Department of Thoracic Surgery

Joe B. (Bill) Putnam, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.

Ingram Professor of Surgery
Chairman, Department of Thoracic Surgery
Program Director, Resident Education in Thoracic Surgery
Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics

Dr. Putnam has extensive experience in the surgical management of a wide spectrum of simple and complex thoracic diseases including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, pulmonary metastases, benign and malignant pleural diseases, and mediastinal and chest wall tumors. He has expertise in resection of complex thoracic tumors, advanced intrathoracic cancers, reoperative thoracic surgery (including reoperative esophageal surgery), and the multi-disciplinary management of thoracic neoplasms. His research has focused on improving outcomes in thoracic surgery, and evaluating novel therapies for thoracic diseases.

Dr. Putnam attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his A.B. with honors in Chemistry and A.B. in Zoology in 1975, and M.D. in 1979. He completed his Surgical Internship and Junior Assistant Resident in Surgery, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

From 1981-1984, Dr. Putnam was a Medical Staff Fellow with the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. He completed his Surgery residency at The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York in 1986, and was certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Putnam received additional residency education in Thoracic Surgery and Cardiac Surgery at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) from 1986 to 1988, leading to certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He joined the faculty of The Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1988.  In 1995, he assumed the duties as Deputy Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.  He was promoted to Professor of Surgery in 2000.

During Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991) he was activated as a Naval Reservist and assumed duties as Department Head, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Naval Hospital San Diego. Dr. Putnam is recently retired as Captain (O-6), Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserve.

Dr. Putnam was appointed as Professor and founding Chairman, Department of Thoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Program Director for the residency education program in Thoracic Surgery in 2004. He has clinical responsibilities at Vanderbilt University Medical Center/Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Nashville Campus). He has a secondary appointment as Professor of Biomedical Informatics. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and served on its Board of Governors from 2007–2013 as a representative of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association.  He is a member of the American Surgical Association, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Southern Surgical Association, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.  Dr. Putnam was elected as a Director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery in 2013.

Dr. Putnam's curriculum vitae is available here:  /documents/thoracic/files/Putnam%20CV%20rev%20Oct%202013.doc


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