Dr. Gregory Thomas Named Medical Director of MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial

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Medical Director of The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute

Gregory Thomas, M.D., M.P.H.

Cardiologist Gregory Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., FACC, FASNC, has been named the new medical director for the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial. Dr. Thomas brings 25 years of clinical, research and leadership experience to this position. He will oversee clinical and business operations of the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute (MHVI).

Dr. Thomas has served as the principal investigator on more than 50 clinical trials and will help make tomorrow’s medicines a reality today as he builds on the tradition of landmark cardiac research performed at MHVI. Each year nearly a half million Americans will suffer from a heart attack. Innovative research will help physicians understand the causes of heart disease and the best methods to prevent or treat it. This research has the potential to dramatically decrease the impact of cardiovascular disease. 

“The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute has changed medicine throughout the world with its development of treadmill stress testing and advanced pacemaker technology,” says Dr. Thomas. “I would like to help the dedicated cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at Long Beach Memorial discover new techniques and the best ways to use new molecules that are being developed to lower cholesterol, improve stress testing, stop heart attacks and prevent cardiac death and disability.”

Dr. Thomas’ research accomplishments have been substantial, including the development of a new type of stress test that combines exercise with a medication to simulate stress in those in whom extensive walking is challenging. His research contributions include 130 articles, abstracts and a textbook.

He is perhaps best known as the co-leader of a joint US-Egyptian team that discovered that ancient Egyptian mummies had atherosclerosis. Last year, his team discovered that an ancient Egyptian princess who lived 3,500 years ago – before King Tut and Moses – had blockages of her heart arteries. This finding represents the first person in human history to be diagnosed with heart disease. The team’s work challenges the conventional wisdom that atherosclerosis is a disease of contemporary humans. The team’s findings have been reported globally and in the Journal of the American Medical Association. On behalf of the team’s work, he received the “Award of the First International Scientific Conference on Ancient Egyptian Culture” awarded by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and Cairo University.

Dr. Thomas plans to develop stronger philanthropic ties with the community and MHVI. Promoting and supporting innovative research and educating the next generation of physicians, nurses and other health professionals sets Long Beach Memorial apart from other hospitals. Philanthropy has been an honored tradition at MHVI, laying the foundation for its cutting edge care and research.

Health care is evolving at a quick pace and Long Beach Memorial and the MemorialCare Health System are at the forefront of this change in Southern California. With the strong leadership at Long Beach Memorial, Dr. Thomas hopes to facilitate closer communication and collaboration between the physicians within MHVI. Such a partnership has the potential to create innovative opportunities to both decrease cost and improve quality as we respond to the challenges in providing health care in an increasingly costly environment.

“Long Beach Memorial has been serving the community for more than 100 years. We have a tremendous opportunity to build on the already wonderful legacy,” says Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a Regents Scholar and was named one of two Outstanding Seniors at the university. He earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco where he was also a Regent’s Scholar and received Alpha Omega Alpha honors and the Chancellor’s Public Service Award upon graduation. While in medical school, he studied at the University of California, Berkeley earning a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy. Postgraduate training included an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and fellowships in cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

About the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute:
The MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute (MHVI) at Long Beach Memorial is one of California’s most comprehensive centers for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease. MHVI provides advanced, world-class care for complex heart conditions including myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and peripheral vascular disease. A leader in robotic-assisted cardiac procedures, MHVI performs the most da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System cases in California. MHVI follows evidence-based approaches for quality and patient safety in a complete continuum of cardiovascular care services. Best practice prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, research and support activities are delivered in state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated catheterization laboratories and operating rooms specially configured to fulfill the unique requirements of cardiovascular medicine.

About Long Beach Memorial:
Named among the top eight hospitals in the Los Angeles Metro area U.S. News and World Report, Long Beach Memorial has been providing compassionate care with the latest state-of-the-art technology for more than 100 years. Long Beach Memorial is the region’s first choice for comprehensive care in virtually every medical and surgical specialty. Long Beach Memorial is a leader in new technology, being one of only 3 hospitals in Calif. with a 320 Slice CT Scanner and preventative technology and programs such as the Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscope (ENB™) and the Division of Interventional Neurological Radiology. Centers of Excellence include the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute, the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, the MemorialCare Rehabilitation Institute, the MemorialCare Orthopedic Institute, the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Stroke Program and the Emergency Department and Trauma Center.

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