Dr. Keith Zuccala has been appointed to serve as chairman for the Department of Surgery for the Western Connecticut Health Network.

The network operates New Milford and Danbury hospitals.

Dr. Zuccala, a board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeon and administrator, was chosen following an extensive national search.

As department chairman, Dr. Zuccala, board-certified in general surgery and a nationally recognized expert in laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery, will bring the added dimension of clinical business administration to the position of chairman.

"We cast a wide net in our search for new surgical leader, someone with excellent and varied skills," said Dr. John Murphy, president and CEO of the WCHN, "and with a clear vision for providing the highest level of quality care for our patients under the safest circumstances across our growing network.

"We were delighted to learn that the finest candidate was already a member of our network family," he said, "and so we are especially proud to make this appointment."

Dr. Zuccala broke new ground in the field of bariatric surgery with the development of micro-laparoscopic surgical procedures involving miniscule incisions," noted Dr. Murphy.

"This approach has brought him national and international attention," he said, "and thousands of patients have benefited as a result.

"Yet it is his dedication to, and his relationships with, his patients and physician colleagues," Dr. Murphy added, "that are most impressive and set him far apart from other candidates."

With nearly 20 years' experience, Dr. Zuccala also holds the titles of chief, Section of General Surgery, Danbury Hospital; Hospital Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Vermont College of Medicine; and is the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Surgical Champion at Danbury Hospital.

He holds the Harold & Myra Spratt Endowed Chair in Minimally Invasive Surgery and will now assume the role of the Carmen L. & Peter Buck Chair of Surgery.

In his role as head of surgery, Dr. Zuccala will oversee more than 150 medical practitioners, including physicians, physician assistants and APRN's for the hospitals.