About Physician Entrepreneur Academy


At Physician Entrepreneur Academy (PEA) our mission is to empower and inspire as many physicians as possible to take full control of their lives and careers while making a positive impact on the universe.

At PEA, we show you what it takes to master your mindset and become self-sufficient through continued education and applied knowledge. We  encourage you to call the critical shots that affect your career, your future, and ultimately, your happiness.

Core Values:

Trust, Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Gratitude

Core Principles:

Accountability, Meritocracy, Focus, Execution

PEA was founded and created by Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Physician Entrepreneur, Russ Reiss, MD.

Cardiac Surgeon, Entrepreneur, Coach

Russ earned his medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, completed residencies in General Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Utah and an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center in New York City.

From 1995-1998, while still in Philly, Russ completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Center for Gene Therapy studying the regenerative and protective properties of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). As part of his thesis work, he discovered and patented a phenomenon in which MSCs alone could be used to rescue mammals and humans from lethal radiation, as may be experienced in a nuclear meltdown or exposure to a "dirty bomb."

Russ Performing Open Heart Surgery

As a young academic surgeon at the University of Utah, he co-founded the Center for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine and in 2005, obtained one of the first FDA approvals in the nation to place bone marrow derived stem cells directly into the hearts of patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Next, Russ started Utah's only public umbilical cord blood bank to harvest cord blood and stem cells for free, as a public service and resource, to be used in life-saving bone marrow transplants, mainly for children suffering from leukemia and other life-threatening blood disorders.

During this same time, Russ was an integral member of the commercialization team that was granted the first FDA approval for use of MSCs to prevent kidney failure after cardiac surgery. He played an important role in the design and execution of a successful Phase I clinical trial, which ultimately led to $25M in Series B funding. Today, he remains the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Board Member in charge of Investor Relations at SymbioCellTech, LLC, in Salt Lake City, Utah, helping this same team navigate the regulatory pathway to FDA approval and conduct clinical trials using stem cell therapy to cure Type I Diabetes.

Throughout his surgical career, Russ has remained continuously active in advancing the fields of Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine through numerous public and private ventures, and has received research support from the NIH, NSF, VA Merit Review and others.

He has worked extensively with hydrogels and related biomaterials and also helped develop the first magnetically driven left ventricular assist device (LVAD) for World Heart Corporation.  Russ has been a successful Founder, Co-founder, Angel Investor, and active Life Science Executive and Consultant in numerous startups and biotechnology companies, all of which continue to work diligently to bring new medical devices and therapies to the clinic.

Russ in his Stem Cell Lab at the Salt Lake City VA Hospital 

In a slightly different vein, from 2007-2011, while still practicing cardiothoracic surgery and running his clinical research program, Russ was the Medical Director of Creating Wellness, an organization whose mantra is Be Fit, Eat Right, Think Well. Through the use of a unique scoring metric known as the Wellness Quotient, realistic goals were set for individuals appropriate to their particular health needs. As Medical Director, Russ provided clinical insight and programatic support for the development of corporate wellness initiatives throughout the world.

In 2011, after completing an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at NYP-Columbia University Medical Center, Russ became one of only two cardiac surgeons in the nation to be certified in both Cardiothoracic Surgery and Interventional Cardiology in order to perform complex cross-disciplinary cardiovascular procedures such as hybrid percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). After this milestone, he relocated his family to Wisconsin, and became the Director of the Valve Clinic and Transcatheter Valve Therapies at St. Mary's Cardiac Center in Madison, where he built a very successful TAVR and surgical valve program.

Then in 2012, bad luck hit hard and Russ was diagnosed with leukemia. Ultimately, he won a very scary battle but this was a big wake up call for him, one that led to a pivotal moment in his life where he realized he wanted to drastically change his lifestyle while still making a big impact in medicine. He recognized that one way to do this, and ultimately impact many more lives, was to concentrate on Life Science commercialization and initiatives that helped people "upstream" long before they were in need of his services as a cardiothoracic surgeon.

So, he and his family relocated yet again, this time back to beautiful Park City, Utah. Once there, Russ began working significantly more hours as a Life Science consultant while simultaneously building an outpatient clinic to help people stay healthy by maximizing human performance, thinking positive, and maintaining strong nutrition to avoid injury and disease. Russ is particularly interested in the cardiopulmonary physiology of the aging athlete and the clinical application of cell therapy and regenerative medicine in speeding functional recovery of acute injuries and chronic conditions.

Russ Free Skiing in the Wasatch Backcountry

Much of Russ' focus right now is on directing operations at SymbioCellTech as the company moves into human clinical trials hoping to cure diabetes. However, he created PEA because he is most passionate about teaching and coaching other physicians how they can maximize their potential as physician entrepreneurs, avoid burnout, and find peace of mind in their personal lives.

Russ currently lives in Park City, where he and his family enjoy skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fly fishing and playing music. 

Questions and Support

Questions for Russ or to contact the PEA Support Staff, email [email protected]

To sign up for PEA Membership, take the E-Course, or Get Coached, Click Here


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