John A Kern

John A Kern, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Primary Location:
Heart and Vascular Center

2nd Floor

1215 Lee St.

Charlottesville, VA 22903

Secondary Locations:


ABMS Certification:
Surgery, 1996; Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery, 1998; Vascular Surgery, 1999
Research Interests:

Spinal cord protection, Aortic aneurysms

Clinical Practice:
Coarctation of the Aorta, Carotid Artery Disease, Coronary Artery Disease Care, Vascular Ehlers-Danlos, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Marfan Syndrome, Mitral Regurgitation, Mitral Stenosis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), Adventitial Cystic Disease, Aortic Aneurysm Repair & Removal, Aortic Arch Aneurysm, Aortic Stenosis, Aortic Valve Replacement, Arterial Dissections, Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm, Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm, External Iliac Arteriopathy, Femoral Aneurysm, Fibromuscular Dysplasia, Iliac Aneurysm, Infected Aortic Grafts, Innominate Artery Disease, May-Thurner Syndrome, Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome, Mesenteric Arterial Disease, Mitral Valve Repair, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), Popliteal Aneurysm, Popliteal Entrapment, Pulmonary Regurgitation, Reoperative Heart Surgery, Subclavian Arterial Disease, Takayasu's Arteritis, Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Repair, Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm, TAVR, Traumatic Aortic Injury, Vasculitis, Subclavian Aneurysm, Visceral Aneurysm, Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm, Suprarenal Aneurysm, Fenestrated Endovascular Grafts, Mini Valve Replacement Surgery, Aortic Disease, Aorta Disease, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Heart Devices, Heart Transplant, Heart Valve Disease, Vascular Screening, Heart Rhythm Disorders, Heart Transplant, Heart Surgery

Surgical Director, Heart and Vascular Center



Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Kern completed his undergraduate studies at The Pennsylvania State University, He has strong roots in Charlottesville, having attended medical school at the University of Virginia. He also completed his surgical training at the University of Virginia and is board-certified in general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and vascular surgery. He joined the faculty in 1998 and is surgical director of the heart transplantation program/mechanical circulatory assist device and surgical director of UVA Heart and Vascular Center and the program director for the thoracic surgery residency.

Dr. Kern is dedicated to educating and mentoring residents at the University of Virginia. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Socrates Award from the Thoracic Surgeons Residents Association. This award is given in recognition of dedication to residency training. Dr. Kern has also received the Dean's Award for Clinical Excellence and is a member of the University of Virginia's Academy of Distinguished Educators. He has been voted the Surgical Attending of the Year twice by the graduating chief residents in surgery.

Dr. Kern is a member of all of the major cardiac and vascular surgical societies and has active committee memberships in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the South Atlantic Cardiovascular Society, and is a past-president of the Virginia Vascular Surgical Society.  

Dr. Kern’s clinical interests are diverse and include all aspects of adult cardiac surgery including coronary artery disease and coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic and mitral valve disease, heart failure, heart transplantation and left ventricular assist devices, thoracic aortic aneurysms and valve sparing techniques, as well as stent grafting for thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. He has a particular interest in new therapies for aortic dissections and trans-catheter aortic valve replacement.

Dr. Kern is dedicated to providing compassionate care to a diverse patient population. In addition to his busy cardiac surgical practice, Dr. Kern also cares for patients with all aspects of vascular disease including aortic aneurysmal and occlusive disease, peripheral vascular disease, cerebral vascular disease, renal artery disease, mesenteric vascular disease and median arcuate ligament syndrome, and he has a special interest in thoracic outlet syndrome.

  • 2018, 2019 Best Bedside Manner Awards, OurHealth Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley Magazine; First Place, Surgery: Cardiac
  • 2011-2020 Best Doctors in America® List
  • 2014 Socrates Award for best cardiothoracic educator in the country
  • 2013 H-CUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project) award for best article of the year


University of Virginia, 1988
General Surgery, University of Virginia; Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Virginia; Vascular Surgery, University of Virginia