Heslin Martin 2 surg On

Executive Vice-Chair, Department of Surgery
Chief of Medical Staff, UAB Hospital
James P. Hayes, Jr. Endowed Professor in Gastrointestinal Oncology

Areas of Interest
gastrointestinal oncology, focusing primarily on neoplasms of the pancreas, stomach, colon and rectum


Dr. Martin J. Heslin, M.D. joined the faculty of UAB Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology in 1996, following completion of his Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Sloan-Kettering Hospital. He is the James P. Hayes, Jr., Endowed Professor in Gastrointestinal Oncology. 

He has extensive training in hepatobiliary , pancreatic, and colorectal surgery. He has established a thriving gastrointestinal oncology practice which focuses primarily on neoplasms of the pancreas, stomach, colon and rectum. In 2001, Dr. Heslin was instrumental in the establishment of the UAB Inter disciplinary Gastrointestinal Oncology Center.

Dr. Heslin also serves as the Chief of Medical Staff. In the operating room and the clinic, Dr. Heslin is a key instructor and role model for medical students and house staff.

He is a reviewer of four professional journals, author or co-author on over 80 publications and 9 book chapters. He has been intermittently funded researcher with one current grant. He works with the Robert E. Reed Foundation to support research in GI cancers. The Reed Foundation has consistently supported research in the GI oncology lab for over 10 years.


Dr. Heslin’s research includes both clinical and nonclinical topics. His research interests vary, with topics from surgical outcomes to physician management, but keep a common underlying theme of improving the practice of medicine. Current projects focus on upgrading existing policies, such as physician peer review, and collecting/analyzing meaningful data in patient experience and ongoing physician practice trends. Below are brief summaries of ongoing projects:

  • Two Word: Questions “Describe your provider in two words,” and “Describe your faculty member in two words,” were added to the patient experience survey and resident evaluation form. Words are categorized as either positive or negative then analyzed and presented utilizing visually stimulating word clouds. These word clouds can be used by the Peer Review Committee, Department Chairs, or Divisions Chairs for physician evaluation and management. Each month, thousands of additional words are collected to provide a qualitative view of provider/faculty practice.
  • Optimizing Perioperative Communication: Data was collected from patient records, nominal groups, and follow-up phone calls to understand barriers surrounding physician lead perioperative communication. Interventions to address communication needs pre-, during, and post- operation have been tested. Currently, the initiative is to reanalyze data with newly collected information to better understand caregiver’s and surgeon’s expectations regarding communication and better manage these expectations.
  • Peer Review Process: The peer review policy is continually being updated to be a useful tool of accountability and advocacy for the health care provider. The primary goal is to understand the inherent systemic stressors impacting the practice of medicine. Reporters and those reported are asked to provide their perception of patient and staff harm. Also, each event is categorized as either behavioral or systemic. Data reports are provided to senior leadership to encourage changes across the system to make the practice of medicine more efficient for providers.

Selected Publications

Korb ML, Hawn MT, Singletary BA, Cannon JA, Heslin MJ, O'Brien DM, Morris MS. Adoption of preoperative oral antibiotics decreases surgical site infection for elective colorectal surgery. Am Surg. 2014 Sep;80(9):e270-3. 

Finan KR, Cannon EE, Kim EJ, Wesley MM, Arnoletti PJ, Heslin MJ, Christein JD.Laparoscopic and open distal pancreatectomy: a comparison of outcomes. Am Surg. 2009 Aug;75(8):671-9; discussion 679-80. 

Howard JH, Tzeng CW, Smith JK, Eckhoff DE, Bynon JS, Wang T, Arnoletti JP,Heslin MJ. Radiofrequency ablation for unresectable tumors of the liver. Am Surg.2008 Jul;74(7):594-600; discussion 600-1 

Heslin MJ, Winzeler AH, Weingarten JO, Diethelm AG, Urist MM, Bland KI.Laparoscopic adrenalectomy and splenectomy are safe and reduce hospital stay and charges. Am Surg. 2003 May;69(5):377-81. 

Vickers SM, Chan C, Heslin MJ, Bartolucci A, Aldrete JS. The role of pancreaticoduodenectomy in the treatment of severe chronic pancreatitis. Am Surg.1999 Dec;65(12):1108-11; discussion 1111-2.


Medical School
SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse

Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

New York University Medical Center

Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center


Campus Address
BDB 625