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Nova Szoka, MD

Nova Szoka, MD


Board Certification: General Surgery

Medical School: University of California, Davis, CA

Residency: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 

Fellowship: Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery at Duke University, Durham, NC 

Faculty Rank: Assistant Professor 

Special Clinical/Research Interests:

My clinical practice focuses on bariatric surgery, obesity management, foregut surgery, and reflux management. My clinical interests include multiple aspects of minimally invasive surgery, including: laparoscopic surgery, endoscopic/endoluminal surgery, and robotic surgery. 

My research interests include:

  1. Emerging surgical technologies & procedures, device development
  2. Disparities in healthcare for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) population
  3. Bariatric Surgery & Obesity topics: weight bias, food access, surgical outcomes
  4. Use of laparoscopy in acute care surgery & trauma 

Is there a particular population of students (e.g., ethnicity, spiritual, sexual orientation) that you would particularly like to advise?

I am strongly interested in mentoring the following student populations: female, LGBT, ethnic minorities. In addition, I am interested in advising any student who has a strong interest in pursuing a surgical career.

What does a typical day in the life of a surgeon include?

I enjoy my job as a bariatric surgeon because every day is different. A typical week for me includes 1-2 days in the operating room, a half day of endoscopy, and 1.5 days of clinic. In addition, I give two educational lectures a month about obesity and bariatric surgery to the WV community. The remainder of my time is spent teaching students, residents, and learning more about my field. My hobbies include: spending time with my wife, gardening, yoga, music. 

What is the biggest challenge of being a surgeon?

The biggest challenge of being a surgeon is work/life balance. 

How do you foresee in surgery changing over the next 20 years?

The surgical field will continue to develop more minimally invasive methods to treat patients. Robotic surgery will become a more prevalent platform across all surgical specialties. The use of simulation in residency training will also increase. Sub-specialization and the need for fellowship training will continue. 

What advice would you give a student who is considering a surgery residency?

I believe all young physicians need to develop good self-care practices, which includes having self-awareness, cultivating a good support network, and having hobbies. These practices will allow them to better care for patients and also prevent physician burnout.