Five partners in Palm Beach surgery group share a ’Canes connection
By Elaine Zeinner
Photography by Jeffery Salter
Animation by Picturebox Studios
Jesus Jimenez, M.D.
Jessica Buicko, M.D.
Reagan Ross, M.D.
Miguel Lopez-Viego, M.D.
Aidan Hamm, M.D.
hen Jessica Buicko, M.D. ’13, started her first surgical rotation with Miguel Lopez-Viego, M.D. ’86, and Jesus Jimenez, M.D. ’95, she didn’t plan on becoming a surgeon. That quickly changed.
“Fortunately, I was paired with Dr. Lopez-Viego as a clinical preceptor and immediately became immersed in the field of surgery,” Dr. Buicko said. “His work ethic, surgical skills, and dedication to student and resident education are unparalleled. He was inspiring to watch. I found myself staying late and working extra weekends and nights just so that I could learn more from him.”
Dr. Lopez-Viego convinced Dr. Buicko to stay at University of Miami /JFK Medical Center for her residency.
“He guaranteed that he was truly invested in my success and education and promised that I would graduate residency prepared for the ‘real world’ of general surgery,” Dr. Buicko said. “How could I say no to that?”
The Story Behind the Photo
Physical distancing? Yes!
In order to maintain physical distancing, our team photographed each physician in this photo safely and individually and then brought them together, through the magic of editing, as a compilation to help us better tell their story.
After completing a fellowship in endocrine surgery at Cornell University, Dr. Buicko returned to Miami, once again at Dr. Lopez-Viego’s urging. This time it was to join a practice that was already growing graduates of UM’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. In fact, one of her new colleagues was a former classmate of hers at the Miller School, Aidan Hamm, M.D. ’13.
After graduating from the Miller School, Dr. Hamm completed a general surgery residency at the University of Colorado and a vascular surgery fellowship at Carolinas Medical Center. He was also recruited back to the Miami area by Dr. Lopez-Viego.
“Dr. Lopez-Viego became a mentor to me,” Dr. Hamm said. “It was an honor to work beside him. He’s a triple threat — incredibly outgoing, always teaching, and just an amazingly good and technical surgeon.”
“In our practice, we share the common bond of the UM experience, and there also aren’t a lot of practices that do what we do,” Dr. Hamm explained. “We are a general and vascular surgery practice that offers experienced, technical care for complex cases. That’s Dr. Lopez-Viego’s leadership. He brought each of us into that and served as a mentor.”
The practice’s ability to offer general and vascular surgery attracted a third UM alum to the group — that and Dr. Lopez-Viego.
Reagan Ross, M.D. ’08, was one of Dr. Lopez-Viego’s first medical students. After spending time working alongside him, Dr. Ross decided to go into general and vascular surgery. She completed her general surgery residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where Drs. Lopez-Viego and Jimenez also completed residencies. Following a fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of Florida, she became part of the practice where she began her training. It was an easy choice.
“Typically, vascular surgery is very specialized,” Dr. Ross said. “This practice is one of the few that allows me to take on both vascular and general surgery cases.”
Jesus Jimenez, M.D. ’95, has been with the practice for 19 years. He says mentoring and training students isn’t just about passing on technical and interpersonal skills they’ll need in practice. It’s also about preparing the next generation to become great surgeons.
“UM is an excellent medical school because of the hands-on training students get — experience that allows students to become outstanding doctors,” Dr. Jimenez said. “Third- and fourth-year students see a large body of work, so they’ve seen a lot already when they go to residency. It’s a huge head start for them.”
That hands-on experience doesn’t just lend itself to technically excellent doctors and surgeons. It also prepares clinicians to work well in high-pressure situations. That’s a legacy important for Dr. Lopez-Viego and his partners to continue.
“The practice we’ve built over the past 30 years has become a local referral group,” he said. “We take some of the most complicated cases in oncology, vascular, and general surgery. Physicians know that we answer the call 24/7, 365 days a year, and the answer is always yes.
“We’re excited to solidify that relationship by recruiting the best UM grads, who also have outstanding residencies and fellowships, so that we can deliver the level of care our community needs and deserves,” he added.