Dr. Bob Sommer was born in New York City, and has barely left the place since, with the exception of 4 years of college at Princeton, New Jersey, and 6 months of Interventional Fellowship Training at Boston Children’s Hospital (he came home on the weekends!). Dr. Sommer trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology, and started the first Pediatric Interventional Catheterization Laboratory in New York in 1991. In 1999, when the CardioSEAL device received FDA approval under the HDE guidelines, Dr. Sommer redirected his professional focus to the adult patient with Congenital Heart Disease, and started his own practice in 2000, to care for this underserved population. In addition to PFO closure, Dr. Sommer performs catheter intervention for a wide array of congenital and structural disease, in “children” of all ages, from infancy to their ninth decade of life. In 2005, he joined Columbia University Medical Center, and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.
Dr. Sommer was an investigator in the CLOSURE I Trial, is participating in the RESPECT Trial, and was the National Cardiology PI for the ESCAPE Migraine trial. He is a member of the Gift of Life Cardiac Team, which travels around the world, biennially, performing surgical and transcatheter procedures on children-in-need with congenital heart disease. When he’s not closing holes, Dr. Sommer is digging them on the beach at the Jersey Shore, or filling the divots he makes in the fairways of local golf courses. He is an avid reader and plays tennis and softball. He can still turn a double play, in spite of his wobbly knees.
He has been married for 26 years (to the same person!), and has three children – twins still in college and an older daughter who has graduated, has gotten a job, an apartment, and is now off his payroll. He is an avid Mets fan despite their general level of incompetence. Dr. Sommer’s wife thinks that his relationship with his Wheaten Terrier is unnatural.