblazing surgeon in robotic-assisted heart valve repair and replacement, in addition to advances of other leading Institute physicians.

In his role Dr. White will lead Long Beach Memorial’s vascular surgery program, continuing his surgical practice and acting as a mentor, faculty member, educator and researcher throughout MemorialCare Health System.

Dr. White is Professor of Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine. He was Vice Chairman of Vascular Surgery Research, Division Chief and Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program Director at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he completed his surgical residency and vascular surgery fellowship. Dr. White graduated with honors from Syracuse University, attending on a football scholarship. He completed medical school with Alpha Omega Alpha honors from State University of New York Upstate Medical University.