Heart surgery

University of Mississippi Children’s Medical Center’s New Heart Surgery Leader Brings Care Closer to Home


November 15, 2021

The chance to be closer to home brought Dr. Phillip Burch to the Mississippi Children’s Hospital. Now as the head of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, he wants children and families across the state to have the same opportunity of care.

Burch, from Alabama, joined the Heart Center leadership team at the state’s only children’s hospital in October. He comes to Children’s of Mississippi from the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Previously, he was Co-Executive Director of the Heart Center, Surgical Director of Pediatric Heart Transplantation, and Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Utah / Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“My family and I are happy to be closer to home and I am thrilled to help the children of Mississippi get the care they deserve closer to home,” said Burch. “The Children’s of Mississippi Heart Center cares for children across the state with congenital heart disease. Children’s of Mississippi has developed an excellent multidisciplinary team that provides cardiac care to children for both simple and complex injuries.”

About one in 100 babies has a congenital heart defect, or coronary artery disease, the most common type of birth defect. These can range from mild to critical.

About 25% of children with coronary artery disease are born with a critical congenital heart defect. Because these defects can cause blood oxygen levels to drop, children with heart defects often require surgery soon after birth.

“The potential to continue to grow and develop the cardiothoracic surgery program at the Children’s of Mississippi is exciting and the facilities are excellent,” said Burch. “The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower is brand new, having recently celebrated the first anniversary of its opening. The operating theaters and intensive care units, located in the Sanderson Tower, are state-of-the-art. The new tower combined with other facilities including the Children’s of Mississippi provides an unparalleled facility. Our team of cardiologists, critical care specialists, surgeons and pediatric anesthesiologists work together to provide exceptional cardiac care to children across the state.

The Sanderson Tower, which opened on November 2, 2020, includes a dozen state-of-the-art operating theaters as well as a new catheterization lab opened this year. The tower, named after Sanderson Farms CEO and Chairman of the Board, Joe Sanderson and his wife, Kathy, also includes private neonatal and pediatric intensive care rooms, a pediatric imaging center and clinics. ambulatory care for pediatric cardiology and other specialties.

The Sanderson Tower was opened as a complement to the Batson Tower, named after the first president of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Blair E. Batson. Opened in 1997, the Batson Tower includes floors for inpatients and clinics, including the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and the Eli Manning Clinics for Children.

A graduate in chemistry from the University of Alabama, Burch received his medical degree from the University of Southern Alabama in Mobile before completing his residency in general surgery at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Burch then completed his cardiothoracic surgery internship at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed his training in congenital heart surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Dr. Mary Taylor, president of Suzan B. Thames and professor of pediatrics, said Burch will provide world-class surgical care to Mississippi children as well as surgical leadership to advance children’s heart care.

“Dr. Burch’s surgical skills and commitment to care will benefit children born with coronary heart disease and their families,” Taylor said. “He is a recognized medical leader and we are pleased to welcome him to the Children’s of Mississippi and UMMC.”

The addition of a surgeon and a leader in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery will help the Children’s of Mississippi’s Children’s Heart Center grow, said Dr. William Moskowitz, head of the division of pediatric cardiology at UMMC and co-director from the Children’s Heart Center.

This press release was produced by the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.