Ozanan R. Meireles, MD, Appointed Vice Chair for Innovation

The Duke Department of Surgery is pleased to announce the appointment of Ozanan R. Meireles, MD, as the department’s first Vice Chair for Innovation, effective Jan. 2, 2024.

“This is an exceptional hire for Duke and the Department of Surgery, and I know Dr. Meireles will accelerate our already prodigious growth in the world of AI, and in surgical innovation,” says Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS, Chair of the Department of Surgery. “He will expand the comprehensive integration of AI and related sciences into surgical practice, a goal that is completely aligned with our department and with the broader University focus on AI in healthcare.”

Dr. Meireles is an internationally known authority in surgical applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and comes to us from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where he specializes in minimally invasive surgery and runs the MGH Surgical AI and Innovation Lab (SAIIL). This lab boasts an impressive and longstanding close collaboration of more than eight years with MIT's renowned Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (MIT-CSAIL), a partnership cultivated under the guidance of Professor Daniela Rus. Subsequently, he is bringing SAIIL to Duke as director of the lab. He will work within the School of Medicine as Surgical Director of Duke AI Health and advise on surgical AI applications emerging in the Health System. He will also serve as Vice Chair of Innovation for the Department of Surgery.

“I'm honored to be joining the Duke Surgery team,” says Dr. Meireles. “AI in healthcare is moving at a rapid pace, and I look forward to joining an institution that is poised to use the technology for the betterment of medicine.”

Ozanan is a native of Goiás, Brazil. He earned his medical degree from Sao Paulo State University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He came to the United States for a residency at Michigan State University and continued with a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, and then a Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Meireles has been at MGH for more than a decade, where he founded SAIIL. Nationally, he founded and has chaired the SAGES Artificial Intelligence Task Force, spearheading international efforts to establish standards for Surgical AI. In addition to being an acclaimed innovator, he is also an exceptional surgeon specializing in minimally invasive approaches to gastrointestinal surgery.

“I am thrilled to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Meireles as he joins the Duke University family,” says Jacob A. Greenberg, MD, M.Ed, Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery. “His expertise and passion for advancing healthcare through clinical surgery and AI align perfectly with our mission of excellence and innovation in minimally invasive surgery. We look forward to the valuable contributions he will make to our team and the field of medicine as a whole.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Meireles to Duke, where the intersection of medicine and data science serves as the cornerstone for innovation in health research and healthcare delivery,” says Michael Pencina, PhD, Chief Data Scientist for Duke Health, and Director of Duke AI Health. “His expertise in AI will play a vital role in advancing our data-driven collaborative initiatives, and we look forward to the groundbreaking discoveries and advancements that will result from his contributions."

“We are excited to have Dr. Meireles join the Duke family,” says Jeffrey Ferranti, MD, MS, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for Duke Health. “His commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of healthcare aligns perfectly with our vision for the future of digital health. We look forward to working together to drive innovation, improve patient outcomes, and transform the landscape of healthcare through his expertise and dedication.”