Dr. Vincent Rowe joins Surgery as Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Vincent Rowe, MD

By Alison Skilbred | December 1, 2022

Dr. Vincent Lopez Rowe has joined the department of Surgery as Professor of Clinical Surgery and Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Health. Dr. Rowe assumes this position as Dr. Peter Lawrence steps down after two decades in the role. 

Prior to his recruitment to UCLA, Dr. Rowe served as Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. He also held the roles of Program Director for the Vascular Surgery Integrated and Independent Residencies; Director of Pediatric Vascular Surgical Services at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles; and Co-Director of the USC Center for Limb Preservation at Keck Medical Center, Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA). 

Dr. Rowe received his medical degree from the University of Southern California, completed internship and residency in General Surgery at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles, and completed Vascular Surgery fellowship training at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Dr. Rowe is an accomplished investigator whose bibliography includes more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and more than 30 book chapters. He has received more than $1.7M in research funding. 

Dr. Rowe is a passionate leader in issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the vascular surgery community. Having served as the chair of the Society of Vascular Surgery Committee for Diversity for the past several years, Dr. Rowe is committed to the advancements of underrepresented groups both in clinical practice and patient access. His recent efforts include a comprehensive investigation of the specific, disparate issues of encountered by Hispanic vascular patients and co-founding of the Society of Black Vascular Surgeons. 

Dr. Rowe is a national leader in Vascular Surgery having held roles in the American Surgical Association, the American Board of Surgery, the Society of Vascular Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, the Association Program Directors of Vascular Surgery, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the Society of Black Vascular Surgeons, and the American Heart Association. 

In announcing this transition, we wish to recognize Dr. Lawrence’s many years of exceptional leadership as Division Chief as well as his entire academic career, all of it characterized by highly distinguished contributions to the research, teaching, clinical, and community missions of our  Health System and School. We look forward to his continuing role as an Emeritus Professor for years to come.  

Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Transition

Peter Lawrence Oct.2018

By Alison Skilbred | September 30, 2022

It is with bittersweet emotions that we announce that Dr. Peter Lawrence, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, will be transitioning from his leadership role and into an initial phase of retirement later this year.  The transition will begin on December 1, 2022, when Dr. Vincent Rowe will join the department as the new Division Chief. Dr. Lawrence’s official retirement will begin on June 29, 2023, when he will become an Emeritus Professor of Surgery. 

Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Lawrence completed his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed General Surgery residency and Vascular Surgery fellowship training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. Following training, Dr. Lawrence served as a faculty member and in various leadership positions at the University of Utah, including Chief of Vascular Surgery, Chief of Surgery at the VA and Vice Chair of Surgery over the span of two decades. 

Dr. Lawrence joined the department of Surgery at UCLA in 2003, following five years as Dean of Clinical Affairs at UC Irvine. Dr. Lawrence left UCI when his wife, the esteemed Karen Lawrence, PhD accepted a position as Dean of Humanities. His experience as Dean of Clinical Affairs provided important administrative experience but took him away from education, research, and clinical practice which are his preferred focus. The UCLA position was appealing from this perspective, and also offered an opportunity to build a relatively new Vascular Surgery division and navigate through a period of financial instability. 

Over the course of eight years, Dr. Lawrence transformed the divisional deficit into a surplus through a multi-faceted approach including recruitment of talented faculty members (Drs. Rigberg, DeRubertis, and Jimenez initially, followed by Drs. O’Connell, Farley, Yang, Woo, Rollo, and Ulloa), construction of a procedural center, and outsourcing some services, such as Wound Care. Podiatry joined the division more recently and has thrived under the leadership of Aksone Nouvong and David Aungst. All of these efforts were also generously aided by the late Leslie Gonda, who provided endowment funds to support many successful projects. 

These accomplishments in administrative leadership have been matched by Dr. Lawrence’s work in clinical surgery and education. There have also been important academic endeavors both within and outside of UCLA. 

Dr. Lawrence is a busy clinical surgeon. He has performed many innovative lower extremity revascularization procedures, as well as several of the first minimally invasive venous procedures performed in the US. Under his leadership, other clinical innovations by division faculty members include the first US commercial endograft placed by Drs. Wesley Moore and William Quinones-Baldrich, the first hybrid procedure for a thoracoabdominal aneurysm by Dr. Quinones, and many firsts in management of thoracic outlet syndrome by Dr. Hugh Gelabert.

Dr. Lawrence is a world-renowned surgical educator who has mentored countless medical students, residents, and fellows. He has been a visiting professor at over 55 medical schools throughout the world and his bibliography numbers more than 300 publications including research papers, textbooks, and chapters. His student textbook, Essentials of General Surgery and Essentials of Surgical Specialties, is now in its 6th edition and is used by the majority of the medical schools in the US. His contributions as a faculty member have helped to build the future of the vascular surgery field, as many of his trainees have ascended to leadership positions in Vascular Surgery. 

While at UCLA, Dr. Lawrence founded the Vascular Low-Frequency Diseases Consortium, comprised of 120 domestic and international institutions that study uncommon vascular diseases and continues today under Dr. Karen Woo’s direction. Dr. Lawrence has served as president of six Surgical and Vascular Surgical societies, including the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), the preeminent vascular society. He is currently the Chair of the SVS Vascular Disease Foundation, which funds basic, translational, and clinical vascular care to underserved communities. He was also editor of four Vascular Surgery journals from 2016-2022. 

Dr. Lawrence has shared that none of this record of success would have been possible if not for the great team of staff, residents, and faculty that is UCLA Vascular Surgery. “The staff, too many to name, but led by Haruko Uchida, Carolina Valencia, and Rosa Trejo for many years, are less visible but the key to our success and the key to great patient care,” he says. Each year, Dr. Lawrence and his wife have hosted a summer swim party and a holiday party for the entire division that are as renowned – okay, nearly as renowned -- as his eminent career. He will deeply miss those collaborations and partnerships forged over the years. 

For the past 20 years, Dr. Lawrence has been an omnipresent supporter and mentor, providing countless opportunities to enhance my academic career.  I am profoundly grateful for the lessons learned and those he continues to impart.  He should serve as a benchmark for other academic leaders and mentors.  His lasting impact on the field of Vascular Surgery and the careers of young surgeons is immeasurable. -Juan Carlos (JC) Jimenez, Vice Chair of JEDI and Vascular Surgery faculty member. 

Dr. Lawrence is still determining whether he will remain involved in his scholarship activities and mentoring or begin full retirement in June, but the draw of more time with family is powerful. His wonderful wife, Karen, has had an eminent career including a decade as president of Sarah Lawrence College and now serves as president of the Huntington Library. The Lawrences have two adult sons and a grandson.

Wherever the course leads, it is with distinct gratitude that we celebrate and honor the contributions made by Dr. Peter Lawrence in our department at UCLA, nationally and around the world. We know that if the next chapter of his life is anything like that of chapters past, it will be filled with impact, honor, legacy and perhaps a dose of well-earned fun.


Top US News & World Report Rankings

US News & World Report ranks UCLA GI Surgery #4 in the country along with Gastroenterology.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Undergoes Heart Bypass Surgery at UCLA

The Los Angeles TimesBoston GlobeTimeABC NewsAssociated PressESPN and many others reported April 17 that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a UCLA basketball legend, was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease and underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery on April 16. The operation was led by Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery.  Shemin was quoted that the surgery was successful and he expected Abdul-Jabbar to make a full recovery.

What Fighting Breast Cancer Costs

A research study co-authored by Dr. Aaron Feinstein, now a resident in head and neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, about the costs of treating metastasized breast cancer was reported April 6 by NBC News.comHealthDay News and Science Codex. Feinstein was quoted. 

Thankful Liver Transplant Recipient Urges Organ Donation

The Malibu Times April 8 ran a letter to the editor from a man who received a life-saving liver transplant at UCLA. The story cited Dr. Leonard Goldstein, an assistant clinical professor of medicine, and Dr. Ronald Busuttil, executive chair of the surgery department and chief of UCLA's division of liver and pancreas transplantation.

Doctors Discuss Angelina Jolie-Pitt's Decision to Remove Ovaries

Dr. Sanaz Memarzadeh, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and member of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, was quoted in a March 24 story on Access Hollywood about actor/director Angelina Jolie-Pitt's decision to remove her fallopian tubes and ovaries in a preventive surgery against ovarian cancer. In addition, Dr. Deanna Attai, UCLA breast surgeon based in Burbank and assistant clinical professor of surgery, commented on KTTV-Channel 11 March 24 about whether other women should consider the surgery to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer. 

Gift for Pancreatic Disease Research Cited

The Santa Monica Daily Press reported March 17 on a $5 million gift to UCLA and the naming of the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases. Hirshberg established the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in 1997 in memory of her late husband, Ronald S. Hirshberg, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 54.

HealthCanal Reports on Liver Cancer Study

HealthCanal reported March 13 on a study by Dr. Vatche G. Agopian which found a new tool to predict postoperative disease recurrence in liver cancer patients who undergo transplant. Agopian is an assistant professor of surgery in the division of liver transplantation at UCLA.

TV Outlets Cover Rare Surgery to Help Teen

 KFDM-TV (Beaumont, Texas) and WFRV-TV (Green Bay, Wis.) Jan. 28;KFDX-TV (Wichita Falls, Texas) Jan. 21; WNDU-TV (South Bend, Ind.) Jan. 19; and KSAT-TV (San Antonio) Jan. 16 covered a rare surgery to improve circulation to the arm of a 16-year old who was born without a full artery to his left arm.  The team at the UCLA Aortic Center connected his shortened arm vein to the carotid artery that instantly restored blood flow and for the first time he registered a pulse in this arm. A judo champ, the teen can now continue his dream of competing and working towards a black belt.  Dr. William Quinones-Baldrich, professor of vascular surgery and director of the UCLA Aortic Center, was interviewed.

Transplant Study Continues to Garner Attention

Medscape Jan. 22 and Oncology Nurse Advisor Jan. 27 reported on a study by Dr. Vatche G. Agopian which found a new tool to predict postoperative disease recurrence in liver cancer patients who undergo transplant. Agopian is an assistant professor of surgery in the division of liver transplantation at UCLA.

Reuters Insider Features Weight Loss Device

 A Jan. 21 Reuters Insider  interview featured Dr. Erik Dutson, chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery, surgical director of the UCLA Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health and a clinical professor of surgery.  He discussed a newly FDA-approved device that stimulates a nerve to help curb appetite. This nerve normally tells the brain whether the stomach is full or empty, so the device may work by blocking this communication.

Sister-to-Brother Kidney Donation Garners Wide Media Coverage

KNBC-Channel 4KABC-Channel 7Fox 11, KAZA-Channel 54 and La Opinion June 27 covered the story of Guadalupe Villanueva and Frank Ybarra, two Oxnard residents who discovered in October 2013 that they are biological brother and sister. Guadalupe believed it was divine intervention that they made the discovery when they did because Frank was on dialysis and needed a kidney transplant; on June 24 she donated one to her newfound brother. The television coverage was carried by numerous network affiliates throughout the country. Dr. H. Albin Gritsch, surgical director of the UCLA Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, was quoted in the coverage.

Trade Covers Surgical Training Abroad Using Google Glass

Physician News Network and AT&T U-verse Tech Report featured stories about an educational project that uses Google Glass to help bring the latest hernia surgical techniques to doctors in resource-poor countries. With UCLA doctors' help, local surgeons in Paraguay and Brazil in late May wore Google Glass while performing adult surgeries to repair a common type of hernia. Through Google Glass, the surgeries were viewed "live" via wireless streaming in the United States to a select group of leading surgeons who could watch and oversee the procedures. Dr. David Chen, assistant clinical professor of general surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and surgical resident Dr. Justin Wagner, are leading the project with the non-profit organization Hernia Repair for the Underserved.  Chen was quoted in the story.

Healthcare Channel Highlights Bariatric Surgery

The Healthcare Channel Jan. 24 featured an interview with Dr. Erik Dutson, associate professor of surgery, chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery and executive medical director of the Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology.  He discussed the latest information on surgical weight loss procedures and in a separate interview on The Healthcare Channel, also discussed robotic surgery safety issues.    

Racial Disparities in Thyroid Cancer

The Huffington Post and Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported Jan. 24 on a study led by Dr. Avital Harari, assistant professor of general surgery, that found that non-white and poor individuals with thyroid cancer were much more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage metastatic disease than other patients. Harari was quoted. 

UCLA Luminary Awards Garners Headlines

The UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery's first inaugural Luminary Awards was held Jan. 22 and attended by an estimated 700 guests.  Honoring singer-songwriter John Mayer and featuring performances by Mayer and Celine Dion, the event was widely covered Jan. 24 by Perez Hilton, Examiner.com, numerous Fox News stations and dozens of other outlets. 

Kidney Chain Saves Lives, Forms Bonds

KNBC-Channel 4 and other Los Angeles stations  reported Dec. 2 on a reunion of dozens of kidney donors and recipients who participated in kidney transplant chains at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The Huffington Post reported the story Dec. 3.   Dr. Jeffrey Veale, assistant professor of urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of UCLA's kidney donor exchange program, and Dr. H. Albin Gritsch, surgical director of UCLA's kidney transplantation program and associate professor of urology, were interviewed.

Little Nikki's Brave Battle

Australia's "The Project" news program Nov 20 aired a documentary (Part 1Part 2) that followed the journey of a three-year-old girl from Perth who suffered up to 200 seizures a day that could not be controlled by medications.  She and her parents came to UCLA for treatment with the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy program. Using a functional MRI scan, the UCLA team was able to identify the seizure-causing lesion and performed successful surgery to remove it and stop her seizures.  Dr. Gary Mathern, professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, was featured.

Rare Heart-Liver Transplant 

The Fresno Bee reported Nov. 28 on the story of a woman who received a rare double heart-liver transplant at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Abbas Ardehali, professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UCLA's heart and lung transplantation program; Dr. Ronald Busuttil, executive chair of the surgery department and chief of UCLA's division of liver and pancreas transplantation; and Dr. Mario Deng, professor of cardiology and medical director of the UCLA Advanced Heart Failure-Mechanical Support-Heart Transplant Program, were quoted in the coverage.  The CBS news story aired on more than 50 CBS affiliates nationwide.

Operation Mend Helps Wounded Warriors

Northwest Arkansas Online Nov.3 highlighted UCLA's Operation Mend, a partnership between Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, that offers free reconstructive surgery and other medical care for U.S. military personnel severely wounded and disfigured during service.  The Army News Service and Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System reported Nov. 5 on a visit by Gen. John F. Campbell, the Army's vice chief of staff, to the UCLA Operation Mend program.  WEEU 830AM (Philadelphia) Nov. 5 featured an interview with Melanie Gideon, manager of Operation Mend, to discuss how the program helps wounded warriors.

Liver Transplant Surgeon Discusses Acetaminophen Toxicity

Dr. Ronald Busuttil was featured Nov. 6 in a Fox 11 News piece on liver failure caused by acetaminophen overdose. Busuttil is the Distinguished Professor and Executive Chairman of the UCLA Department of Surgery and director of the Pfleger Liver Institute.

Post-Mastectomy Surgery Options 

Dr. Jaco Festekjian, associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, was interviewed Oct. 15 on KABC-Channel 7 about the benefits of breast reconstruction following mastectomy.  The story also promoted Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day activities at UCLA.

John Mayer Thanks UCLA Throat Surgeon

The Hollywood Reporter ran an Oct. 6 story about singer-guitarist John Mayer dedicating a song in a recent Hollywood Bowl concert to his physician, Dr. Gerald Berke, chair of head and neck surgery, and thanking Berke for helping him return to performing.

Surgery Removes Half of Boy's Brain

The East Valley Tribune reported Oct. 7 on a young boy who underwent a cerebral hemispherectomy - the removal of half the brain - at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital to treat his chronic seizures. The boy's surgeon, Dr. Gary Mathern, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program, and Dr. Shaun Hussain, a neurologist at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, were quoted.

Link Found between High-Fat, High-Calorie Diet and Pancreatic Cancer

Noodls Sept. 30; I4U News, NatureWorldNewsScience Daily Oct. 1; and redOrbitScienceBlogJersey TribuneMDLinxPancreatic Cancer  Actione! Science NewsNewsdayNewsFuryU.S. News & World Report, Summit Medical Group, TopixZ News and Seton Healthcare Family Oct. 2 featured a UCLA study led by Dr. Guido Eibl, member of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor -in-residence of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, which found that mice given high-calorie diets became obese and developed pre-cancer pancreas lesions faster and more often. Dr. Eibl was quoted in the coverage.

Neurosurgeon Saves Vet From Paralysis

A columnist for the Veterans News Service Los Angeles published a Sept. 21 first-person account of his experience undergoing decompression spinal surgery at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, to prevent paralysis.  Dr. Daniel Lu, assistant professor of neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, performed the minimally invasive procedure.

UCLA Surgeon Discusses the Quality of Surgical Care at U.S. Hospitals

Dr. Clifford Ko, professor of general surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, commented July 31 in a Reuters article about the quality of surgical care at U.S. hospitals.

Docs Remove Man's Heart, Give Him Artificial One

CBS's "The Doctors" reported July 8 on an October 2012 surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in which doctors removed a patient's diseased heart and replaced it with a total artificial heart powered by a backpack-sized device. Dr. Ali Nsair, assistant professor of cardiology, and Dr. Murray Kwon, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery, were interviewed.

Surgery to Remove Half of Boy's Brain

The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) reported July 7 on a young boy who will soon undergo a cerebral hemispherectomy - the removal of half the brain - at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital to treat his chronic seizures. The boy's surgeon, Dr. Gary Mathern, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program, was quoted.

UCLA Surgeon Discusses Personalized Medicine

Dr. Charles Brunicardi is featured in "Beyond the Scope" - Spring 2013 UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases Report.

UCLA Surgery Professor Honored

Dr Warwick Peacock receives "Distinguished Service in Education Award".

Weight-Loss Surgery and Diabetes

Sky News (U.K) June 6; CBS News, Medical News Today, Internal Medicine News, Australian Associated Press and Asian News International June 5,  and Healio June 4 reported on research led by Dr. Melinda Maggard-Gibbons, assistant professor of surgery, looking at whether gastric bypass and other types of weight-loss surgery can help diabetics who are moderately obese. Maggard-Gibbons was quoted in the coverage.

UCLA Chronicles Live Brain Surgery for the World

The Los Angeles TimesKCBS-Channel 2 and CNETreported May 23 on UCLA Health System's welcoming the world to watch a brain surgery as it unfolded in the operating room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center through live Vine videos and Instagram photos posted on Twitter.  Dr. Nader Pouratian, assistant professor of neurosurgery, implanted a pacemaker deep inside a patient's brain to stop essential tremors.

San Diego TV Station Features UCLA Liver Transplant Patient

KUSI-TVin San Diego aired a story on a liver transplant fundraiser that in included Nick Wallace, who last September received a new liver transplanted by Dr. Ronald Busuttil, Dumont Professor in Transplantation Surgery and chief of the Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation at UCLA.

Advancement in Lung Transplantation

The March/April edition of UNOS Update reported that UCLA's lung transplant team recently performed the nation's first "breathing lung" transplant using an experimental device to transport the donor lungs in a warm and breathing state rather than in an icebox.

Heart Transplants for Twin Sisters

KMEX-Channel 34featured May 9 the story of twin sisters, one who got a heart transplant last year and the other who needs a transplant.  Dr. Martin Cadeiras, assistant clinical professor of cardiology with the UCLA Heart Transplant program, was interviewed.

Web Documentary Spotlights UCLA Kidney Transplant Chain

"The Chain," a five-part Web documentary about a kidney transplant chain initiated by an altruistic donor, premiered May 14 on Participant Media's TakePart YouTube channel (12345). Participant Media is the company behind the Academy Award-winning feature documentaries "An Inconvenient Truth" and "The Cove." Dr. Gabriel Danovitch, medical director of the kidney transplant program; Dr. H. Albin Gritsch, surgical director of the kidney transplant program; and Dr. Jeffrey Veale, director of the kidney transplant exchange program, were featured.

Local FOX Highlights Weight Loss Surgery

KTTV-Channel 11ran a May 8 in-studio interview with Dr. Erik Dutson, associate professor of surgery and chief of UCLA's Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, regarding weight loss surgery and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's recent LapBand procedure.

Breakthrough in Lung Transplantation

CNN April 25 reported and NPR affiliate WUKY 91.3FM(Lexington, Ky.) April 17 reported on a new experimental device that delivers donor lungs in a near-physiological state instead of in an icebox. UCLA performed the nation’s first transplant using this device in November. Dr. Abbas Ardehali, professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the heart and lung transplantation program at UCLA, was interviewed. In addition, UCLA’s lung transplant program was referenced April 24 in a KGUN-Channel 9(Tucson, Ariz.) story about how the University of Arizona Medical Center plans to use the device in the near future.

Procedure to Clear Carotid Arteries

Examiner.comNews-MedicalScience Daily, reported that Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was the first on the west coast to perform a new procedure that is part of a clinical trial to help clear plaque-ridden carotid arteries. Dr. Wesley Moore, UCLA study investigator and professor emeritus of vascular surgery, was quoted.