Richard L. Prager, M.D. is the Richard and Norma Sarns Research Professor Emeritus of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Michigan and a Founding Director of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Prager received his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1967 and his medical degree in 1971 from State University of New York, Downstate.  His general surgery and thoracic surgery residencies were at the University of Michigan from 1971-1978, including a research year in the thoracic surgical laboratories.  Dr. Prager began his cardiac and thoracic surgical career at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery returning to Ann Arbor in 1983 to join the Cardiac and Thoracic Surgical Group at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.  Dr. Prager was the Medical Director of the HCFA Demonstration Project at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and the Head of the Section of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery.  In 1999, he moved to the University of Michigan as Professor of Surgery and Head of the Section of Adult Cardiac Surgery and was Interim Department Chair of Cardiac Surgery for 2 ½ years prior to his retirement in January 2022.

Dr. Prager led the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative initiative from its inception in 2001 until 2022 and is a past Director of the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center.  He is the Past President of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Past President of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association as well as Past President of the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons.

Educational focus:  Dr. Prager was committed to the education of residents and fellows in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery and is the former program director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency and Integrated Thoracic Residency at the University of Michigan, and held this position between 2009-2015 and remained active in resident education until his retirement.

Health Services Research:  Dr. Prager’s ongoing interests were focused clinically in adult cardiac surgery and utilizing outcomes in all areas of adult cardiac surgery to create the platform for opportunities for improvement. This has led to utilizing the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Adult Cardiac Surgery Database and other data sources as resources for furthering understandings and with this approach, the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative was initiated in 2001 as a part of the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons professional society. The Collaborative has utilized a wide variety of clinical data sources and data analyses to improve outcomes in the state of Michigan and share improvement approaches throughout Michigan, as well as throughout the country.

The MSTCVS Quality Collaborative is fortunate to have an EACTS-Francis Fontan Fellowship available for EACTS members to spend 4 months at the Quality Collaborative in Ann Arbor and learn approaches to Quality Improvement for Cardiac and Thoracic surgical programs worldwide.

At this time, Dr. Prager is concluding his roles with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons as Nominating Committee Chair and Finance Committee Chair.