Joseph W. Turek, MD, PhD, MBA
Accepting New Patients
Why are there no ratings?
Duke Health Provider question
I never forget the child I am operating on is someone’s baby and everything to them. I want to do everything I can to help these children live long, productive lives and to advance the field in the process.
– Joseph W. Turek, MD, PhD, MBA

Joseph W. Turek, MD, PhD, MBA

Pediatric Heart Surgeon, Pediatric Heart Transplant Surgeon

Duke Health Provider question
Accepting New Patients
Call for an Appointment
Areas of Expertise
Where I See Patients
Duke Children's Health Center Cardiology Clinic - Durham, NC
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center - Durham, NC
I never forget the child I am operating on is someone’s baby and everything to them. I want to do everything I can to help these children live long, productive lives and to advance the field in the process.
– Joseph W. Turek, MD, PhD, MBA

About Me


I am the chief of pediatric heart surgery at Duke Health. Being a heart surgeon was always a dream of mine as a child. Spending a summer in medical school with legendary pediatric heart surgeon, Aldo Castaneda, cemented my desire to devote my life to this profession. Clinically, I love the creativity, complexity and challenge associated with my work. I am also able to satisfy my investigational curiosities through an active basic and clinical research laboratory focusing on congenital heart disease. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to fulfill this dream back at Duke, a place that was so influential in my surgical training. Outside the hospital, I most enjoy spending time with my wife of 20+ years and three young children. We are an active family, always on the go… which mirrors my life at work.

School of Medicine Departments and Divisions
Current Appointments and Affiliations
Languages I Speak

Call for an Appointment

Areas of Expertise

Training and Education

Board Certification
American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Congenital Cardiac Surgery
American Board of Surgery, General Surgery
Cardiothoracic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, 2007-2010
Congenital Heart Surgery, Visiting Fellow, Texas Children's Hospital, 2010
Congenital Heart Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), 2010-2011
General Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, 2002-2007
MBA, Duke University, 2020
MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, 2002
PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2002

Clinical Focus and Research

My Research Interests
Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding a new mechanism by which the aorta enlarges in a life-threatening manner in patients with Marfan syndrome (MFS). MFS is a genetic condition that predisposes to aortic enlargement, or aneurysm, that can lead to life-threatening rupture or tearing of the vessel. I am currently investigating a new pathway which appears to contribute to aneurysms in this genetic condition. I have developed a model of accelerated aneurysm growth in mice genetically engineered to have MFS. All of these mice form significant aneurysms in just two weeks. When these mice are treated with the drug (Losartan) currently used in human MFS patients to prevent aneurysm growth, aortic growth is slowed, yet still present. Importantly, adding a second drug to the treatment regimen (which blocks a different receptor protein) almost completely stops the aneurysms from forming. It is my objective to understand new mechanisms by which aortic enlargement progresses in patients with MFS. This knowledge has the potential to reveal unique therapeutic targets to combat the devastating aortic pathology in MFS. I feel the most effective future therapy for our MFS patients will involve multi-drug regimens targeting these important alternate signaling pathways.

Publications and Grants

Insurance Accepted

Duke Health contracts with most major health insurance carriers and transplant networks, including the ones listed below.

    • Aetna Choice POS, Aetna Choice POS II
    • Aetna Elect Choice HMO, Aetna Open Access Elect Choice
    • Aetna Health Network Only, Aetna Health Network Option
    • Aetna HMO
    • Aetna Limited Benefit Insurance PPO
    • Aetna Managed Choice POS
    • Aetna Medicare Assure Plan (HMO D-SNP)
    • Aetna Medicare Eagle Plan (PPO)
    • Aetna Medicare Essential Plan (PPO)
    • Aetna Medicare Value Plan (HMO)
    • Aetna Open Access HMO, Open Access Aetna Select, Aetna Open Access Managed Choice
    • Aetna Open Choice PPO
    • Aetna PCP Coordinated POS Plan
    • Aetna Quality Point of Service (QPOS)
    • Aetna Select HMO
    • Aetna Traditional Choice
    • Aetna Voluntary Indemnity Group Plan
    • Aetna Whole Health – Duke WakeMed WKCC
    • Aetna/CVS Health
    • Ambetter of North Carolina
    • Blue Advantage
    • Blue Medicare (HMO, PPO)*
    • Blue Options (123, PPO, HSA)
    • Blue Select
    • NC State Employees Health Plan
    • *Duke HomeCare and Hospice does not participate in the plan.

    • Cigna Behavioral Health (*Limited eligibility)
    • Cigna Choice Plus
    • Cigna Connect Individual Family Plan
    • Cigna Open Access
    • Cigna Open Access Plus
    • *Please call Cigna Behavioral Heath to see if the provider is participating in your plan.

    • Duke Basic
    • Duke Select
    • Experience Health Medicare Advantage (HMO) Plan
  • Gateway Health Alliance
  • Healthgram
    • Humana Choice (PPO)
    • Humana Choice - Medicare Advantage (PPO)
    • Humana ChoiceCare - Medicare Advantage (PPO)
    • Humana Gold Choice - Medicare Advantage (PFFS)
    • Humana Gold Plus - Medicare Advantage (HMO)
    • Humana Medicare Advantage Group Plan - NC State Retirees
  • MedCost
    • First Medicare Direct
    • Medicare Part A
    • Medicare Part B
    • AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina
    • Carolina Complete Health
    • Healthy Blue
    • NC Medicaid Direct
    • WellCare of North Carolina
    • TRICARE Prime
    • TRICARE Prime Remote
    • TRICARE Select
    • AARP Medicare Advantage Plan 2 (HMO-POS)
    • AARP Medicare Complete (HMO, PPO)*
    • AARP Medicare Complete Essential (HMO)*
    • All Savers Alternate Funding
    • All Savers Fully Insured
    • United Healthcare (HMO, PPO, POS)
    • United Healthcare Charter/Charter Balance/Charter Plus
    • United Healthcare Choice/Choice Plus
    • United Healthcare Core/Core Essential
    • United Healthcare Navigate/Navigate Plus/Navigate Balanced
    • United Healthcare Option PPO
    • United Healthcare Passport Connect Choice/Choice Plus
    • United Healthcare Passport Connect Options PPO
    • United Healthcare Select/Select Plus
    • United Healthcare Shared Services - Harvard Pilgrim/UHC Options PPO Network
    • United Medical Resources (UMR)
    • *Duke HomeCare and Hospice and mental health providers do not participate with the plan.

Before scheduling your appointment, we strongly recommend you contact your insurance company to verify that the Duke Health location or provider you plan to visit is included in your network. Your insurance company will also be able to inform you of any co-payments, co–insurances, or deductibles that will be your responsibility. If you proceed in scheduling an appointment and your health insurance benefits do not participate with Duke, your out of pocket liability may be higher. We will contact you regarding your coverage and patient liability. If you are uninsured, learn more about our financial assistance policy.

External Relationships

Duke requires faculty members to report certain relationships outside of their employment in order to ensure potential conflicts can be addressed. This faculty member has reported no outside activities that relate to their Duke responsibilities.