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Linda O’Dwyer


Presence Saint Joseph Hospital Named an Academic Center of Excellence by the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (AIMIS)

First hospital in Illinois to earn distinction; one of only 8 in nation

Chicago, Illinois (November 11, 2013) – Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago was recently designated an Academic Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Surgery by the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (AIMIS). Presence Saint Joseph Hospital joins 7 other hospitals throughout the United States with this prestigious designation for gynecologic surgery and is the first in Illinois to achieve it.

“The AIMIS accreditation signifies Presence Saint Joseph Hospital’s commitment to delivering high quality care for women needing gynecologic surgery,” said Dr. Roberta Luskin-Hawk, Regional President of Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago and Presence Saint Francis Hospital. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago obtained this achievement after passing a series of rigorous criteria established by the accrediting body of AIMIS. “The Academic Center of Excellence designation is important to healthcare consumers in the Chicago area because it gives individuals, health plans and referring physicians added assurance that Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago has passed and exceeded recognized standards and best practices for minimally invasive surgery for both quality and delivery of care,” Dr. Luskin-Hawk said. 

In 2012, Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago’s gynecologic surgery team performed 78 percent of their surgeries in a minimally invasive manner with minimal complication rates; with some surgeons performing more than 98 percent of surgeries using minimally invasive methods. The 18 robotically trained minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons chose laparoscopy or use the most advanced robotic surgical system, the da Vinci Si, for the robotically assisted surgical approach based on the needs of each individual patient.  Many of the minimally invasive procedures are made possible through the use of a robotic surgical system in the operating suite. The hospital has 18 robotically trained specialists in gynecologic surgery.  Information can be found at

Several surgeons have received special recognition for their expertise. Presence Saint Joseph’s director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, Barbara Diakos, M.D., has been designated a center of excellence surgeon by AIMIS for achieving high standards including volumes, outcomes and percentage of cases performed using minimally invasive surgical methods. Teresa Tam, M.D., a residency program faculty member, has been named a center of excellence surgeon in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) and the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC). In addition, Freidoon Azizi, M.D., section chief of gynecologic oncology, has been recognized for advanced robotic surgery skills and trains other surgeons from through the region.

“We are so fortunate to have physicians who bring world class clinical expertise and are pioneers in offering new treatment options for patients,” Dr. Luskin-Hawk said.

In December 2012, Dr. Diakos performed the first single-incision robotic hysterectomy in Illinois at Presence Saint Joseph as part of a clinical trial. With subsequent approval by the FDA, Presence Saint Joseph remains one of the few hospitals in Illinois to offer single port hysterectomy, also known as scarless surgery because the incision is made near the patient’s belly button. “The ability to perform scarless hysterectomies sets Presence Saint Joseph Hospital apart,” Dr. Diakos said. Besides the cosmetic benefits of scarless surgery, patients experience less pain and quicker recovery as well.

Approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States, making it the second most common procedure performed on women in the nation. And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated two-thirds of these operations entail open surgeries rather than minimally invasive laparoscopic methods and quicker returns to their normal daily lives.

According to Robert Barnett, M.D., chief medical officer of AIMIS, “We continue to assess and institute the use of the latest technology and teaching methods that advance continued use and implementation of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago has now joined only a handful of leading hospitals across the nation to be recognized as an AIMIS Academic Center of Excellence and is the only one in Illinois to reach this pinnacle of success.”

To learn more about the minimally invasive surgery program at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago, call 877.737.INFO (877.737.4636) or visit

About the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery
The American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (AIMIS) is the nation’s pre-eminent educator of advanced surgical techniques for women’s health specialists. AIMIS brings together hospitals, surgeons, clinics, medical technology companies, the insurance industry and patients by providing a platform to deliver advanced surgical procedures that improve health care for women of all ages. AIMIS teaches and supports minimally invasive gynecological and urogynecological surgical methods and supports members with business strategies to help grow and strengthen their practice while improving patient outcomes through advanced surgical techniques. AIMIS also provides resources for patients, corporate partners, physician members and affiliates to help foster minimally invasive surgery techniques that provide speedier recoveries, reduced scarring and lower costs.

 About Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago
Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Chicago is a nationally ranked, award-winning teaching hospital serving Chicago’s lake shore communities. It is home to many world-renowned physicians and advanced medical technologies. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital is part of Presence Health. More information is available at

About Presence Health
Presence Health is the largest Catholic health system based in Illinois, created in November, 2011 through the merger of Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care. With more than 150 sites of care, including 12 hospitals, Presence Health has 22,000 employees and 4,000 medical professionals. More information is available at


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