The Shipley Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery Innovation, Education & Research

Lee Memorial Health System announces the creation of The Shipley Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery Innovation, Education & Research to advance the care and treatment of heart and lung disease. The center expands upon the health system’s current cardiac care expertise by establishing an innovation hub focused on patient care optimization, research, and learning opportunities for surgical teams worldwide.

A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and allied professionals in the specialty areas of cardiothoracic (CT) surgery, anesthesiology, pulmonology and cardiology will provide an advanced level of comprehensive and coordinated care to patients throughout southwest Florida. The center will be located in a 10,000 square foot space on the first floor of Health Park Medical Center.

The Shipley Center for Innovation is made possible by a $2.5 million gift by the Shipley Foundation, which is headed by Richard C. Shipley of Sanibel. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Shipley Foundation,” says Paul DiGiorgi, M.D. “Their gift helps us build on an already strong foundation of cardiothoracic care in our community, allowing us to introduce a new concept of what is possible for patients and their families, and establish a new standard of quality care.”

The goal of the Shipley Center is to improve patient outcomes through an in-depth understanding of an individual patient’s risk factors, co-morbidities and personal health needs prior to surgery and then share outcomes research with the medical community locally, nationally and internationally through medical journal publications and scientific presentations.

Of special interest will be research into frailty screening to identify patients who are deconditioned and provide prehab therapies that decrease the risk of complications or death. The center will also include a component of health education to help patients understand how to stay healthy and potentially avoid surgery. An education hub will provide live-case teaching, simulators, and destination and distance learning opportunities for healthcare professionals.

The Shipley Foundation benefits numerous charities in Florida and elsewhere, with particular emphasis devoted to supporting veterans, education, medical research and conservation. “We support people and organizations who are passionate about their mission and open to using innovative methods and technologies to accomplish their goals,” said Richard Shipley. “We are very proud to partner with Dr. DiGiorgi, Dr. Hummel and their team in this endeavor.”

The Shipley Center will be led by Dr. DiGiorgi with the support of fellow cardiothoracic surgeons Brian Hummel, M.D., George Comas, M.D. and Randall Buss, M.D. The center’s work will be enhanced by an Innovation Committee comprising national and local clinical and administrative leaders, working and retired, with expertise in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, technology and finance areas of healthcare who are interested in leading-edge care, research, education, and patient care optimization.

The HealthPark cardiothoracic team is already well known in medical circles for minimally invasive procedures. They were the first team in Florida to perform a trans-aortic valve replacement (TAVR) after clinical trials were completed and were among the first to perform the procedure with conscious sedation. The team has extensive experience, performing more than 800 heart surgeries and 400 lung surgeries a year. HealthPark Medical Center has welcomed more than 100 visiting surgical teams and has hosted national meetings of CT experts both nationally and internationally.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US with more than 375,000 deaths per year and heart surgery is the most common major surgery performed in the US. Financing of the Shipley Center is to be provided by private philanthropy efforts. Shipley’s donation will be supplemented by endowments established for Education & Training and Patient Care Optimization.

Shipley expressed the hope that area residents and businesses will join him in supporting this initiative. “The innovative approach to heart disease, combined with the research and educational components being undertaken by Dr. DiGiorgi and other professionals at the Center will be a life-changing benefit for many in the community and will improve the quality of life for our friends, families and neighbors for generations to come. I hope my gift will motivate and inspire others in the community to consider supporting this worthwhile effort.”

Those who are interested in making a donation should contact the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at (239) 343-6058 or

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