The Team

Thomas K. Varghese, Jr., MD, MS

Dr. Thomas Varghese is the founding Medical Director of the Strong for Surgery program, a novel patient-centered approach in Washington State to improving the health of patients in the pre-surgical clinic. Dr. Varghese is currently Head, Section of General Thoracic Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He previously served as an Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Washington, an Associate Program Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery residency, and the Director of Thoracic Surgery at Harborview Medical Center, as well as providing care at Northwest Hospital (both hospitals being members of the UW Medicine network).

Dr. Varghese's clinical interests are in benign and malignant disease of the lungs, esophagus, chest wall and mediastinum; thoracic trauma; and minimally invasive applications for general thoracic surgery. He is dedicated to the education of healthcare providers, patients, medical students, residents and fellows and is also a core faculty member of the Institute of Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS). Dr. Varghese’s research interests include methods to promote the uptake of research findings into healthcare (implementation science); educational interventions for patient-centered care; and surgical outcomes and quality of care research using population-based data, cost & utility analyses and patient-derived outcomes. Follow Dr. Varghese on Twitter.

Bekky Herr

Bekky is a Public Information Specialist for the Strong for Surgery campaign and for the learning healthcare system CERTAIN. With a background in multi-media content production, she coordinates communications and outreach through the Strong for Surgery website, newsletter, and social media platforms.  She is delighted to be working on a public health campaign that has the potential to change the lives of patients across Washington State, and is energized by the opportunities Strong for Surgery is building as it engages stakeholders in healthcare across the country.