SMH Welcomes former Venice Heart Surgeon to First Physicians Group’s Cardiac Team

SARASOTA, Fla. – (Sept. 21, 2015) – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is pleased to announce that Cardiovascular Surgeon Jonathan Fong, MD, FACS, will join the health system’s First Physicians Group (FPG) this month.Dr. Fong, a heart surgeon who led Venice Regional Bayfront Health’s cardiac surgery team for the past 12 years, will join Sarasota Memorial Cardiac Surgeons Jeffrey Sell, MD, Paul Vesco, MD, Thomas Kelly, MD, and Jonathan Hoffberger, DO. The cardiovascular/thoracic surgery practice, part of the hospital-owned First Physicians Group, is located in the Heart and Vascular Services building, 1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 303. Dr. Fong will begin seeing new patients the week of Sept. 28. For appointments, call (941) 917-8791.

In addition to general cardiovascular/thoracic surgery, Dr. Fong’s specialty and practice focus will include:

  • Complex Aortic Surgery
  • Thoracic/Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (TEVAR/EVAR)
  • Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Dr. Fong’s skills also will enhance and complement the group’s work in minimally invasive mitral valve repair and surgical treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (MAZE Procedure) and valve disorders (TAVR).

“Dr. Fong was a great match for us, and we are very happy he is joining our team,” said Dr. Sell, who serves as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery for Sarasota Memorial. “His specialized skills in complex and minimally invasive cardiac surgery and more than 20 years experience performing a wide range of cardiothoracic procedures adds an extra layer of expertise to our team.”

Dr. Fong’s decision to join the Sarasota Memorial team comes at a time of significant growth for the health system’s cardiac surgery program. In 2012, Sarasota Memorial affiliated with Columbia University Medical Center Division of Cardiac Surgery, which helped SMH hand-pick Dr. Sell to expand and advance its cardiac surgery program. The Columbia affiliation, which provides collaborative training opportunities and accelerates Sarasota Memorial’s ability to pioneer new technology and innovative treatment options, has helped attract top-notch specialists to the hospital.

Dr. Fong said the access to research and advances afforded by the affiliation, coupled with the hospital’s strong focus on quality outcomes, were pivotal factors in his decision to join SMH.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in high performing, nationally recognized programs,” he said. “I am impressed with SMH’s leadership and commitment to staying at the forefront of cardiac care and look forward to working with this outstanding team.”

Dr. Fong worked for 15 years as a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with the Ocala Heart Institute, helping it open cardiac surgery programs in Venice, Winter Haven, Stuart and Citrus County, Fla., and before that served as an attending cardiothoracic surgeon at Rochester General Hospital in New York. He has performed more than 5,000 cardiovascular and thoracic surgeries with outcomes that helped his practices attain top 50 and top 100 designations over several years.

Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Fong was among a select group of students who earned their medical degrees through an accelerated five-year Penn State-Jefferson Premedical-Medical Program at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University. He completed his medical degree in 1987, followed by residency training in General Surgery at Bassett Hospital in New York, an affiliate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. During that time, he spent six months in a research fellowship at Columbia’s Cardiac Transplantation Research Laboratory. He completed his training with a cardiothoracic surgery residency at University of Rochester, Strong Memorial Hospital in 1995.