Featured Profile

Cherie Erkmen MD

“When I entered medical school, I was sure I was going to be a surgeon. I was equally sure that I was NOT going to be a thoracic surgeon. Having just lost my father to lung cancer, I found comfort and diversion in medical school, so long as I did not have to think about lung cancer. Even in surgical residency, I entertained every subspecialty except thoracic surgery. Dr. Larry Cohn attracted me to cardiac surgery and his lab.” (quote continues below)

Serendipitously, I started working with lymph node imaging of the chest and sought Dr. Yolanda Colson and Dr. Michael Jaklitsch for advice. Suddenly, everything fell into place. I remember Dr. Cohn saying, “What the F—! Now we’re doing lung cancer?” But, he still supported me. For many years I avoided the pain of a lung cancer diagnosis, a lung cancer surgery. Now, as a thoracic surgeon, I embrace it every day and guide other families through this difficult time. 

With the support of trusted mentors, I have a robust clinical practice, unique research and meaningful teaching opportunities. I am thrilled to have a growing community of mentors, mentees and colleagues who share in making thoracic surgery progressive and inclusive. I am forever indebted to my extraordinary husband, son and daughter for supporting me to live my passion.”

Cherie Erkmen MD is a Thoracic Surgeon and Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery and Temple University.  She was named as a Philadelphia Top Doctor in 2019.  She is also the Director of the Lung Screening Program and the Thoracic Residency Program, and she carries the additional title of Professor in the Center for Asian Health. She has experience with the surgical treatment of lung cancer, chest wall tumors, gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers, and other lung and pleural diseases, with expertise in minimally invasive surgery.


As highlighted in her anonymous nomination:

“Dr. Erkmen is a true role model for her residents and fellows. Not only is she an amazing surgeon but she always takes time to teach on the wards and in the operating room. Her dedication to her patients and learners and passion for her job are palpable. Not only that, but she is a dedicated mother and sports fan! She is truly well rounded.”