Dr. Gaetano Ciancio Awarded the Knight of the Order of Star of Italy

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Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., professor of surgery and urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded the Knight of the Order of Star of Italy by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The ceremony took place in Coral Gables, presided by the Consul General of Italy, Cristiano Musillo, on January 21.

Gaetano Ciancio
From left, Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., with the Consul General of Italy, Cristiano Musillo.

The distinction, which dates to the 12th and 13th centuries, was reinstated in 1951 as the Order of Merit by the Italian Parliament to be awarded to individuals who aided Italy’s reconstruction after World War II. In 2011 the order was reformed to award the preservation and promotion of national prestige abroad, promoting friendly relations and co-operation with other countries and ties with Italy.

“It is a great honor for me to be recognized with this title that I accept on behalf of the hundreds of Italians around the world,” Dr. Ciancio said. The Order rewards merit in various fields from the sciences to the arts with my gratitude extending to everybody at the University of Miami, Miami Transplant Institute, and Jackson Memorial Hospital, along with those who impact my life and medical career.”

Italian Influence, World Impact

To merit the honor Dr. Ciancio, who is also the Brandon and Kyle Simonsen Endowed Chair in Transplantation Surgery, chief medical and academic officer of the Miami Transplant Institute, and director of the Adult and Pediatric Kidney and Kidney/Pancreas Transplantation, has contributed positively to the image of Italy in the United States along with the international transplant and oncology community.

“This recognition of Dr. Ciancio’s contributions to his field highlights the type of world-class talent the University of Miami draws to our community,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Dr. Ciancio, born in a small town south of Rome, in Roccapiemonte, went on to earn his undergraduate and medical degrees from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas. Shortly after completing his medical degree, he made his way to Miami, where the early part of his career was spent in the Veterans Administration Medical Center, followed by residencies in the Miller School. Dr. Ciancio’s career then led him to various leadership appointments in urology and surgery at the Miller School and Jackson Memorial Medical Center serving as professor, director, and chief.

Now 40 years in the medical field, Dr. Ciancio is the author and co-author of various medical publications while being a pioneer in developing multiple novel surgical techniques dealing with complicated renal, adrenal, and testicular cancer cases.

“Dr. Ciancio continues to be among the top leaders in his field while serving as a perfect example of what residents from the Miller School are capable of doing,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine. “Congratulations to him in this distinguishing honor, a reflection of his worldwide impact in medicine.”

Dr. Ciancio’s influence can be seen in the Miami area and internationally as he is considered one of the world’s leading surgeons in transplantation, leading him to establish transplant programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Haiti, where he performed the first kidney transplant. He is also well known for developing multiple surgical techniques in urologic oncology. One of these techniques made it possible to remove large renal tumors with extension into the inferior vena cava— a method now used by surgeons worldwide.

“Dr. Ciancio is a master surgeon, who has brought urological surgery of complex renal tumors extending into the vena cava and heart to the next level,” said Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., professor of cardiothoracic surgery, DeWitt Daughtry Endowed Chair in CT surgery at the Miller School. “He is a great caring teacher and role model, which is why no one is more deserved than Ciancio to receive this award representing his native country, along with the Miller School, and Jackson Memorial Hospital.”

The Knight of the Order of Star of Italy award is one of many recognitions given to Dr. Ciancio throughout his career. While at the Miller School, he has earned various accolades, including Teacher of the Year multiple times, along with several urology awards. Internationally, he has been given the Honorary Citizen National Award in Salerno, Italy, the Honor and Merit Award by the Haiti Transplant Foundation, an award of support in the field of transplantation by the Argentinian Minister of Health, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award for his contributions in health care to the African American community in the U.S.

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