Faculty Profiles

Virginia Shaffer, MD

Virginia O. Shaffer, MD

Professor of Surgery, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Emory University School of Medicine

Scientific Director, Emory Crohn's and Colitis Center

National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP) Champion, Emory University Hospital

Telephone: 404.727.1540

Email: virginia.o.shaffer@emory.edu

American Board of Surgery Certification: General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery

Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member: 2011


Dr. Shaffer earned her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, did her general surgery internship and residency at the Emory University School of Medicine, and completed her colorectal surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Florida.

Her clinical specialties are laparoscopy, colon and rectal cancer, anal cancer, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, pouchitis, anorectal pathology, hereditary polyposis syndromes, rectal prolapse, pelvic floor disorders, and anal fistula.

Dr. Shaffer's health services and quality improvement research has included her successful effort to improve communication between home health nurses and Emory clinical personnel to lower the 30-day readmission rate for ileostomy patients, and her work to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) for patients after colorectal resection by identifying risk factors for SSIs.

She is also interested in refining treatment for inflammatory bowel disease patients, and is evaluating the efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in offering relief from pouchitis, an inflammation of the pouch created during surgery for ulcerative colitis that stores and eliminates solid waste. FMT is the delivery of healthy bacteria via placement of donor stool in the recipient's digestive tract.


  • Emory University Hospital

  • The Emory Clinic

  • Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University


  • MD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2003

  • General Surgery Internship and Residency, Emory University School of Medicine, 2003-2010

  • Transplant Immunology Fellowship, Emory Transplant Center, 2005-2007
  • Colorectal Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic Florida, 2010-2011

Current Organizational Memberships

  • American College of Surgeons, Fellow

  • American Medical Association

  • American College of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

  • Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons

  • Society of University Surgeons

  • Association of Academic Surgery

  • Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract

  • Surgical Outcomes Club

Current Editorships and Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Surgery

  • Editorial Board, Journal of Surgical Research: Clinical and Laboratory Investigation

Honors and Awards

  • Top Scoring Abstract Award, Third Annual Advancing Healthcare Quality Research Seminar, Emory University, 2016

  • Featured Faculty Researcher, Researcher Appreciation Day, Emory University, 2016

  • Outstanding Education Intervention Award, "Building an Intergrative, High Fidelity Simulation Program to Enhance Teamwork and Safety," Muret-Wagstaff S, Mashburn D, Pettroni K, Shaffer V, Sumler M, Sharma J. Emory Quality Conference, June 2017

Clinical Interests

  • Laparoscopy

  • Colon and rectal cancer

  • Robotic colorectal surgery

  • Anal cancer

  • Crohn's disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Pouchitis

  • Anorectal pathology

  • Hereditary polyposis syndromes

  • Rectal prolapse

  • Pelvic floor disorders

  • Anal fistula

Research Interests

  • Disease processes such as colon and rectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease

  • Development of novel treatments such as fecal microbiota transplantation and microbiome

  • Health services research as it affects patient outcomes and quality