New heart surgery leader put gloves on right after Batson arrival
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Dr. Brian Kogon was eager to begin his new job as the chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery for Children's of Mississippi. His first day of work was Monday, Jan. 30, and by Wednesday evening, Feb. 1, he was in the operating room, mending the heart of a newborn patient with a congenital heart defect.
“It was good to get away from unpacking,” quipped Kogon, who, with his wife and three children, is settling into life in the Jackson area. “It was time to put the gloves on and go to work.”
Kogon comes to UMMC from Atlanta, where he was chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Children's Healthcare and director of adult congenital cardiac surgery at Emory University.
Also a professor of surgery in the School of Medicine, Kogon plans to actively grow Batson Children's Hospital's Children's Heart Center, which is nearly six years old, as well as UMMC's adult congenital heart program, alongside its director Dr. Mike McMullan.
“Dr. McMullan is one of the main reasons I'm here,” Kogon said. In conversation at a medical conference, Kogon learned from McMullan of the position when it became open in 2016.
“Brian is just a great, likable guy,” McMullan said. “It was very fortuitous for UMMC that we sat at the same table at our recent Adult Congenital Heart Association meeting in Washington. As the chief of pediatric heart surgery at Emory, one of the leading medical institutions in the country, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help serve the unique and often challenging patient population that we have here in Mississippi. We are excited to have him as an integral part of our team.”
Dr. Christopher Anderson, chair of UMMC's Department of Surgery, said the hiring of someone of “Dr. Kogon's caliber is a testament to our congenital heart program and Batson Children's Hospital. His experience and skill set uniquely prepare him to lead our congenital heart surgery program to the next level of quality and success. The UMMC community is going to really enjoy working with him."
The position seemed like a match for his mindset early on, Kogon said. On his first interview trip, Selena Daniel, the Children's Heart Center executive assistant, picked him up, greeted him, and asked him if he wanted to be part of the team. From then on, “the universal message here was that everyone works together to do the best they can with what they have to take good care of babies. That was exactly what I was looking for,” he said.
A native of Ohio, Kogon is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed fellowships at Indiana University Medical Center and Emory University.
Kogon's addition brings “world-class” skill to the Children's Heart Center, said Dr. Rick Barr, Suzan B. Thames Professor and chair of pediatrics at UMMC. “Dr. Kogon has a great amount of experience in leading teams of cardiovascular surgeons at a nationally recognized children's hospital. He also is a national leader in adult congenital cardiovascular surgery, a rapidly growing field at UMMC and across the country. We are very fortunate to welcome him here.”
Children's of Mississippi is focused on providing the most advanced care to help children lead healthy lives. Kogon's arrival to lead the Children's Heart Center is a key step toward growth of the only program in the state for children born with heart defects
“We interviewed several lead congenital heart surgeons from across the nation,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children's of Mississippi, “and Dr. Kogon was the best fit as both a clinician and a leader. Having Dr. Kogon as a medical leader at UMMC will take our pediatric cardiovascular program to a new level of excellence.”