TTUHSC Lubbock Surgery Faculty Halldorsson Memorial Fund | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Ari Halldorsson, M.D., FACS, FCCP

Professor of Surgery
Medical Director, Trauma/Surgical ICU
Vice Chairman of Surgery
Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery,

Dr. Ari Halldorsson – a dedicated surgeon and surgical educator, loyal colleague, and friend to all of us in the Department of Surgery, died unexpectedly on 12/13/21. We will continue to honor his accomplishments and contributions with the establishment of a memorial fund in his honor to further his passion and aid future residents in their educational pursuits.

Please consider giving to the Ari Omar Halldorsson, M.D. Memorial Fund

View the Celebration of life service for Dr. Ari Halldorsson


The Department of Surgery is heartbroken at the sudden loss of our friend and colleague Dr. Ari Halldorsson on December 13, 2021. 

Dr. Halldorsson was a native of Iceland (or, in his words, a proud Viking!) and a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. He devoted most of his professional time over the past 20 years toward building a strong general surgery residency program, ensuring our graduates were trained to the highest standards. As Director of the Trauma and Surgical ICU at UMC he raised the level of surgical critical care in this region to new heights, with an emphasis on the latest in evidence based medicine alongside a strong focus on interdisciplinary care and teamwork. He was a loyal colleague and old-school surgeon, always ready to help and go the extra mile, even before being asked.
In the words of longstanding colleague Dr. Dixon Santana, that speak for all of us:
"We’ll remember you with all your special nuances and our memories from all the days gone before that we were privileged to share with you…
Today we’ll grieve for you, and cry for you and even smile because of you… And in all the tomorrows we’ll feel you – gone in some ways, but your presence ever near.
Go well…stay well…always."

He worked with passion, integrity and energy. With his departure all the people who knew him will miss a highly intelligent, vibrant individual with a rare friendliness and charm of personality. Ari was a genuinely warm and wonderful individual—one we will miss greatly. Our sorrow is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know him.

Dr. Halldorsson was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. After completing medical school at the University of Iceland, he chose to come to the United States where he completed his surgical residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the University of Arizona in Tucson. During this time, he realized he had a fervent interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery and went on to complete Fellowships in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Oncologic Thoracic Surgery and Heart and Lung Transplantation all at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Upon completion of his Fellowships, Dr. Halldorsson traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana where he received the appointment of Assistant Professor at LSU which he held for three years while he strengthened both his skills as a surgeon and an educator. In 2001, Dr. Halldorsson joined the faculty at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. In 2005 he was promoted to Full Professor of Surgery with Tenure. During his time at Texas Tech he has served as Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Medical Director of the Trauma and Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Vice Chair of Surgery and Director of CME activities within the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Halldorsson was very passionate about the education of our future physicians but most especially our future surgeons. From 2001-2002 he served as Clerkship Director for third year medical students. Since 2002, he has been the Residency Program Director for the Department of Surgery, a job that he is very enthusiastic about dedicating countless hours to the education and well-being of all of the young men and women that have progressed through his program. He has also developed several programs and courses used by both the Department of Surgery and the School of Medicine at TTUHSC. He has been the recipient of many teaching and role model awards further exemplifying both his skill and passion for surgical education.

Dr. Halldorsson was an accomplished researcher within his field and has approximately 200 publications, presentations and book chapters to his credit. Despite his busy practice, education, administrative work, and research, he tried to be active in international humanitarian work. He led or participated in mission trips to Honduras, Mexico and Vietnam.

For these reasons, and many more, the Ari Omar Halldorsson, M.D. Memorial Fund has been established to further his passion and aid future residents in their educational pursuits.

Special interest in General Thoracic Surgery problems relating to lungs, mediastinum and esophagus. Secondary interest: General Surgery, Intensive Care, Trauma. Strong believer in minimally invasive surgical approaches to thoracic pathology including Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS). Also strong advocate of multidisciplinary approach to evaluation and treatment of lung cancer. 

I strongly believe that it is our professional duty to pass on wisdom and experience to the next generation of surgeons. Interacting with surgery residents and seeing them grow from timid interns to well educated, technically skilled and overall competent chief residents is the most rewarding aspect of being in academic practice. I am especially interested in the overall organization of the residency to maximize the residents learning experience and the latest educational and evaluation methods such as OSCE's, Simulation labs and incorporation of the six core competencies into the curriculum and clinical teaching. 



Cardiac Surgery, Louisiana State University, Shreveport, Louisiana 1992-1993
General Thoracic Surgery, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 1995-1996
Heart and Lung Transplantation, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 1996-1997


General Surgery, University of Iceland, Reykajvik Iceland 1982-1986
General Surgery: Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 1986-1989
General Surgery: University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 1989-1991
Thoracic Surgery: University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 1993-1995

Medical School:

University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland 1976-1982


American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery


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