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dr peter caravella
Robotic Surgeon Dr. Peter Caravella P’25 Kicks Off Society of Skeptics for New Year
Paula Hong '16

Traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada, to commence Blair Academy’s Society of Skeptics program for the new school year is Dr. Peter Caravella P’25, a celebrated vascular and general surgeon who has performed over 5,000 robotic procedures since starting his medical career. On Tuesday, September 12, Blair students will get to hear Dr. Caravella’s life story and the reasons he finds his line of work–practicing medicine using modern, innovative technology–so enthralling.

Robotic surgery, also called robot-assisted surgery, is a modern medical practice that enables doctors to perform a variety of complex procedures with more accuracy and control than via traditional methods. One of the earliest devices that paved the way for the field’s success was the DaVinci system, a device that the FDA fully cleared in 2000, according to the National Library of Medicine. 

A doctor with over a decade’s worth of experience in robotic surgery, Dr. Caravella officially converted his entire practice to robotic surgery in 2017, after becoming enamored with the innovative instrument. 

“I plan to speak to the [Blair] students about my experience over the years. I started with  ‘open surgery,’ and transitioned into a more minimally invasive approach, which gets patients back to work a lot sooner, keeps them away from opioids, and allows them to recover more quickly, which generates better outcomes for patients receiving soft tissue surgery,” said Dr. Caravella in a pre-event interview. 

“I want to expose them to what the current and latest technology is in my field,” said Dr. Caravella, who seeks to pay it forward to students and give them every advantage in helping them find what interests them most.

“When I went into this career, we didn’t have technology for minimally invasive surgery. Now, not only do we have that, but we have artificial intelligence and machine learning. I’d like to expose them to the latest and greatest and maybe spur their interest in engineering or medicine. There are so many fascinating professions today because of innovative technology and my career is but one small facet of it.”

Apart from giving his time to high school students, Dr. Caravella is also lauded for being a generous mentor to his colleagues. Recently, he was named a national Key Opinion Leader (KOL) for Robotic Surgery and is well known for training surgeons across the nation. He also serves as a proctor for newly trained robotic surgeons, and his practice serves as a case observation site, where surgeons observe Dr. Caravella and his staff performing robotic surgery.

His love for teaching is evident, and Dr. Caravella, who is the proud parent of Madison Catron ’25,  hopes that students visit him after his event on Tuesday with questions. 

“I would be happy to speak with students and keep in touch even after my event. I have had high school students come and intern with me for a few weeks over the summer,” offered Dr. Caravella. “They can even come inside the operating room to see what we do and see whether or not they think the career is for them.”

All are invited to hear Dr. Caravella speak in the forum of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.

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