News & Events

Tufts MC names new Surgeon-in-Chief


Dr. Michael TarnoffTufts Medical Center today announced that Michael Tarnoff, MD, FACS, a general surgeon, who started his career at the Medical Center and went on to become a senior leader at the largest medical device company in the world, will become its next Surgeon-in-Chief. He is slated to begin in the role on June 4. Dr. Tarnoff also will become the Chair of the Department of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine. 

“Dr. Tarnoff has the perfect mix of experience, passion and compassion to lead this critical department at this point in our history,” said Michael Apkon, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center. “He is an outstanding surgeon, but also has become a well-respected and successful leader, focused on safety, performance, and building a workplace people want to be a part of.”   

Dr. Tarnoff was first hired as a General Surgeon at Tufts Medical Center in 2001, after completing his General Surgery Residency at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and his Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. Over the course of his early career, he published 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters and text books in the areas of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery. In 2008 he took on a leadership role in the medical device industry, serving as Corporate Chief Medical Officer and Vice-President for Medical Affairs for Covidien, and most recently, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Value-Based Healthcare Partnerships for Medtronic. Among his assignments – building and leading medical and regulatory affairs for Covidien and developing new business models for Medtronic, as it contemplates its role in value-based healthcare.  

Tufts Medical Center’s Surgery Department performs about 14,000 cases per year and is highly regarded nationally for its quality and outcomes. In 1981, Tufts Medical Center opened the world’s first pediatric trauma center, and today, Tufts MC is a Level One Trauma Center for both adults and children. Tufts MC also has performed the most heart transplants in New England since 2000. 

“I grew up here at Tufts MC. It is where I developed my medical and surgical skills and a place that shares my belief in, and commitment to, delivering high quality, low-cost care,” said Dr. Tarnoff. “My experiences in the medical device industry have afforded me invaluable, on-the-job training in organizational leadership, and provided me with the knowledge and expertise to build and manage high performing teams. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these new skills back to the Department of Surgery.”

Dr. Tarnoff will succeed William Mackey, MD, FACS who announced his retirement after 37 years of dedicated service to the Medical Center and the School of Medicine. 

“I’m honored and flattered to have been selected to succeed the person who initially hired me, and, along with other leaders at our Medical Center, gave me the flexibility to have such diverse career experiences,” said Dr. Tarnoff.  “We have an incredibly talented staff and I want to leverage my leadership skills to help them meet their personal and professional goals, while growing our department and continually enhancing the quality and experience of surgical care for our patients and their families.” 

Dr. Tarnoff makes his home in Sharon, MA, where he lives with his wife, Barbara, two children and three step-children.