Featured Thoracic Surgeons: Monthly Features

Today’s Women in CT Surgery

Here we will feature women who represent the wide breadth of practicing thoracic surgeons in our field today.  We look forward to highlighting new women on a monthly basis, showing the great strides in patient care, research, humanitarian work, patient advocacy, and leadership being accomplished by women in our field.  We take pride in showcasing the fantastic women in CT Surgery, setting phenomenal examples both in and out of the operating room.

This month’s featured surgeons:

Drs Loretta Erhunmwunsee and Jane Yanagawa 

Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD

“Being a thoracic surgeon increases my happiness factor. I love the connection that I have with my patients, the ability I have to work with amazing people and the problem-solving opportunities that arise in my research as well as clinically. This career is helping shape the best version of me and it mandates that she shows up daily.”

Dr. Erhunmwunsee is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California.  Her list of accomplishments is a long one! She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Emory University in Atlanta and received her medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School in Boston, graduating magna cum laude. She continued her postgraduate training at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, completing a general surgery internship, followed by a residency in general surgery, after which she served as chief resident. This was followed by a residency in cardiothoracic surgery, also at Duke.  Board-certified in general and thoracic surgery, Dr. Erhunmwunsee has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the World Congress on Lung Cancer Young Investigator’s Award in 2009. She was chosen as an NIH/NMA Academic Career in Medicine Fellow in 2015, and was chosen as a Feagin Leadership Scholar from Duke University in 2014. Dr. Erhunmwunsee is also the recipient of the Peter C. Pairolero Scholarship Award which she received in 2015 from the General Thoracic Surgical Club.

Dr. Erhunmwunsee is a beloved member of the WTS, a supportive colleague and trusted professional.  As highlighted in her nomination,

“Loretta is just a great person. She’s so passionate about work, her research, her family, her religion, that’s just her approach to life!”

Dr. Erhunmwunsee operating

Dr. Erhunmwunsee outside of work!


Jane Yanagawa, MD

“Being a teacher has turned out to be perhaps my favorite part of the job. Whether you’re teaching a medical student, a fellow, a patient, a colleague, taking on that role shapes your own image as well as the way your entire field is perceived. Also, introducing thoracic surgery – the complexity, how dynamic it is, how intensely meaningful it can be – to someone who had no idea what it was about is just a really fun and rewarding experience. Whether or not a trainee decides to go into thoracic surgery, pretty much everyone agrees it’s amazing.”

Dr. Yanagawa is a thoracic surgeon at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and she is as passionate about teaching as she is about operating, as exemplified in her comment above! She completed her residency at UCSD and her fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2011-2013. She is a delight, and she is well loved by all who have the privilege of interacting with her.

Her nomination from Dr. Lauren Kane reads:

“Dr. Jane Yanagawa is an accomplished Thoracic Surgeon at the University of California and very active in all aspects of care for her patients. I was lucky enough to co-chair scholarships with the Women in Thoracic Surgery with her, where I got to know her better. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She is so smart, an absolute pleasure to work with and spend time with at social events. She is a great role model for young surgeons looking to go into Thoracic Surgery. She is a great friend and colleague who will do great things! Worth learning more about her.”

Dr Yanagawa operating

Dr Yanagawa and her mother


For our full list of Past Features, click here.

If you’d like to submit a nomination for a surgeon feature, you can do so below or at this link.

Featured Surgeon Nomination Form

Please use this form to nominate women thoracic surgeons for a feature on the WTS website. Qualified nominees may be practicing surgeons in adult cardiac, congenital cardiac, or general thoracic surgery. Your nominations are greatly appreciated!