For Immediate Release December 29, 2020


Stephanie Janard:

Dr. Forbess, one of the nation's most skilled surgeons in complex pediatric and neonatal cardiovascular cases, will serve as the program's Surgical Director

Leaders at University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) recently announced that nationally renowned pediatric and neonatal cardiovascular surgeon Joseph M. Forbess, MD, MBA, is the new Surgical Director of the Children's Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital. He has also been appointed Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at UMSOM.

"We welcome Dr. Forbess to the Children's Heart Program, an institution known worldwide for successfully treating the youngest cardiac patients—many with highly complex needs that can't be met anywhere else. Dr. Forbess brings pioneering innovations in surgery that will make a profound difference for these patients and their families," said Bert W. O'Malley, Jr., MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMMC, where the children's hospital is located.

Dr. Forbess is universally regarded as one of the top pediatric and neonatal cardiovascular surgeons in the field. He has consistently led programs that have both achieved 3-star rankings (the highest possible) from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and national prominence in the US News and World Report rankings. For the past three years, he was a Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He also served as Chief of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery for Advocate Children's Hospital and co-director of the Advocate Children's Heart Institute in Park Ridge, Ill. Dr. Forbess will join K. Barry Deatrick, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UMSOM and pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, to continue to build Maryland's nationally ranked Children's Heart Program.

"On behalf of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the University of Maryland Children's Hospital, I want to welcome Dr. Forbess to the Children's Heart Program, where his skills and drive to innovate will help save many young lives. We are thrilled that he is joining our team to provide the best complex pediatric care available—nationally and globally," said Steven J. Czinn, MD, the Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Chair of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Director of the University of Maryland Children's Hospital.

Dr. Forbess brings an extensive background in research, with more than 100 research articles published in peer-reviewed journals focusing on surgical techniques and treatments for cardiac disease in neonates and young children. One of his latest research grants was to study the use of advanced wireless wearable sensors for home monitoring in pediatric patients with congenital heart disease.

He recently developed an implantable miniaturized oximeter, and has participated in the development of a synthetic cardiovascular graft that is now in clinical use. Presently, Dr. Forbess is leading a basic research effort that is focused on the development of surgical techniques to stimulate and amplify the innate regenerative capacity of the heart muscle.

Dr. Forbess obtained his undergraduate (BS) and MD degrees from Harvard University. He completed his General Surgery Residency and Cardiothoracic Fellowship at Duke University. He went on to complete a Congenital Heart Fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital and remained on the faculty there for several years. He subsequently was recruited to Emory University in Atlanta and then to University of Texas-Southwestern where he was Professor of Surgery, Chairman of the Division of Pediatric Heart Surgery, and the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Research. Dr. Forbess also has a healthcare-focused MBA Degree from the University of Texas -Dallas School of Management.

"I am thrilled to have Dr. Forbess join our faculty," said Christine Lau, MD, MBA, the Buxton Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at UMSOM. "As one of the preeminent surgeons in his field, he will be the linchpin to continue to grow our pediatric cardiac surgery program, which has been recognized as one of the nation's leading children's heart programs."

UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, also praised the addition of Dr. Forbess to the school and Children's Heart Program.

"We are very pleased to welcome this gifted cardiac surgeon to the UM Medicine," said Dr. Reece, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UMB, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. "As we continue to push the boundaries of science in search of new therapeutic and surgical tools for our tiniest patients, Dr. Forbess will help us continue the transformation that is already taking place in our Children's Heart Program."

The University of Maryland Children's Hospital is ranked by US News & World Report as one of the "Best Children's Hospitals for Cardiology and Heart Surgery." Among children's hospitals nationally, the Children's Heart Program at the hospital ranks among the top 50 in the nation out of nearly 200 qualified pediatric heart centers. The hospital is known for pioneering novel approaches to improve the lives of patients with many different types of pediatric heart conditions, including successfully treating adults with congenital heart disease; pioneering new ways to track, monitor, and treat heart conditions for babies in utero; and developing hybrid surgical and catheterization procedures for the most complex pediatric heart conditions as appropriate.

Learn more about the Children's Heart Program.

About the University of Maryland Children's Hospital

The University of Maryland Children's Hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center is recognized throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region as a resource for critically and chronically ill children. UMCH physicians and staff excel in combining state-of-the-art medicine with family-centered care. More than 100 physicians specialize in understanding how to treat conditions and diseases in children, including congenital heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy, and gastrointestinal disorders. The Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides the highest level of care to the tiniest newborns. To learn more about the University of Maryland Children's Hospital, please visit

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.

With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $563 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System ("University of Maryland Medicine") has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community.

The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit