UA College of Medicine Committee Takes on Large Task of Recruiting Successor for Heart Center Director Dr. Gordon Ewy

Published Date: 
Monday, December 3, 2012 - 10:48am
Dr. Gordon EwyGordon A. Ewy, MD, a founding faculty member of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, who has served as director of the UA Sarver Heart Center since 1991, has announced his plan to retire from the University, effective June 30, 2013.
“I will be almost 80 years of age. My wife and soul mate of 55 years tells me it is time,” said Dr. Ewy in a letter that he submitted to Steve Goldschmid, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
“Under Dr. Ewy’s leadership, Sarver Heart Center faculty and supporters created a legacy that provides a solid platform to continue pursuit of the center’s vision of a future free of heart disease and stroke. With 12 endowed chairs, three endowed faculty positions and four endowed cardiology fellowships, plus faculty who are nationally and internationally renowned in their fields, the center is well-positioned to continue its advances in research at the basic science and clinical levels. The center exemplifies the University’s future focus on building public-private partnerships to further our mission,” said Dr. Goldschmid.
Dr. Ewy is noted internationally for his pioneering work in resuscitation research. The Sarver Heart Center Resuscitation Research Group found that compression-only CPR is more effective in the case of sudden primary cardiac arrest than  “mouth-to-mouth” breathing, which had been part of “Standards and Guidelines” for 40 years with no change in survival rates. Indeed, compression-only CPR doubles a person’s chance of survival. To see a demonstration of this method, please visit
Dr. Ewy was recruited to the UA College of Medicine’s newly established Section of Cardiology in 1969 by founding chief of cardiology, Frank Marcus, MD. At the time, the then-named Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital was the primary teaching hospital until “University Hospital” opened near the end of 1970. With no security officers on staff, Dr. Ewy recalls using a key to unlock the front door after it was locked at night.
He served as chief of cardiology from 1982 to 2010 and as director of the UA College of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program from 1982 to 2009, a program that has graduated more than 120 cardiologists.
More details on Dr. Ewy’s illustrious 43-year career with the UA College of Medicine, including his personal reflections, are in the Winter 2012 issue of the UA Sarver Heart Center Newsletter, which is available online at “From the Director.”
“I am grateful to have served as chief of cardiology for 28 years and, at the end of this academic year, as director of the UA Sarver Heart Center for 22 years. I see nothing but continued success because of the quality and dedication of the center’s physicians and scientists,” said Dr. Ewy.
The committee charged with recruiting Dr. Ewy’s successor is chaired by Carol Gregorio, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and a co-director of the UA Sarver Heart Center. She also is the center’s Luxford/Schoolcraft Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Research. The committee will meet later this month with Witt/Kieffer, a national search firm, and actively advertise the position after the new year begins.
Other members of the search committee include clinical, research, hospital and community leaders from Tucson and Phoenix.
They are:
  • Carol Friedman, director of The University of Arizona Medical Center’s cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and heart programs
  • Henk Granzier, PhD, professor of physiology, cellular and molecular medicine, member of the UA BIO5 Institute, and the Sarver Heart Center’s Allan & Alfie Norville Endowed Chair for Heart Disease in Women Research
  • Ronald Heimark, PhD, professor of surgery and chief of surgical research
  • Elizabeth Juneman, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of echocardiography at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
  • Scott Klewer, MD, professor of pediatric cardiology
  • Kapil Lotun, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of the structural heart disease and vascular programs
  • Kalidas Madhavpeddi, chair of the Sarver Heart Center Advisory Board
  • Allan Norville, advisory board member
  • Robert Sarver, advisory board member
  • Mary (“Christy”) Smith, MD, assistant professor of surgery and director of the heart transplant service
  • Jil Tardiff, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and the Sarver Heart Center’s Steven M. Gootter Endowed Chair for the Prevention and Treatment of Sudden Cardiac Death
  • Jonathan Vande Geest, PhD, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering and a member of the UA BIO5 Institute
  • Anne Wright, PhD,senior associate dean of faculty affairs, and professor of pediatrics and member of the Arizona Respiratory Center
The search committee’s work will be supported by Teresa Saeed and Dr. Wright in the College of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs. 
People will have several opportunities to hear Dr. Ewy speak before his retirement. Upcoming lectures featuring Dr. Ewy include:
  • Stress and the Heart – Thursday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m. at the Canoa Hills Social Center, 3660 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley
  • So, You’re 40 and Feel Fine: It’s Time to Be Serious about Heart Attacks – Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Murphy-Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Road
  • UA Sarver Heart Center Healthy Heart Conference – Saturday, Feb. 16; health fair at 7:30 a.m. and program begins at 9 a.m. at DuVal Auditorium in The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, 1501 N. Campbell. To register, please visit and click on “Events.”
  • A Future Free of Heart Disease & Stroke – Friday, March 8, 2 p.m. at DuVal Auditorium in The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, 1501 N. Campbell (Followed by a community reception in honor of Dr. Ewy’s career at the UA College of Medicine.
For more details, please visit and click on “Events.”
The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, Ariz., emphasizes a highly interdisciplinary research environment fostering innovative translational or “bench-to-bedside” research. Working toward a future free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, the center’s more than 170 scientist and physician members collaborate with the goal of applying new findings from the basic sciences to the clinical arena as quickly as possible.