Considered one of the best technical surgeons in his field, Dr. Mark Plunkett is also one of approximately 130 Specialty Board certified pediatric heart surgeons in the United States. His technical prowess makes him a sought after surgeon both professionally and academically, and he is always active in the medical research field, publishing regularly through both academic and medical journals. His work provides important advancements to the medical community, as well as deep personal satisfaction, and has awarded him with many accolades and awards, as well as the recognition of the medical community at large.
Throughout his career he has continued to provide excellent pediatric cardiothoracic surgery care to his patients, and is an active member of many committees and charitable organizations. His relationships with patients and their families are very important to him, and provide a confidence in care that is vital for families dealing with an infant with congenital heart disease. Being able to provide this same care to needy children nationally and internationally is just as important to Dr. Mark Plunkett as providing care to patients professionally, and he regularly travels overseas to provide quality pediatric cardiothoracic care to these children.
Dr. Mark Plunkett has been a practicing pediatric heart surgeon for over seventeen years, and has eighteen years of formal education and training beyond high school. The desire to become a doctor began young. At the age of seven, Dr. Plunkett declared to his family, friends, and teachers that he was going to be a surgeon, although he waited until medical school to declare his focus in pediatric heart surgery.
Dr. Plunkett received his Bachelors of Science degree from Duke University, before attending the University of North Carolina School of Medicine for his doctoral studies in medicine. He took his residency at his Alma Mater, in the Duke University Medical Center, where he interned in surgery before becoming the junior resident in surgery from 1987-1988, a fellow in cardiovascular research from 1988-1990, a senior resident in surgery from 1990-1992, and finally the Chief Resident in general surgery from 1992-1993.
Following his Residency, Dr. Mark Plunkett also spent his Fellowship with the Duke University Medical Center in Cardiothoracic Surgery from 1993-1995. In 1995, after completing his fellowship at the Duke University Medical Center, he left North Carolina and became a Fellow at the UCLA Medical Center and Mattel Children’s Hospital for training and specialization in Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac Surgery.
Following his training, Mark taught as a professor at an impressive number of institutions, including most recently the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, where he was an Associate Professor of Surgery from 2007-2013, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. He was actively involved in the Student Mentorship Program from 2008-2013. Prior to teaching at UK, he served as the Associate Professor of Surgery for UCLA School of Medicine from 2003-2007, and participated yearly in their Short Term Training Program and Medical Student Summer Research Programs.
Before becoming Associate Professor of Surgery, he was an Assistant Professor of Surgery at UCLA from 1999-2003, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery from 1995-1996. Dr. Plunkett’s first teaching appointment after medical school was at the Duke University School of Medicine from 1993-1995, where he served as first a Clinical Instructor in Surgery and then a Teaching Scholar in Surgery.
Outside of teaching aspiring surgeons, Dr. Mark Plunkett has held positions at several esteemed hospitals. From 2007-2013, he was a cardiothoracic surgeon at the UK Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Prior to his positions in Kentucky, he served as a cardiothoracic surgeon from 1997-2007 at the UCLA Center for the Health Science, the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and the Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center.
While in California, he also served as an adult cardiothoracic surgeon for the Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital from 1999-2001, the West LA VA Medical Center in Los Angeles from 1994-2004, and as part of the consultant staff in adult and pediatric cardiothoracic surgery for the Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA from 2000-2007. From 1996-1999 he served as an adult and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon for the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
He has been a part of almost too many committees to count, beginning with the American Medial Association in 1986 and including esteemed positions in professional societies like the Congenital Heart Surgeons Society (2010), American Society for Artificial Internal Organs, (2009), World Society for Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery (2007), Thoracic Surgery Director’s Association (2003), International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (2001), Society of Thoracic Surgeons (1998), American Heart Association (1998), New York Academy of Science (1996), and multiple other surgical societies, to name just a few. He has been on numerous University Committees for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (2007-2013), UCLA School of Medicine (1999-2007), and the University of Illinois College of Medicine (1996-1999).
Constantly seeking to expand both his own knowledge and the knowledge of his field, Mark has performed clinical and scientific research in many studies nationally and internationally, and is the author of over fifty scientific papers. He has reviewed manuscripts for important medical and scientific publications, and is on the Editorial Board for the ASAIO Journal, where he is the section editor for Pediatric Circulatory Support. He was recently invited to be a guest reviewer for the Journal of Visualized Experimentation, and also reviews for the World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, the ASME Journal of Medical Devices, the Congenital Heart Disease Journal, the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the American Heart Journal, the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Aside from his professional surgical work, Dr. Mark Plunkett has spent the last six years volunteering in Peru, where he has performed operations on Peruvian children as part of the “Hearts with Hope” Foundation. He participated in the Mending Kids Foundation from 2005-2008, and has been on the Advisory Board for “Camp Del Corozon” from 2004-present. As part of the World Heart Foundation’s International Outreach Teleconference Symposium, he helped adults with congenital hearts disease in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines in 2010.
Outside of surgery, Dr. Mark Plunkett is interested in music, world history, travel, medical missions, and the study and collection of rare and antique books.
Dr. Mark Plunkett strives to continue providing excellent pediatric and adult cardiothoracic surgical care to his patients, and to use his extensive knowledge and experience to educate future surgeons. In constant pursuit of knowledge, he will continue his medical and scientific research, furthering his own knowledge and expanding the knowledge of the medical field at large. Whether teaching at esteemed medical universities or publishing medical papers, he understands the value of education to the medical professional and considers it a vital part of his job.
On a personal level, he takes his position as a surgeon very seriously, and strives to give the best possible care and support to patients and their families. Understanding how stressful cardiothoracic surgery can be for parents of infants is at the heart of his practice, and he constantly seeks to provide the best possible experience for patients and their families during this stressful time in their lives. He has formed lasting relationships with patients’ families in the past, and hopes to continue to be able to offer meaningful support in the future.
Dr. Mark Plunkett foresees himself continuing to serve on local and national committees as part of his efforts to educate himself and others, and to stay abreast of events in the medical profession. As part of his role in these committees, he also plans to continue volunteering both nationally and abroad, bringing state of the art medical technology to children and adults in need.