Featured Profile

Virginia Litle, MD

“A career in Thoracic Surgery offers constant intellectual, physical and emotional challenges that allow a path for personal and professional growth. The rewards of caring for people, mentoring future surgeons, being a leader and contributing to our academic field can’t be over-stated. You can’t do this job unless you love it!”

Virginia R. Litle, MD, Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, is a graduate of the University of Vermont and received her medical degree from the Brown-Dartmouth Program in Medicine. Dr. Litle completed her residency in General Surgery at the University of California in San Francisco, CA, and completed fellowships in both Surgical Oncology and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. At Boston University Dr. Litle is Chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery, and Director of the Minimally Invasive Esophageal, Barrett’s Esophagus and Thoracic Clinical Research Programs.

Dr. Litle’s particular clinical interests include management of benign and malignant esophageal diseases and ablative therapies of esophageal and airway pathology. Her additional research interests include risk-stratification for prevention of venothromboembolic (VTE) events following thoracic surgery, esophageal cancer screening with a sponge technique and discrimination of lung squamous cell carcinomas as being primary lung cancers or head and neck metastases. Dr. Litle is a member of the AATS, ESTS, STSA, ISMICS and STS and is a past president of Women in Thoracic Surgery. She serves as an associate editor of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and is an active member of the ESTS/AATS VTE Committee. Her additional interests include global surgery, mentorship of medical students and residents, motherhood and tennis.


Dr. Litle is a force in our field and well-respected by all. She is also an enormous role model for trainees interested in our field, as highlighted in her nomination:

“I met Virginia Litle when I was a research resident eagerly interested in Thoracic. She was one of the first females in Thoracic surgery I had met. She inspired me by her strong, kind and friendly personality and passion for innovations in Thoracic surgery. Even though we don’t know each other well she has encouraged me to apply and engage in opportunities within our field. She sets a great example as a strong female surgeon who advocates for others.”