Irving Shen, MD
Irving Shen, MD, medical director at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, says that working as a pediatric cardiac surgeon is not just about connecting a heart valve, it’s about connecting to people.
"When children are born with a congenital heart defect, it’s a very serious matter," he says. "It calls for a dedicated team of experts, similar to team sports. Every member of that team is important, from pre-surgery to post-operative care."
Overseeing day-to-day operations of a large pediatric cardiac surgical team takes leadership and the ability to build trust and develop excellence. "It’s all about putting together an effective team in the first place,” says Dr. Shen. Then you accentuate their strengths. This leads to a great outcome."
Dr. Shen strives to balance work with life. The Vienna, VA, resident rides his bike to work every day, rain or shine. His commitment to the environment is shared with his wife, Carmen. “We try to ‘leave no trace behind,’” he says.
That kind of commitment is also found in every pediatric heart procedure Dr. Shen performs, including the lifesaving Norwood procedure. Dr. Shen is one of only a handful of surgeons in the region skilled in this new procedure. Performing surgery on a tiny newborn heart requires a special kind of medicine.
Dr. Shen earned a bachelor's degree in business (cum laude) from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and went on to attain his medical degree (cum laude) from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Residencies include the University of Washington Health Sciences Center in Seattle, and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. Inova is fortunate to have this gifted professional leading its pediatric cardiac team.