What Dr. Andrea Pakula values most about her SAGES membership is the ability to get involved in a variety of committees and meet people from all walks of surgery—from academia to community practice.
An active member for the past 10 years, Dr. Pakula has been very involved in the robotic, acute care and hernia committees. These are also the three main areas of her practice as Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at Adventist Health Simi Valley Hospital, which she describes as a community private practice model.
More specifically, Dr. Pakula adds, “My clinical interests include all aspects of general surgery with extensive expertise in Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care surgery, as well as bariatric surgery and hernia and abdominal wall reconstruction.
After completing general surgery residency at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield CA, she completed her Fellowship in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Over the years, Dr. Pakula has transitioned her focus to minimally invasive robotic surgery. She initially trained in robotics to be able to offer minimally invasive hernia repair and quickly realized the benefits it offers to her emergency general surgery patients. She now performs robotic surgery in all aspects of her practice.
Today Dr. Pakula is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the Intuitive da Vinci line of surgical systems and is one of just a handful of physicians nationwide who teaches other surgeons how to perform a variety of surgical procedures, including acute care surgery and complex hernia repairs on the da Vinci robot. She’s also presented at multiple SAGES meetings, along with chairing multi-societal hernia courses including the MIS Masters Course for Acute Care Surgery and the Robotic eTEP Hernia Repair course.
Among her many SAGES friends, Dr. Pakula includes past president Dr. Horacio Asbun, Dr. Sharona Ross, along with her “close friends and colleagues” Drs. Matthew Martin, Conrad Ballecer, Vedra Augenstein and Laila Rashidi, with whom she has participated in sessions at the annual meeting as well as chairing various courses.
Looking ahead to Cleveland in April, Dr. Pakula adds that she never misses an annual meeting. “Surgery has progressed and evolved, and SAGES is one of those meetings that continues to move with the progression because of both its younger membership and forward-thinking leadership. There are always surgeons at all career stages attending and we continue to collaborate and learn from each other.”
Out of the OR, Dr. Pakula is passionate about teaching robotic surgery both nationally and internationally. When she’s not training surgeons, she enjoys competitive tennis and spending time with family and friends.