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 these thoracic neoplasms. His research has focused on improving outcomes in thoracic surgery, and evaluating novel therapies for thoracic diseases.
Dr. Putnam was born in Franklin, North Carolina. In 1975, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his A.B. with honors in Chemistry, and A.B. in Zoology; remaining at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Putnam received his M.D., in 1979. He completed his Surgical Internship and Junior Assistant Resident in Surgery, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
Between 1981, and 1984, Dr. Putnam spent three years as a Medical Staff Fellow with the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute / National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. During 1984 - 1986 he completed his General Surgery residency at The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York, as a Senior Assistant Resident and Chief Resident in Surgery, and 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 as an Assistant Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery.
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 currently holds the rank of Captain (O-6), Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserves (IRR).
In 1994 he was promoted to the position of Associate Surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery with Tenure, and in 1995, he assumed the duties as Deputy Chairman of the department. Dr. Putnam was promoted to Professor of Surgery in 2000.
Dr. Putnam was appointed as Professor and Chairman, Department of Thoracic Surgery at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Program Director for the residency education program in Thoracic Surgery in 2005. He has clinical responsibilities at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center / Vanderbilt University Hospital, the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Nashville Campus), and the Nashville General Hospital. He has a secondary appointment as Professor within the Department of Biomedical Informatics. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and serves on its Board of Governors as a representative of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association. He is a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Southern Surgical Association. In 2012, Dr. Putnam was nominated to serve on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
Dr. Putnam's curriculum vitae is available in pdf format: documents/thoracic/files/Putnam CV rev Dec 20 2012.docx