Thursday, August 11, 2022
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is pleased to announce that David L. S. Morales, MD, has been named executive co-director of the Heart Institute and director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Morales, an internationally renowned cardiothoracic and congenital heart surgeon, brings a wealth of leadership and clinical experience to this role. Since first joining the institution in 2012, Dr. Morales has held numerous prestigious positions at Cincinnati Children’s. These roles include the Clarke-Helmsworth Chair of Congenital Heart Surgery, director of quality and outcomes for the Department of Surgery, director of Congenital Heart Surgery, surgical director for the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, surgical director of Lung Transplantation, and surgical director of Cardiac Transplantation, among others.
“David’s expertise in both surgical intervention and clinical research has been paramount to our institution’s mission of changing the outcomes for our most critically ill patients,” said Daniel von Allmen, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief at Cincinnati Children’s. “His transformative work with mechanical devices, virtual surgical planning, and transplantation has changed how we look at pediatric cardiovascular and pulmonary care and has touched the lives of countless patients. We are delighted that he has accepted this position and look forward to the continued advancements his leadership will bring to our Heart Institute.”
Cincinnati Children’s Heart Surgery Program has become one of the leading surgical teams in the nation through Morales’ leadership. It has achieved high survival rates for the most complex procedures and has recorded some of the shortest hospital stays in the United States, according to a national database of pediatric cardiac surgical procedures. It also is part of the Joint Heart Program with Kentucky Children’s Hospital, which has been nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report. On average, the Joint Heart Program performs nearly 670 surgeries per year in patients from infants to adults with congenital heart defects.
With more than 350 published manuscripts and chapters, Morales is a pioneer of research and technological innovations worldwide and here at Cincinnati Children’s. His work within the institution’s heart and lung transplant programs has sought to drive down transplant list wait times with novel approaches like utilizing high-risk donors for those in critical need of organs. He is currently leading a federally funded R01 grant to leverage artificial intelligence to improve how pediatric heart and lung transplant donor organs are distributed. One of Morales’ primary focuses is complex neonatal operations and biventricular repairs in young patients. In these instances, he works with an in-house team to leverage virtual reality technology to change the way these surgeries are planned, with more than 200 complex procedures being performed at Cincinnati Children's in the past five years utilizing this technology.
“David’s established pre-eminence in mechanical support in children is matched by his contributions to the care and study of those with complex congenital anomalies,” said Andrew Redington, MD, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s. “His clinical prowess is mirrored by a broad portfolio of research programs harnessing new technologies and imaging to improve care and outcomes of all patients with heart disease. Over the past few years, David has worked with the frontline teams within the Heart Institute to produce the outstanding outcomes that our patients enjoy today.”
"It is an honor and privilege to take over for Dr. Jim Tweddell, with whom I worked so closely over the past seven years. I am excited about the future and continuing to work with my colleagues in the Heart Institute and at Cincinnati Children's to discover, develop and deliver innovative and world class care to our patients and advance our field as a whole," said Morales.