Department of Surgery

Our Department of Surgery provides comprehensive care across the practices of eight divisions representing our surgical specialties. We offer a full spectrum of surgical care, from addressing minor ailments to multiply-injured trauma care to major cancer-related procedures for brain, throat, breast, gastrointestinal and urologic cancer. We use traditional surgical methods as well as advanced robotics and laparoscopic approaches to minimally invasive procedures. Renowned for our high standards, we emphasize both surgical precision and patient experience. Our team of board-certified specialists are committed to elevating clinical care and continuously participate in research and medical education dedicated to advancing our field.

Department Chair:  Amy Day, MD

Department Vice Chair:  Walter Biffl, MD

Department Advanced Practice Clinician Lead: Victoria Vincent, PA

Clinical Associate Vice President, Surgery Services:  Dale Mitchell, MD

Clinical Vice President, Surgery Services:  Christopher Marsh, MD

Division of General Surgery Amy Day, MD

Bobby Brookover, MD, Division Associate Head

Division of Head & Neck Surgery and Otology Tom Alexander, MD
Division of Neurosurgery Christopher Uchiyama, MD
Division of Organ Transplantation Jonathan Fisher, MD
Division of Ophthalmology & Optometry Quang Nguyen, MD
Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Salvatore Pacella, MD
Division of Trauma & Critical Care Surgery Walter Biffl, MD
Division of Urology Jeffery Zeitung, MD
Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery

Highlights, Research & Awards

  • US News and World Report has selected numerous surgery divisions for recognition, including GI Surgery (#1 in San Diego, #5 in California and #25 in the United States); Neurosurgery (#2 in San Diego, #10 in California, and top 50 in the United States); and Urology (#1 in San Diego and Top 100 in the nation).

  • Abdominal wall reconstruction services, in collaboration with the Scripps Clinic Division of Plastic Surgery.

  • Innovative, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery services at Scripps Green Hospital have contributed to its selection as a Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery.

  • Numerous of our Department physicians have been named to national or San Diego-based “Top Doctors” listings, many of them several times over. These include:

    • General Surgery: Amy Day, MD; Mark Takata, MD; Lynn Weston, MD,; and Mary Wilde, MD
    • Head & Neck Surgery and Otology: Andrew Beros, MD and Brendan Gaylis, MD
    • Neurosurgery: Christopher Uchiyama, MD
    • Ophthalmology & Optometry: Dana Casey Chan, MD; Leah Levi, MD;
    • Francis Mah, MD; Geva Mannor, MD; Gregory Ostrow, MD; and Quang Nguyen, MD
    • Organ & Cell Transplantation: Catherine Frenette, MD; Christopher Marsh, MD; Randolph Schaffer, MD, Division of Organ & Cell Transplantation
    • Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: Salvatore Pacella, MD,
    • Urology: Carole Kashefi, MD
  • Recognitions/Awards/Highlights/Projects in Progress:

    • Dr. Aye Moe Thu Ma, 2018 recipient of the Humanism in Medicine Award, given by the American Society of Breast Surgeons to one practicing physician annually
    • Dr. Mark Takata’s bariatric surgery innovation research
    • Dr. Eugene Rumsey received the Donald Sturtz Teaching Award from the Balboa Hospital Navy Surgical Chief Residents in 2005
    • Dr. Mary Wilde’s Intraoperative Electron Radiation Therapy research protocol for breast cancer
  • Some publication highlights for the Department of Surgery include:

    • Update on bariatric surgical procedures and an introduction to the implantable weight loss device: the Maestro Rechargeable System. Hwang SS, Takata MC, Fujioka K, Fuller W. Med Devices (Auckl). 2016 Aug 17;9:291-9. doi: 10.2147/MDER.S106223. eCollection 2016. Review.
    • Treatment of OSA with CPAP Is Associated with Improvement in PTSD Symptoms among Veterans. Orr JE, Smales C, Alexander TH, Stepnowsky C, Pillar G, Malhotra A, Sarmiento KF. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017 Jan 15;13(1):57-63. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.6388. PMID: 27707436
    • Macrophages form functional vascular mimicry channels in vivo. Barnett FH, Rosenfeld M, Wood M, Kiosses WB, Usui Y, Marchetti V, Aguilar E, Friedlander M.
      Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 11;6:36659. doi: 10.1038/srep36659. PMID: 27834402
    • Clinical utility of cyclosporine (CsA) ophthalmic emulsion 0.05% for symptomatic relief in people with chronic dry eye: a review of the literature. Rhee MK, Mah FS. Clin Ophthalmol. 2017 Jun 21;11:1157-1166. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S113437. eCollection 2017. Review. PMID: 28790800
    • Chemodenervation of extraocular muscles with botulinum toxin in thyroid eye disease.
      Granet DB, Hodgson N, Godfrey KJ, Ventura R, Kikkawa DO, Levi L, Kinori M. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2016 May;254(5):999-1003. Doi: 10.1007/s00417-016-3281-6. Epub 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26860528
    • Mullers Muscle Conjunctival Resection for Treatment of Contact Lens-Associated Ptosis. Teo L, Lagler CP, Mannor G, Glass LD, Freitag SK. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Jul-Aug;32(4):257-60. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000479. PMID: 25906332
    • Special Commentary: Early Clinical Development of Cell Replacement Therapy: Considerations for the National Eye Institute Audacious Goals Initiative. Levin LA, Miller JW, Zack DJ, Friedlander M, Smith LEH. Ophthalmology. 2017 Jul;124(7):926-934. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.02.017. Epub 2017 Mar 29. Review. PMID: 28365209
    • Occurrence and Recurrence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Successful Direct-Acting Antiviral Therapy for Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection. Grandhe S, Frenette CT. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2017 Jul;13(7):421-425. PMID:28867970
    • Hospital readmissions following HLA-incompatible live donor kidney transplantation: A multi-center study. Orandi BJ, Luo X, King EA, Garonzik-Wang JM, Bae S, Montgomery RA, Stegall MD, Jordan SC, Oberholzer J, Dunn TB, Ratner LE, Kapur S, Pelletier RP, Roberts JP, Melcher ML, Singh P, Sudan DL, Posner MP, El-Amm JM, Shapiro R, Cooper M, Lipkowitz GS, Rees MA, Marsh CL, Sankari BR, Gerber DA, Nelson PW, Wellen J, Bozorgzadeh A, Osama Gaber A, Segev DL. Am J Transplant. 2017 Aug 21. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14472. PMID: 28834181
    • Social media and organ donation: Ethically navigating the next frontier.
      Henderson ML, Clayville KA, Fisher JS, Kuntz KK, Mysel H, Purnell TS, Schaffer RL, Sherman LA, Willock EP, Gordon EJ. Am J Transplant. 2017 Jul 25. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14444. PMID:28744966
    • Attitudes and barriers to the use of DCD livers: Comparison of a U.S. transplant center survey to the United Network for Organ Sharing data. Sher L, Quintini C, Fayek SA, Abt P, Lo M, Yan P, Ji L, Groshen S, Case J, Marsh CL. Liver Transpl. 2017 Aug 17. doi: 10.1002/lt.24855. PMID:28834180
  • Projects in Development:

    • Mark Takata, MD,; IRB-16-6882, “A prospective, single arm, multi-center study evaluating the short-term clinical outcomes of ventral hernias treated with OviTex® reinforced bioscaffold (Protocol TB2016.01.01)”
    • Adam Burdick, MD, IRB-17-6960, “Local Field Potential Recording In the Basal Ganglia”
    • Jonathan Fisher, MD, IRB-16-6817, “Cannabis and Other Substance Use in Solid Organ Transplant Patients”
    • Catherine Frenette, MD, IRB-17-7039, “A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Emricasan, an Oral Caspase Inhibitor, in Subjects with Decompensated Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Cirrhosis (Protocol IDN-6556-17)”
    • Christopher Marsh, MD, HSC-07-4715, “Proteomics/Genomics of Graft Reperfusion Injury Modulated by Thymoglobulin”
    • Randolph Schaffer, III, MD, IRB-17-7068 “The Donor Application: Utilizing Social Media to Identify Potential Live Organ Donors”
    • Francis Mah, MD, IRB-18-7225 “A Double-Masked, Randomized, Multicenter, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of SJP-0035 0. 001 % for the Treatment of Patients with Dry Eye Disease (DELTA-1 Study)”
    • Gregory Ostrow, MD, IRB-18-7150 “Adverse Events Questionnaire for Patients using off-label Atropine 0.01% to Slow the Progression of Myopia “
    • Quang Nguyen, MD, IRB-13-6282, “A Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Effectiveness of the Hydrus Implant for Lowering Intraocular Pressure in Glaucoma Patients Undergoing Cataract Surgery”
    • Walter Biffl, MD, IRB-18-7165 “Current Diagnosis and Management of Pancreatic Injuries – Western Trauma Association Multi- Center Trial”
      Gail Tominaga, MD, IRB-18-7199 “Immediate Head CT Following Craniotomy I Craniectomy for Acute Trauma”
    • Fady Nasrallah, MD, IRB-18-7207 “Massive Transfusion Protocol Outcomes In Trauma And Non-trauma Patients”
    • Carol Kashefi, MD, IRB-16-6916, “Identification of Biomarkers Predicting Response to BCG Treatment in Bladder Cancer”
    • Christopher Uchiyama, MD, Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cell Heterogeneity, 2018
    • Jonathan Fisher, MD, Substance use in organ transplant patients, 2016
    • Randolph Schaffer, MD, Pancreatic Cancer T-Cell Sequencing, 2018


The Department of Surgery members of SCMG serve as the faculty for post-residency Fellowships in the surgical specialties of Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgery and Organ & Cell Transplantation. They also serve as faculty for residency rotation in surgical specialties from other institutions including General Surgery, Head & Neck Surgery and Otology, Organ & Cell Transplantation and Trauma & Acute Care Surgery (all for U.S. Naval Medical Center San Diego).

A description and details of each training program are included in the respective specialty divisional webpage.

For additional information, please visit our Graduate Medical Education page.