Advanced Heart Failure Care at Sharp Memorial Hospital
Our Physicians and Team
Our board-certified cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurse practitioners and other experts are among the nation's leaders in heart care.
Meet our physicians.
Dr. Rob Adamson received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah, where he also completed his internship and residency in general surgery. He went on to complete a fellowship in cardiac transplantation at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Adamson began his practice in San Diego in 1987. He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery, and is a member of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.
Dr. Brian E. Jaski received his undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He was a resident in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Hospital and was a clinical research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jaski is board certified in advanced heart failure and cardiac transplant from the American Board of Internal Medicine. In addition, he is board certified in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology. Dr. Jaski is a noted author and researcher in topics related to heart failure and cardiac transplantation.
Dr. Walter Dembitsky received his medical degree from the University of Missouri, where he also completed his surgical internship. He completed a general surgery residency and was chief resident in general surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. He then went on to complete a residency in cardiothoracic surgery and was the program's chief resident at Washington University. Dr. Dembitsky completed research fellowships at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis. He has been practicing in San Diego since 1978. Dr. Dembitsky is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He is a noted researcher and author on topics related to the use of mechanical assist devices.
Dr. Peter Hoagland earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston. Dr. Hoagland completed his cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Dr. Hoagland has served as chief of staff at Sharp Memorial Hospital and is the current director of the San Diego Cardiac Center. He is board certified in heart failure and transplant by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease, and is a member of the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Hirsch Mehta is codirector of Heart Failure and Rehabilitation Services at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he has practiced since 2014. Dr. Mehta earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California with honors and his medical degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dr. Mehta completed his residency and fellowship at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. He finished his training at Stanford University, where he focused on advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support, under the guidance of renowned cardiologist Dr. Sharon Hunt.
Dr. Mehta is board certified in cardiovascular diseases, advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology. He is an active participant in the American College of Cardiology, where he serves on the committee for high-risk surgery within the Heart Failure Council. In addition, he has served as a member of the program committee for the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation. Dr. Mehta has coauthored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters relating to heart failure, cardiac imaging and mechanical support. In addition, he lectures and maintains an active research interest in right heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.
Dr. Karl Limmer is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who has practiced at Sharp Memorial Hospital since 2014. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his medical degree from Temple University. He completed his internship and residency at UC San Diego Medical Center, followed by fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He specializes in minimally invasive cardiac surgical procedures and is one of a select number of heart surgeons in the country who performs the hybrid maze procedure (Mini-Maze).
Dr. Limmer has coauthored numerous research papers and book chapters relating to adult chest surgery. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology and is a candidate member for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Dr. Craig Larson, DO
Dr. Craig Larson is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who began practicing at Sharp Memorial in 2016. He earned his bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Geneseo and his doctor of osteopathic medicine at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at The Jewish Hospital - Mercy Health in Cincinnati, where he earned the Joel Essig Award, bestowed yearly to the resident who best exemplifies qualities of leadership. Dr. Larson completed a residency in thoracic surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he most recently served as director of cardiothoracic surgery. He also held the role as vice chair of cardiac services for the medical center. Dr. Larson is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Dr. Kalman E. Holdy
Dr. Kalman E. Holdy is medical director of clinical nutrition and inpatient diabetes at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he has practiced since 1976. He developed and directs the hospital's Nutrition Metabolic Support Service, one of the most established programs of its kind in the country. He served as Sharp Memorial's chief of staff from 1988 - 89.
Dr. Holdy has the unique honor of being a member of two charter classes at UC San Diego (UCSD), both as an undergraduate and in medical school. He earned both his bachelor's degree and medical degree at UCSD, where he also completed his endocrinology fellowship. Dr. Holdy is board certified in endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition. He was a clinical professor of medicine at UCSD until 2013.
He is an active member of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) and founded its San Diego chapter. He has received numerous recognitions, most recently the 2016 ASPEN Distinguished Nutrition Support Service Award.
Dr. Holdy authored one of the first peer-reviewed articles detailing the nutrition support of patients receiving mechanical assist devices. In the past decade, he has been instrumental in pioneering improvement in metabolic care of diabetic hospitalized patients.
Dr. Raymond Chinn is medical director of infection prevention and clinical epidemiology at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he has practiced since 1980. Dr. Chinn earned his undergraduate degree with honors from the Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and his medical degree from the University of Texas in Houston. Dr. Chinn completed his internal medicine residency at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center and infectious disease fellowship at Boston University Medical Center Hospital.
Dr. Chinn is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease. He is an active participant in the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Infectious Disease Association of California. Dr. Chinn has coauthored national guidelines, peer-reviewed manuscripts, poster presentations on infection prevention and book chapters on cardiac devices. His clinical interest is in the management of patients with HIV infection as well as recipients of solid organ transplants and mechanical assist devices.
Meet our nurse practitioners.
Kristi Ortiz, RN, MS, ANP, CNS
Kristi Ortiz is a board-certified, acute-care nurse practitioner who has been working at Sharp Memorial Hospital since 1997. She began her nursing career in the surgical intensive care unit before focusing on heart transplant and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) patients when she became a nurse practitioner in 2004. Kristi holds a master's degree in nursing from San Diego State University and serves as an adjunct professor in the university's nursing program. She has been recognized with Sharp HealthCare's Sally Breuner Haugh Spirit of Caring Award and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
Marc Verlasky, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Marc Verlasky is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who has been in nursing since 2007. He began his career as an emergency department nurse at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, and earned his master's degree in nursing from the University of San Diego. Marc has practiced in both neurology and cardiology. He decided to focus on heart transplant and LVAD after caring for patients with advanced heart failure.
Marc has been a member of multiple professional organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the California Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Electrophysiology Society of San Diego. He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix, and has dedicated his career to furthering the understanding of complex disease management.
Meet our mechanical circulatory support team.
Suzanne Chillcott, BSN, RN
Suzanne Chillcott has been a nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital for more than 30 years. She began her nursing career in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit before becoming the lead in the Mechanical Circulatory Support Department in 1994. Suzanne holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Northern Michigan University. She has been recognized as Sharp HealthCare's Nurse of the Year and has been an invited lecturer on various mechanical circulatory support topics at many national conferences. She is a published author in several medical and nursing journals. Suzanne is also a founding board member of the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians.
Marcia Stahovich, RN, CCRN
Marcia Stahovich has been a nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital for 25 years. She began her nursing career at Sharp in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit as a nurse and staff developer. Her interest in cardiac surgery nursing segued into the care of LVAD patients. Marcia has been recognized as a Sharp Memorial Nurse of the Year. She is a past president of the San Diego chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. She is an international author and invited speaker on mechanical circulatory support. Marcia also chairs Sharp's annual LVAD Golf Tournament fundraiser.
Suzan Lerum, RN, CCRN
Suzan Lerum is an advanced clinician in the Mechanical Circulatory Support Department at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where she has worked for the past 25 years. She began her nursing career in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, where she focused on caring for heart surgery patients. Throughout her career at Sharp, Suzan has served on the Bioethics Committee, mentored new students and participated in best-practice, evidence-based projects. In 2015, she was recognized with KYXY's Care Award, which honors nurses who model excellence in health care. Outside of work, Suzan spends her time mentoring high school students and caring for her three sons, alongside her husband of 25 years.
Becky Price, BSN, RN, CCRN
Becky Price holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California. She began her nursing career in Northern California before moving to Sharp Memorial Hospital's Surgical Care Intensive Unit in 2007, where she served on several committees. In 2013, she transitioned to the Mechanical Circulatory Support Department. Becky has been recognized as Sharp HealthCare's Nurse of the Year, nominated for several C.O.R.E. Awards and recognized numerous times as a Sharp Guardian Angel. Outside of work, Becky enjoys participating in volunteer activities, traveling and spending time with her family and dog.
Meet our program administrator.
Cindy Walsh, RN, MSN
Cindy Walsh has been working at Sharp Memorial Hospital for more than 30 years. She spent most of her career in critical care nursing before transitioning to administrative roles beginning in 2005. Cindy holds a master's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix, where she graduated with honors. She was a part-time lecturer in nursing at San Diego State University from 2004 to 2010.
Cindy is a longstanding member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and is a member of the American College of Cardiology. She is a published author in various topics on heart failure. In 2012, Cindy became the 63rd person in the world to earn the Triple Crown in distance swimming, which is achieved by completing the Catalina Island Swim, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and the English Channel.
We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and discuss patient referrals. Please contact our on-call advanced heart failure nurse practitioner at 858-939-4CHF (4243).
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"I am proud to be able to offer my patients the most advanced minimally invasive surgical treatments."
"I care for the complexities of the heart with compassion, understanding and the trained hands of experience."