Our Team

Wiley NifongDr. L. Wiley Nifong is an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the East Carolina Heart Institute. He is the director of surgical robotics and director of surgical research. He has been involved with the training of over 900 surgical teams in the use of minimally invasive and robotic surgery.

Dr. Nifong is a pioneer of new technology to aid minimally invasive procedures including atrial fibrillation ablation energy sources, anastomotic devices, adherence devices, sutureless technology, and intracardiac retraction.


Hazaim AlwairDr. Hazaim Alwair is an assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the East Carolina Heart Institute. In conjunction with the Robotic Training Program, he is an integral part of our surgeon-led training. His surgical specialties are minimally invasive mitral valve repair surgery, surgical therapy for atrial fibrillation, complex aortic repair, complex aortic valve surgery, coronary revascularization, and intraoperative 3-D trans-esophageal echocardiography.


Susan Bewick, CCP, LP
Robotic Training Educator

Susan is the director of the robotic training lab and has worked as a licensed perfusionist for over 23 years. She has greatly contributed to the development and continued success of the robotic training program by serving as a robotic training educator for teams visiting the East Carolina Heart Institute. Ms. Bewick is a certified trainer in robotic gynecology, urologic, general, cardiac, and thoracic surgeries.

Rebecca Merrick Gilbird, MPH
Business Services Coordinator

Rebecca serves as Dr. Nifong’s executive assistant and the business services coordinator for the Robotic Training Center. She has a BS in biology from the University of North Carolina and a masters of public health from East Carolina University. Rebecca brings a unique perspective to the team acquired through her past work with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the United States Senate, and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

Jerome D. Fuller
Director of Telecommunications, Networks & Special Projects

Jerome D. Fuller is the Director of Telecommunications, Networks & Special Projects at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University. He received a BS in Public Administration with an emphasis in Business Law & Information Systems from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, PA. With over a decade of experience in distance education platforms such as IP and Web based Bidirectional Video & Audio conferencing, Jerome has been involved in designing, developing and hosting multiple cardiothoracic robotic surgery educational events. He has worked in the field of Robotic Surgery Training for over 8 years, with his specialty being Web based distance educational models. He and his wife, Annie, have two children, Elisha and Elana (who he says are his most notable accomplishments).

Robotic Surgery team
From left: Jerome Fuller, Rebecca Gilbird, Dr. Nifong, and Susan Bewick

Contact Us

If you are a patient or have clinical questions, please contact the East Carolina Heart Institute at 252-744-4400 or visit the website at www.eastcarolinaheartinstitute.com.

Mailing address:
Robotic Surgery Center for Training and Education
East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University
115 Heart Drive
Greenville, NC 27834

Download a PDF map

Phone: 252-744-2187
Fax: 252-744-3542

East Carolina Heart Institute Robotic Training Center Originating Countries of Trained Surgeons
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