Leah M. Backhus M.D., M.P.H.,F.A.C.S.

Leah M. Backhus M.D., M.P.H.,F.A.C.S.

Specialties and Expertise

Cancer Care (Lung), Esophageal Surgery, Pulmonary Disease, Surgery, Transplant Surgery




Dr. Backhus is an assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and chief of thoracic surgery at the VA Puget Sound. She trained in general surgery at the University of Southern California and cardiothoracic surgery at the University of California Los Angeles. Her practice consists of general thoracic surgery with special emphasis on thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgery. She is a member of the American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Backhus is engaged in clinical outcomes research in thoracic surgery through her work at the VA and at the University of Washington. She is a member of the UW Cardiothoracic Surgical Outcomes Group, which is a research consortium examining health services research questions across the continuum of cardiac, thoracic and congenital cardiac surgery. Currently, she is a scholar through the Institute for Translational Health Science at the UW. Her research centers on surveillance and survivorship care in lung cancer patients in evaluating needs, quality of life, patterns of care and adherence to national standards of care.

Patient Care Philosophy

My goal is to apply state-of-the-art medical and surgical techniques in the care of my patients. In doing so, I believe in a collaborative relationship between patient and provider and in care delivery that is patient-centered.

Personal Interests

Volunteer and community outreach.

Clinical Interests

Thoracic oncology, including lung, esophageal and chest wall malignancies; lung transplantation; benign diseases of the chest; lung volume reduction surgery and minimally-invasive thoracic surgery.

Research Interests

Cancer survivorship; cancer surveillance; patient-reported outcomes; surgical outcomes; lung cancer imaging and comparative effectiveness.


University of Southern CaliforniaMedical education2000
UCLA - Division of Cardiothoracic SurgeryResidencyCardiothoracic Surgery
Univ. of Southern CaliforniaInternshipGeneral Surgery
Univ. of Southern CaliforniaResidencyGeneral Surgery


Board Certifications

American Board of Thoracic SurgeryThoracic Surgery2010
American Board of SurgeryGeneral Surgery2008
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