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Rabih Chaer, MD, MSc, Appointed Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Co-Director of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

November 17, 2022

Dr. ChaerOn Oct. 1, 2022, Rabih Chaer, MD, MSc, assumed the position of chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and co-director of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. Dr. Chaer replaces Michel Makaroun, MD, who served as chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery for nearly 24 years. In that time, UPMC became home to one of the leading academic vascular surgery programs in the nation.

The remarkable growth and success of the program is a tribute to Dr. Makaroun’s tireless work ethic and clinical leadership. Dr. Chaer earned his medical degree graduating with distinction and AOA from the American University of Beirut. He continued with general surgery training at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine, where he served as administrative chief resident. Dr. Chaer completed a vascular surgery fellowship at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell University Weill Medical School/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Chaer joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in 2006. He acquired a master’s degree in clinical research at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and quickly rose through the ranks to become professor of Surgery. He previously served as the chief of Vascular Surgery at the UPMC Presbyterian campus.

Leadership and Accolades

Dr. Chaer is widely recognized for his leadership roles in American Vascular Surgery. He currently serves as a counselor for the American Board of Surgery and a director for the Vascular Board of Surgery. In 2018, Dr. Chaer served as president of the Eastern Vascular Society. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the American Venous Forum and is a member of the American Surgical Association. In our vascular surgery program, he received the Henry T. Bahnson Teacher of the Year Award and until recently has served as program director of our integrated and independent Vascular Surgery Training Programs since 2012. Dr. Chaer has been a highly productive investigator with more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 33 book chapters.

He is also actively involved in surgical education and established the integrated residency training program in 2007. Dr. Chaer previously served as chair of the APDVS education committee and chair of the SVS education council. He also helped develop simulation curricula for vascular training and the SVS learning management system. He continues to shape the future of surgical education by helping develop the ACGME Vascular milestones 1 and 2, and the ongoing ABS/VSB Entrusted Professional Activities project and Video Based Assessment of diplomates and trainees. Dr. Chaer is an examiner for the Vascular Surgery Board and is actively involved in the development of the yearly vascular certifying, qualifying, and in-training examinations.

Clinical and Research Interests

Dr. Chaer has been at the forefront of surgical innovation by establishing several clinical programs and quality initiatives at UPMC, coupled with industry funded clinical trials and NIH funded translational research. He will continue to innovate vascular care by promoting clinical and translational/basic science research and building several cutting-edge clinical centers of excellence, including a multidisciplinary aortic center as part of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. 

Dr. Chaer has been a champion of wellness initiatives at UPMC and the vascular community by establishing ergonomic and postural training for surgeons and promoting a culture of vascular health through exercise.

Dr. Chaer’s other research, clinical, and academic interests include:

Venous Disease:

  • Treatment of acute DVT and Pulmonary Embolization
  • Genetics of venous disease
  • Racial and socioeconomic disparities in treatment and outcomes

Aortic aneurysm:

  • Predicting small AAA growth using serial Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound imaging and biomarker testing
  • Novel technologies for the treatment of complex thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Noninvasive aortic aneurysm detection and monitoring


  • Development and implementation of Entrusted Professional Activities for Vascular Surgeons
  • Video Based assessment of open and endovascular skills for credentialing and recredentialing of Vascular Surgeons
  • Gender bias in surgical education

Representative Publications

Dr. Chaer's publications can be viewed through PubMed.

To refer a patient to the vascular surgery division, call UPMC’s 24-hour physician referral service at 1-866-844-8579.