Susan L Gearhart, M.D., M.Ed.

Headshot of Susan L Gearhart
  • Interim Chief of Colorectal Surgery
  • Associate Professor of Surgery


Colon and Rectal Surgery, Colon Cancer, Colon Surgery, Colorectal Cancer, Colorectal Disease, Colorectal Surgery, Constipation, Defecatory Dysfunction, Fecal Incontinence, Hereditary Colorectal Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Obstructed Defecation Syndrome (ODS), Oncology, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Rectal Surgery, Robotic Surgery, Sacral Nerve Stimulation, Slow Transit Constipation, Surgery, Surgical Oncology more

Research Interests

Biomarkers for dysplasia and cancer in inflammatory bowel disease; Prophylaxis for recurrent Chron's disease following surgery; New strategies for managing rectal cancer; Radiographic and biologic predictors of response to neoadjuvant therapy for rectal cancer more

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Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Appointment Phone: 443-997-1508
4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
Phone: 410-955-7323
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center - Google Maps

Johns Hopkins Medicine - Green Spring Station

Appointment Phone: 443-997-1508
10751 Falls Road
Falls Concourse Suite 412
Lutherville, MD 21093
Johns Hopkins Medicine - Green Spring Station - Google Maps


An associate professor of surgery and oncology, Dr. Gearhart joined the Johns Hopkins University faculty in 2001 after completing her colorectal fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. She was the first board-certified colorectal surgeon in the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery. As an academic surgeon, not only does she desire to better understand disease management through clinical research, she also shares a real joy of education and clinical excellence. In 2017, she completed her Master of Education in the Health Professions at The Johns Hopkins University. Her studies gave her the opportunity to develop colorectal surgery fellowship curriculum and design the general surgery endoscopy training curriculum. She serves as the facilitator for endoscopy training in our minimally invasive training center at Johns Hopkins, which gives her the opportunity to collaborate with other investigators in determining best methods to enhance procedural skills for our trainees. Dr. Gerhart serves as the director of quality in the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Within this role, she is working to establish Johns Hopkins Medicine as a center of excellence for geriatric surgical care. more


  • Interim Chief of Colorectal Surgery
  • Associate Professor of Surgery
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (1993)


  • General Surgery; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2000)


  • Colorectal Surgery; Cleveland Clinic Foundation (2002)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (Colon & Rectal) (2003)
  • American Board of Surgery (Surgery) (2002)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Early in her career as a surgeon, Susan Gearhart became interested in the surgical management of complex clinical problems in inflammatory bowel disease. Specifically, her work has focused on the diagnosis and management of dysplasia and cancer in inflammatory bowel disease. This work, in collaboration with colleagues in gastroenterology, pathology and radiology, has led to changes in the clinical management of this disease at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In a similar fashion, working with a multidisciplinary team, Dr. Gearhart helped develop a model for perianal Crohn’s disease in pigs and rodents. This work was funded through a grant from the Helmsley Foundation, for which she is a co-investigator. Dr. Gearhart introduced the use of a stem cell graft of umbilical cord for the management of rectovaginal fistula, and performed a phase I trial. This work was presented at a national meeting and published in the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons journal. In addition, Dr. Gearhart has collaborated with radiology colleagues to improve imaging modalities for the diagnosis and management of perianal Crohn’s disease and pelvic neoplasms, which has led to a more focused approach to the initial evaluation of these patients.  Dr. Gearhart serves as the surgeon champion for the National Surgery Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP). She has been instrumental in partnering with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and NSQIP to implement new quality initiatives at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, including the surgery Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program and the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program. Under Dr. Gearhart’s guidance, Johns Hopkins Bayview served as a pilot site for the ACS geriatric surgery program. This work was supported by an Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality grant. Implementation of these programs has improved outcomes for surgical patients at Johns Hopkins Bayview, and these outcomes have been reported in peer-reviewed publications. For her collaborative work on implementation of clinical pathways, Dr. Gearhart’s team was awarded the Clinical Excellence in Teamwork Award for 2017.

Videos & Media

  • 2016 Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork Award – Susan Gearhart, M.D.; Sara Sateri, M.D.; Dianne Bettick, R.N.; and the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Team, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

  • Fecal Incontinence: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatments

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