Dr. Shrager assumed the role of Professor and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery in July 2008. He came to Stanford from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where he served as Associate Professor and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital. He earned his medical degree at Harvard, trained in surgery at Penn, and completed his thoracic surgery training at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Shrager has been identified as one of “America’s Top Doctors” and one of “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer” in Castle Connolly’s prestigious listings for multiple years running. Dr. Shrager has been awarded US News and World Report “Top Doctor” recognition in every year since that rating system was inaugurated in 2012 ; this award places him among the top 1% of thoracic surgeons nationwide based upon reviews by physician-peers. Evidence of his expert status among his peers also includes membership on the editorial board of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Shrager practices all aspects of thoracic surgery but has specials interest and experience in lung cancer, surgery for emphysema, and mediastinal diseases. His clinical publications reflect these interests. In all cases, he looks towards minimally invasive approaches where appropriate, including VATS (thoracoscopic) lobectomy for early stage lung cancer and transcervical thymectomy.

In the basic research realm, Dr. Shrager has focused upon the responses of the respiratory muscles to various disease states and interventions. His lab’s work has been published in important journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Professional Summary

Education & Certifications
  • Board Certification: American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery (1999)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Surgery, General Surgery (2009)
  • Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital Thoracic Surgery (1997) MA
  • Residency: Hospital of University of Pennsylvania Surgery Residency (1995) PA
  • Medical Education: Harvard Medical School (1988) MA
  • Thoracic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Thoracic Surgery (1997)
  • Surgery Training, Hospital of the Univ of Penn, Surgery (1995)
  • MD, Harvard University, Medicine (1988)

Honors & Awards
  • "Top Docs" Listing, Philadelphia Magazine (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • "Top Doctors" Listing, "America's Top Doctors for Cancer -- peer-elected (2006,07,08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 etc)
  • "Top Doctors" Listing, "America's Top Doctors" - peer elected (2007,08,09,10,11,12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 etc)
  • "Top Doctors" Listing, San Francisco Magazine (2009, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, etc17)
  • 2nd Edward D. Churchill Research Scholarship, American Association for Thoracic Surgery (1999-2001)
  • Cabot Graduation Prize, Harvard Medical School (1988)
  • Elected Member, American Association for Thoracic Surgery (2002)
  • Elected Member, American Surgical Association (2010)
  • Elected Member, Society for Clinical Surgery (2008)
  • Elected Member, Society of Clinical Surgery (2008)
  • Fellow, American College of Chest Physicians (2000)
  • Fellow, American College of Surgeons (2001)
  • Havighurst Graduation Prize, Amherst College (Top History Thesis) (1984)
  • Manstein Graduation Prize, Amherst College (Top Premed Athlete) (1984)
  • National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health (1990-1992)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Junior year induction, Amherst College (1983)
  • Simpson Fellowship, (For study at Harvard Medical School) (1984-1988)
  • Summa Cum Lauda, Amherst College (1984)
  • William I Inouye Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Sch. of Med. (1991)

  • Chair, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Workforce on General Thoracic Surger (2023 - Present)
  • Member, NCCN, Policy Advisory Committee (2019 - Present)
  • Member, American Association for Thoracic Surgery (2004 - Present)
  • Member, Society of Thoracic Surgeons (1998 - Present)
  • Member, American Surgical Association (2008 - Present)
  • Member, Society of Clinical Surgery (2007 - Present)

Administrative Appointments
  • Chief, Section of General Thoracic Surgery, UPenn (2003 - 2007)
  • Chief, Stanford Division of Thoracic Surgery (2008 - Present)
  • Co-Director, Stanford Center for Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery (SMITS) (2012 - Present)
  • Director, Stanford Respiratory Muscle Research Laboratory (2008 - Present)
  • Editorial Board Member, Annals of Thoracic Surgery (2001 - 2018)
  • Member, STS Workforce on Evidence-based Surgery (2006 - Present)
  • Physician Leader Thoracic Oncology CCP, Stanford Cancer Center (2010 - Present)


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Practice Locations

Thoracic Surgery Clinic in Palo Alto Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

875 Blake Wilbur Drive

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 498-6000

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Thoracic Cancer Program in Palo Alto Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

875 Blake Wilbur Drive

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 498-6000

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Esophagus Center Redwood City, CA
Redwood City, CA

420 Broadway Street, Pavilion D, 2nd Floor

Redwood City , CA 94063

(650) 736-5555

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Chest Wall Surgery Program Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

875 Blake Wilbur Drive

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 498-6000

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Patient Ratings

(33 Ratings)

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Patient Reviews

(178 reviews)

Dr. Joseph Shrager is an excellent surgeon/doctor and the best there is. I feel at ease under his care. Thank you!
Dr. Joseph Shrager was very patient and answered all my questions. He’s very knowledgeable and professional. 🙠🌷🌷
Dr. Joseph Shrager is concerned about what happened to me when I was hospitalized and did immediate plan to check my condition. I apprecate it very much the concerned he giving to his patient like me.
Before he talked to me he was well aware of the nature and history of my case
Excellent surgeon, clear articulation of procedure.
He is very knowledgeable and informative
Very pleasant . Answers questions.
Dr. Shrager, covered all my questions quite well, he is precise, efficient and very knowledgeable.
Wonderful Doctor.
I’m extremely grateful that Dr. Shrager was my surgeon. His follow up is excellent.
Very knowledgeable. Already had a game plan in mind before the meeting started. Straight to the point.
He was great answered all questions and set up the next steps.
muy bueno
Dr. Shrager makes me feel he cares about my health. He followed up after my surgery on a suspicious CT scan for more nodules. I really appreciate his dedication to his patients. Thank you Dr. Shrager
He is very clear and understanding. He explains very well what my options are and our next steps should be.
He is caring and so knowledgeable and professional. I feel fortunate to be his patient.
Based on my experience, Joseph Shrager is not only a brilliant surgeon but also an excellent problem solver and a compassionate person who listens to and helps patients facing difficult situations. Thank you Dr. Shrager!
Dr. Shrager is an excellent doctor who has helped me through my cancer experience. I have greatly appreciated his assistance and support and have only good things to say about him.
Best doctor ever had an experience with extremely knowledgeable
Very helpful! Peace of mind to know he is following and there for whatever may occur.
very informative
He was clear and helpful.
Excellent MD.
Excellent experience. Dr. Schrager listen to all my questions and answered them thoroughly.
amazing !
Very Nice Doctor
He and his staff are excellent and I will recommend him to anyone that needs this service. I am very confident with Standford Health Care services.
Dr. Shrager is an awesome doctor. He always made me fell well taken care of.
This was the first time seeing Dr. Shrager, read his reviews and also he is Standford provider and I am very satisfied with him and Standford medical services.
Excellent doctor
He was very professional, easier to understand, and spoke at a nice reasonable pace. He made me feel confident regarding his thoughts and recommendations. He answered my specific questions well. He assured me that doing the surgery would be a worthwhile thing to do.
Excellent doctor!
I cannot say enough about the excellent care Dr. Shrager provides, his team is knowlegeable, compassionate, always responsive. Dr. Shrager knows and is experienced, forthright about his field of medicine. I have full confidence in him for my care.
I appreciate the fact that I was provided with an appointment to be seen very quickly.
Very professional
I will not recommend him to see other patients.
He is warm. courteous,, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, the best one can hope for!
Answered all my questions. And I felt very confident when the zoom meeting was over.. I have all the confidence that Dr. Shrager will have me back on my feet in no time. He explained the procedure, the time in the hospital, the recovery time and what to expect while recovering
Great doctor
Very pleasant and answered my questions.....
He is very understanding and very thorough in caring patients. He is also knowledgeable and open to share his advice/opinions.
Warm, competent physician.
Excellent doctor.
Very high recommend,
Very competent during my visit except for the wait time.
Dr Shrager is direct and to the point which i really appreciate. He is also kind and empathetic which helps when delivering news. He explains things clearly and gives you the opportunity to ask questions if you have any. I’m grateful to have him as my doctor and trust my care to him completely.
Dr. Shrager and his staff are extremely professional and helpful. It is a pleasure being their patient.
His an outstanding Doctor and very well knowledgeable with everything you need to know. I’m very glad and happy that I had him as my specialist doctor with my condition. Speechless.
Provider was extremely professional and answered all questions regarding my condition and pending options.
Overall outstanding knowledge and well informed about my health. Fully prepared for the video appointment.
Dr. Schrager explained the complete procedure he is to perform.
Gave empathy and hope
Easy to talk to and explains thing well. Answers questions.
He is a professional doctor and take good care of my health. Thank you Dr Shrager.
Stanford. Doctors and Staff are the BEST!!!
I feel extremely fortunate to have Dr. Joseph Shrager managing my lung health. The expertise of his life's study is comforting and frees me from worrying. Sincere thanks to Stanford, Dr Shrager and his team.
It was a pleasant visit with Dr. Shrager
Dr shrager is very knowledgeable seems to be expert on this line of surgery. He’s got a lot of experience
Easy to talk to, provided suggestions if I thought surgery was not the way to go.
Listened to my concern and answered thoughtfully.
I am grateful to Dr, Shrager and his team for the care given to me during my malignant lung cancer treatment. It is likely that today I would not be able to respond to this question without their help.
Thank you for prompt care.
He was excellent.
He's an excellent doctor. Five stars!
Seems like a nice man. I have confidence in him as a doctor.
Very personable
He inspires confidence.
Dr. Shrager is easy to connect with, was informative, and I feel very comfortable with the decision to go ahead with surgery.
Thank you!
Appreciate his time and the way that he described the procedure and what to expect. Also appreciate getting this scheduled quickly.
He is excellent.
He was very forthcoming about my case and answered all my questions. I appreciate his directness.
Dr. Shrager has been wonderful. He has responded quickly and with a sense of urgency to the referral. His treatment has been thorough. Despite the patient/work load he must have, I felt he always knew who I was as an individual. He has been thoughtful, respectful and honest without causing undue fear. I feel lucky that I’ve been under his care
I trust his judgement. He is the best one to know what is going on with my wife.
He is a professional and well experienced physician. He takes good care in all of my follow up appointments. Thank you.
He was very clear and straight forward, which I appreciate.
Best Doctor in the business!!! He and his staff are awesome.
Grateful to have a Dr who is calm, direct, listens, and answers questions. Anyone working with Dr Shrager and is team is lucky.
I had a great experience with my video call with Dr. Shrager.
I am truly thankful that I was able to meet Dr. Shrager today. He was forthwith when it came to informing me about my upcoming procedure. I had several questions and he answered all of them so that I could understand every aspect of what is going to be done during the procedure. I am confident that Dr. Shrager is very capable of doing this procedure, I know without a doubt that Dr. Joseph Shrager and Standford will take great care of me!
Thank God for Dr. Shrager. He made my everyday life so much better & easier. Now, I can live & function normally without the worries of dripping sweat from my hands & armpits & also the embarassment & the anxiety that I had to go through because of this condition. Now I feel so happier & free. Thank you so much Dr. Shrager & God bless you.
The check-in person was right on time. The NP answered all of my questions with good, clear explanations. Dr Shrager answered all of my questions and told me how things will proceed in the future.
Lucky to have him.
He cured my cancer so all is good.
Very clear and to the point of the matter
He was informative and let me know what the next steps would be.
Very thing good, no comment.
He listened and explained everything in great detail and was very thorough
I feel very confident going forward with my surgery since I have met with Dr. Shrager and his capable staff. Dr. Shrager was very patient and answered all my questions. He told me how many of my type of surgery he does a year and I was very impressed.
Excellent doctor. I feel like I am in the best hands possible.
Joseph Shrager MD is a wonderful and caring physician, I’m lucky to have him as my doctor
He is very thorough while explaining my test results. He is also friendly and answered all my questions.
Very thorough, good answers to my questions.
Dr Shrager explained the surgery and was very clear with the process and what to expect after the surgery. He was extremely knowledgeable on my condition. I feel confident he will do a great job
I have confidence in him.
Very professional and appeared to be knowledgeable about the details on my condition.
HE IS THE BEST!!! I've been to many doctors in my lifetime. Dr. Shrager is down to business and gets it done. I feel lucky to have found him.
The PA and doctor thoroughly explained my problem and scheduled me for a lung biopsy.
I recommend the provider of care to other people for his kindness & his courtesy.
Well informed about my care.
Great experience!
Dr. Shrager - Efficient, comprehensive, takes action - puts team together - Real professional experience - Knows what he's doing - Took interest in my condition. Superior follow up.
I have extreme confidence for Dr. Shrager but I sometimes feel he is so RUSHED.
I had a very successful surgery and I'm very thankful to Dr. Shrager, Joseph Ben.
He does the best he can within the limits of training he does have.
Dr. Shrager gave me honest answers, including expectations. That information helped me make decisions for myself. He's an excellent provider.
Excellent experience.
Very friendly, very professional, a remarkable DOCTOR and also caring and concern about the patient.
Dr. Shrager was great!
I am very thankful for Dr. Shrager, Joseph Ben, MD. God bless him and his home!
We are blessed to have Dr. Shrager as our caregiver. We are very relieved & trust his care.
Dr. Shrager and his entire team took time to talk through all my questions, prognosis etc.
Prof. Shrager is an excellent doctor treating his patients with a great care.
Providers made visit a good experience & answered the questions I had.
I hope on one I know gets this cancer - but if they do I would recommend Dr. Shrager.
I'm satisfied.
We are so lucky that Dr. Shrager is in my dad's insurance network!
+ = superb!!
I have been given a second chance at life thank to Dr. Shrager and God!! Always a good experience.
Always courteous and professional.
It couldn't have been better!
Helpful & encouraging -
Both the doctor & the NP were excellent.
Dr. Shrager made me feel safe in his care.
Overall satisfactory.
Was completely satisfied with my choice of selecting Stanford Univ. found I had received an outstanding health care experience.
The best doctor I have ever met. Very fortunate to have Dr. Shrager for the surgery. I highly appreciate his effort an less staff! I have had 2 surgeons before. He is the best for my quick recovery.
I have nothing but praise for Dr Shrager & his staff. I am fortunate that I have such highly qualified caregivers.
Outstanding experience!!!
Very good.
He & she were wonderful.
Very professional & efficient.
Dr. Shrager is amazing and extremely kind & caring.
Excellent person very explicit.
The care provider and nurse are concern with the patient's health condition.
I was actually surprised by how accessible Dr. Shrager was especially for scheduling surgery so quickly, I actually came to Dr. Shrager for a second opinion, and after meeting with him, decided to have him do my surgery! He is impressive!
I would refer my friends to this doctor or hospital.
Went well.
World class surgeon, but also absolutely outstanding physician w/patient.
Dr. Shrager is obviously an excellent surgeon. However, his "bedside manner" is a little cold and stiff and abrupt.
Very good & helpful experience.
Good experience.
Very good.
Excellent doctors. Straight forward, no B.S. Quite possibly saved my life!
Dr. Shrager is my hero.
Love Dr. Shrager! He was very knowledgeable and if he had any concerns/questions he call the oncologist so our questions would be answered!
I expected the doctor to spend a little time with me - even to bring up/open my CT and other scans; I expected a REVIEW of my cancer and the most vacant scan and I received NONE of this. I surprised and disappointed me entirely - After all, this is STANFORD.
My experience was so amazing! I felt so lucky to be able to get such amazing care & prompt surgery.
Coming from a rural setting, the quality of care and efficiencies are truly stunning -
Dr. Shrager was smart, direct, & competent.
All Good!
The best!
Love Dr. Shrager and Angela. Just wish I had come to them sooner. I especially appreciated Dr. Shrager's compassion when he had to tell me my tumor was Stage II instead of Stage I after all. Thanks.
Provided every thing I needed to know & understand.
A very great dr.
Everyone is very conscientious! Actual time seeing doctor felt rushed.
I was weak from surgery & needed more specific advise about how to heal more quickly & did not get that. However. Dr. Shrager did a great job with surgery & referred me to Dr. Heather Walker.
Wanted more info about 2 spots on my lung -> New or old & seen before now?
Dr. Shrager, is an excellent thoracic surgeon. May God keep blessing him in his noble work!
I would definitely recommend it!
Dr. Shrager an excellent surgeon - brisk and to the point.
The entire experience was VERY positive.
Dr. Shrager is an excellent doctor!
The best provider. He is #1.
I could have been more aware of what I needed to know. My first surgery hospital stay in 50+ years I was not knowledgeable of hospital protocol.
Dr. Shrager & staff offer superior care and I feel very fortunate to have had him as my surgeon. Everything about his clinic is top-notch and he really cares about his patients but also provides the best care possible.
Limited experience with ACC cancer. Some of his comments went against what I know of the disease.
Dr. Shrager is an excellent doctor and I feel very fortunate to be his patient.
Staff was outstanding and very helpful as well as available.
Excellent - professional - gave me confidence that I was in the best hands.
The intern was so informative and Dr. Shrager told me more than I have been able to understand and answered questions - than I have in the last several months of my dr. in home town.
Excellent doctor in MANY ways!! I did feel slightly rushed in my last visit though.

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