Featured Profile

Shanda Blackmon MD, MPH

“Becoming a thoracic surgeon, wife, and mother, taking cancer out of patients, mentoring young surgeons, finding the best new technology and treatments for my patients, advocating for my patients, and paving the way for our future surgeons (regardless of who they are or where they came from) is where I find my passion.”

Dr. Shanda Blackmon is a powerhouse in the field of Thoracic Surgery. She obtained her BA in Fine Arts from the University of Texas – Austin, an MPH from Emory University, Atlanta, MD from Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, and subsequent surgical training at Georgia Baptist Hospital (General Surgery), Baylor (CT Surgery Residency) and MD Anderson (Thoracic Oncology Fellowship). Her journey from Texas and Georgia to the highest positions in our field have been embodied by a tireless work ethic, dedication to patient care, and the willingness to take on outdated surgical practices by seamless incorporation of cutting edge technology in the setting of rigorous evidence-based clinical trials. Her experience building the General Thoracic Surgical practice at Methodist Hospital as a Division Chief caught the eyes of the Mayo Clinic, where she was recruited to join in 2015. She has attained the highest leadership positions in our field including serving on the Board of Directors for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator at Mayo Clinic in several thoracic surgery clinical trials addressing mediastinal tumors, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and diseases of the esophagus. Her clinical niche is in minimally invasive Thoracic surgery, and she has led several training courses for both the STS and AATS across the globe.


“Anyone can mentor; my best mentors are men who are passionate about excellence and training. Out of friendship, mutual respect and common interests, Thomas D’Amico just kept asking me to do things and helped me so much people thought I trained at Duke. He took a chance on offering me opportunities and led for me by being an example of excellence. Ara Vaporciyan and Steve Swisher always practiced the art of listening, inviting me into their offices in the early years and letting me vent, plan, strategize, and work things out. Michael Reardon became a sort-of work father. He sent me a ton of cases, looked out for me, called me into the operating room to help, respected me, introduced me to people, and set an example to me of what professionalism really looks like. Mark Allen only has to raise an eyebrow and I know I have done something wrong. He is not afraid to tell me when I can do things better. I respect and admire these mentors and so many more. They took a keen interest in my career and have given me opportunities throughout my career.”