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Meet our faculty

This September, we welcomed two new assistant professors to our team: Karina A. Newhall, MD, MS, and Grayson S. Pitcher, MD. Read about why they chose to pursue a career in vascular surgery and what brought them to URMC.

What initially attracted you to the field of vascular surgery?
Newhall:
“I chose vascular surgery during my residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. My mentors encouraged me to join the specialty; their excitement surrounding vascular research, care, and education made me eager to be part of such an important field.”

Pitcher: “I was drawn to vascular surgery from the beginning of medical school; the complexity and fast-paced approach excited me. I went on to complete an internship and residency in vascular surgery at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine-Mayo Foundation.”

What do you enjoy most about vascular surgery?
Newhall:
“Vascular disease is not like other surgical diseases—it’s chronic, meaning that as surgeons, we often get to know our patients over the course of diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of the disease. I love that I can really tailor treatments to meet a patient’s goals. I believe vascular surgery has it all: the surgeries are technically complex, the technology is always changing and improving, and we get to work in all parts of the body.”

Pitcher: “Patients with vascular disease are often faced with complex chronic disorders that challenge them physically and emotionally. These issues are not always straightforward and require creative solutions to provide patients with the best long-term care and quality of life. I enjoy having lasting relationships with vascular patients with the goal of integrating the preventative model of primary care.”

Why did you choose to join the division at URMC?
Newhall:
“I was specifically looking for an academic position and URMC was the place to start my career. It was great experience through the interview process; everyone is so invested and enthusiastic about what the division is accomplishing. URMC is dedicated to expanding their academic footprint and the division works collectively to achieve these goals, so I feel like I’m going to be able to make a true difference in vascular disease treatment and education.”

Pitcher: “I’ve been all over the country for training to follow my love of medicine and research. URMC was able to provide the best multidisciplinary approach to training, research, care, and self-development. Working in such a positive, forward-thinking environment has allowed me to grow in ways I don’t think I could elsewhere. I’m grateful for the collaborative approach the division takes.”

What other areas of medicine interest you?
Newhall:
“During my surgical residency, I completed a VA-funded Quality Improvement and Outcomes research fellowship. I have a special interest in outcomes research, which is essentially learning from our previous surgical experience in an effort to improve future care for patients. I am also looking forward to working with referring providers to ensure their patients get the best care for their condition, whether or not it requires surgery.”

Pitcher: “I have a strong interest in medical education and curriculum development. I treat a spectrum of vascular diseases and conditions including aortic aneurysms, aortoiliac occlusive disease, aortic ulcers, arteriovenous fistulas, carotid artery disease, critical limb ischemia, mesenteric ischemia, peripheral arterial disease, thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, vascular graft infections, varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and visceral artery aneurysms. I am highly skilled in complex endovascular and open aortic reconstruction, and have experience with rare vascular diseases. Ultimately, my goal is to build an aortic program through the division over the next few years.”

Outside of work, what is your favorite thing about Rochester?
Newhall:
“Coming from Seattle, it was immediately evident that Rochester was very different. Everyone from neighbors to colleagues were so welcoming. I love that it’s such a family oriented area.”

Pitcher: “I was excited to get back to a bigger urban environment. I love a good wine tasting and the Finger Lakes area is the place for it. Rochester has some of the best food, arts, and culture to experience.”