Learn more about the achievements of the accomplished women in the Department of Surgery!

Check out the milestones our female surgical faculty are making in the history of our department. 


Dr. Nancy Ascher | General Surgery Chief Resident Alumna & Past Clinical Director of the Liver Transplant Program ('82)

Dr. Nancy Ascher


(Pictured center: Dr. Nancy Ascher holds 11-month-old liver transplant patient, Jamie Fiske and featured left is Drs. Ascher and Najarian performing in the OR)

Dr. Nancy Ascher - a pioneer in organ transplantation and the first woman in the world to perform a liver transplant.

On November 5, 1982, Dr. Ascher assisted former Department of Surgery Chair, Dr. John Najarian in performing a successful liver transplant for Jamie Fiske, who received a deceased donor liver at the University of Minnesota when she was only 11 months old.

Dr. Ascher then joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1982 and was named Clinical Director of the Liver Transplant Program.

Jamie Fiske's successful operation and her father's subsequent testimony before Congress helped pass the National Organ Transplant Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.


Dr. Amy Reed | Division Chief of Vascular Surgery

Dr. Amy B. Reed


In July 2022, Dr. Reed was nominated by her peers to serve as Vice president/President of the Society for Vascular Surgery. During the same time, she also received the 2022 Society for Vascular Surgery Presidential Citation Award for Service.


Dr. Rosemary Kelly | Executive Vice-Chair of Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery


Rosemary Kelly


At M Health Fairview, she is a cardiothoracic surgeon and chief of the cardiovascular service line, where she completes surgeries and improves patient care. In May 2022, Dr. Rosemary Kelly was appointed Secretary of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery! She was also named the Executive Vice-Chair of Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery. Read the full announcement.


Dr. Melanie Graham | Director of the Preclinical Research Center


Dr. Graham


In 2022, Dr. Graham was appointed to serve on the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering Committee on “State of the Science & Future Needs for non-human primate model systems,” focused on finding new collaborative methodologies between researchers. Read the full announcement.