Veterans Affairs General Surgery


About Us

The Palo Alto Veterans Health Care System is a Dean’s affiliated hospital of Stanford University and serves the veteran population in VISN 21 (Hawaii, Northern California, and Nevada) as well as taking complex surgical care cases as referrals from VAs around the nation. Our immediate catchment area extends from Yosemite, the central valley, east bay, peninsula, south bay, and south coast past Salinas. We are the designated complex care facility for referrals from VISN 21. We are proud to serve our veteran patients and fulfill the promise made by President Lincoln in his second inaugural address “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” VA care has been shown to be a leader in US medicine in outcomes, minimization of racial disparities in care, and complex care of the veteran patients who often have other comorbities compared to the general population.

Program Priorities

Our service provides state of the art open, laparoscopic, and robotic treatment of typical surgical conditions such as hernia, soft tissue masses, endocrine, gallbladder, colon and rectal surgery. We have two recognized areas of special emphasis-complex gastrointestinal cancer care including stomach, liver, pancreas, intestine, sarcoma, melanoma, and colorectal tumors. The VA has been an ACS Commission of Cancer Certified Caner program for more than 20 years. In addition, we are a national referral center for bariatric surgery which features a recognized multidisciplinary approach to the complex patient with morbid obesity.

Surgeons

Our faculty are all board-certified Stanford faculty members with additional training in liver/pancreas/gallbaldder, minimally invasive surgery, bariatrics, robotics, endocrine, hernia, sarcoma, and colorectal surgery. We are a training site of the Stanford medical school and Department of Surgery. Patients are focused to a surgical specialist who is an expert in their specific disease area.

Professor of Surgery (General Surgery) at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System

Bio

Dr. Wren is a board certified general surgeon who specializes in the surgical treatment of gastrointestinal cancer: including stomach, pancreas, intestinal, and colon and rectal cancers. She completed fellowship training in advanced hepatobiliary surgery and performs open, laparoscopic, and robotic approaches to these cancers. Dr. Wren is also very involved in humanitarian surgery and global surgery. She works and manages educational partnerships in Sub Saharan Africa. She is faculty fellow of the Stanford Center for Innovation and Global Health.
Clinical Assistant Professor, Surgery - General Surgery

Bio

Dr. Dua is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Stanford. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her medical degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She completed her general surgery residency at Stanford University School of Medicine with a two year post-doctoral research fellowship in vascular biology. She then went on to do a one year fellowship in minimally invasive and robotic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and a second two year fellowship in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery back at Stanford University prior to joining the division faculty. Her clinical focus is in gastrointestinal oncology with a focus on benign and malignant disease of the liver, pancreas, and bile duct. She also performs oncologic resections for tumors of the distal esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Dr. Dua is the associate program director for the HPB fellowship, an active instructor in the Stanford University surgical clerkship curriculum for medical students, and also serves as the regional HPB Surgeon at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Dr. Dua participates in the Benign Pancreas Program at Stanford and her research includes both benign and malignant aspects of GI/HPB surgery with a focus on the management of severe pancreatitis as well as surgical strategies for the treatment of necrotizing pancreatitis. Other research interests include the application of minimally invasive approaches to the surgical management of HPB diseases including laparoscopic techniques in liver surgery and the use of laparoscopic and robotic platforms in pancreatic surgery. She currently has an ongoing clinical trial looking at the myoelectric activity of the stomach and intestine following pancreaticoduodenectomy as a function of predicting which patients are at higher risk of developing delayed gastric emptying or postoperative ileus. This study is being performed concurrently with the introduction of the division’s enhanced recovery after surgery perioperative care pathways to facilitate improved patient outcomes in those undergoing pancreatic resections.
Associate Professor of Surgery (General Surgery) at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Health Care Center

Bio

I am a fellowship-trained minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon, who is involved in national surgical and specialty societies. My area of clinical and research interest is in outcomes of metabolic and bariatric surgery in special populations. As a surgeon at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, I am specifically interested in the outcomes of weight loss surgery in obese Veterans, who represent a population with a significant burden of co-morbidity, as well as challenging social, economic, and geographic circumstances. In addition, I am currently studying Veterans with spinal cord injury, with a goal to identify gaps in assessment and management of obesity in this special population.
Stanford Medicine Professor of Surgery

Bio

Dr. Mary T. Hawn is the Stanford Medicine Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Stanford University. Dr. Hawn, a native of Michigan, received her education and surgical training at the University of Michigan. Her clinical area of specialty is minimally invasive foregut surgery. Dr. Hawn is a funded health services researcher and her projects focus on quality measurement and policy in surgical populations. She is a Director for the American Board of Surgery and serves on the editorial board of Annals of Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery and the American Journal of Surgery. Dr. Hawn has several additional leadership roles in American Surgery including Chair of the American College of Surgeons Scientific Forum Committee and as a Trustee and Treasurer for the Surgical Society of the Alimentary Tract. She is the co-Editor of a new surgical textbook Operative Techniques in Surgery.
Associate Professor of Surgery (General Surgery) at the Stanford University Medical Center

Bio

James R. Korndorffer, Jr. MD MHPE FACS is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University. Previously he served as Vice chair of Surgery at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. While at Tulane he also was the Surgery Residency Program Director, the assistant dean for Graduate medical education and the Medical Director of the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training. He received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University, his Medical Degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and his Masters in Health Professions Education from the University of Illinois Chicago. His general surgery residency was completed at The Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina and his Advanced Laparoscopic Fellowship was completed at Tulane University. He is actively involved in numerous national societies including the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, the Association for Surgical Education, and the Association for Program Directors in Surgery. He serves on the American College of Surgeons Committee on Validation of Surgical Knowledge and Skills, SAGES Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery and Development Committees and also serves as the APDS research committee vice chair. Dr. Korndorffer has published over 60 papers in peer reviewed journals, 5 book chapters and has presented at over 100 national meetings. Dr. Korndorffer’s clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery for gastrointestinal disorders and hernias. His research interests include surgical education, surgical simulation, patient safety, and patient care quality.
Clinical Instructor (Affiliated) [Vapahcs], Surgery - General Surgery Staff, Surgery - General Surgery
Clinical Assistant Professor, Surgery - General Surgery

Bio

Dr. Lin is a board-certified, fellowship-trained endocrine surgeon whose clinical practice is focused on the surgical management of patients with tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, Dr. Lin pursued her medical training on the east coast, where she completed her residency in general surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and fellowship in endocrine surgery at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2014, Dr. Lin joined the faculty at Stanford School of Medicine and currently serves as Director of the newly established Parathyroid Center at Stanford. Dr. Lin is dedicated to delivering expert, compassionate surgical care that is evidence-based, yet customized to the needs and values of each patient. Her particular areas of clinical expertise are in minimally-invasive parathyroid surgery, treatment of thyroid cancer, and laparoscopic adrenal surgery. Her research focuses on physician wellness and exploring its impact on the physician-patient relationship and clinical outcomes.
Professor of Surgery (General Surgery) at the Stanford University Medical Center

Bio

Arden M. Morris, MD, MPH is professor and vice chair of clinical research in the Department of Surgery, director of the Stanford-Surgery Policy, Improvement Research and Education (S-SPIRE) Center, and core faculty in the Stanford Department of Health Research and Policy. Dr. Morris joined Stanford in 2016 from the University of Michigan where she was an associate professor and division chief of colorectal surgery. In her research, she uses mixed methods to focus on improving quality and equity in surgical care. She has deployed her expertise in a number of leadership and advisory roles and policy panels such as National Quality Forum’s Consensus Standards and Approval Committee and the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee.
Clinical Associate Professor, Surgery - General Surgery Clinical Associate Professor, Surgery - Pediatric Surgery

Bio

Dr. Janey S.A. Pratt, MD, FACS, FASMBS is a general surgeon who specializes in Robotic Hernia repair and Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (MBS). She began her career in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a founding member of the MGH Weight Center. As surgical director she introduced minimally invasive MBS and adolescent MBS to MGH in 2001 and 2007 respectively. In 2011 Dr. Pratt took over as Director at the MGH Weight Center and continued to work on several national committees towards improving access and care of adolescents with severe obesity. Dr. Pratt continued to practice general surgery through out her tenure at MGH seeing patients with breast cancer, hernias, and obesity. She performed advance minimally invasive surgery(MIS) as well as advanced endoscopy. In 2016 Dr. Pratt moved to California where she began her work at Stanford University, splitting her time between the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and the Palo Alto VA. She performs Minimally Invasive MBS at both institutions as well as endoscopy. Dr. Pratt has trained in robotic surgery and performs robotic assisted hernia repairs on complex and simple hernias. As a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery, Dr. Pratt is involved in training Stanford medical students and residents both in the OR, in the clinic, in the simulation labs and in the class room. Dr. Pratt is the associate program director of the VA MIS fellowship program, and Chair of the Pediatric Committee of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Pratt has been involved in creating and updated guidelines for Adolescent MBS since 2005. In 2018 she was first author on the ASMBS Pediatric Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Guidelines. Her other research interests include: MIS approaches to hernia repair and bowel obstruction, pediatric obesity treatment and the use of medications to improve outcomes of MBS. Dr. Pratt frequently lectures on the subject of Adolescent Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Associate Professor of Surgery (General Surgery) at the Stanford University Medical Center

Bio

Dr. Visser is a native of San Francisco, the youngest of eight children. He attended Deep Springs College in Eastern California and then went on to earn his BS at Cornell University in Ithaca NY. After receiving his MD degree at the University of California - San Francisco, he stayed at UCSF for his residency training in general surgery. He then completed specialized fellowship training in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery (also called HPB surgery) at the University of Edinburgh in Ediburgh, UK. Dr. Visser is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. His principle practice is at Stanford Hospital and the Stanford Cancer Center, but he is also a staff surgeon at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, serving our veteran patients. Dr. Visser is actively involved in the General Surgery training program and is the program director for the Stanford Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) Surgery fellowship program. Dr. Visser was honored in 2011 with the John Collins Memorial Teaching Award, an annual faculty recognition selected by the entire body of general surgery residents. He also received the Best Rotation Award in 2015, which is selected by Stanford chief residents in general surgery. He is the Medical Director of the GI Cancer Care Program at the Stanford Cancer Center.
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VA Palo Alto

3801 Miranda Avenue
Palo Alto CA, 94304
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650-493-5000 | 800-455-0057