Vivian Bea, M.D.

Vivian Bea M.D.After completing her Surgical Residency at MUSC in 2016 and Breast Surgery Fellowship at M.D. Anderson in June, 2017, Vivian Bea, M.D., surgical alumna class of 2016, joined the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “At MD Anderson, I trained with some of the best minds in the world. During my fellowship, every day was a pearl,” says Vivian. "One of their missions at M.D. Anderson is to take this specialty training and use it out in the community -- that's why I thought the Breast Care Center at Cooper was such a good fit for me." 

MD Anderson Cooper Health Care System is one of the busiest sister locations at MD Anderson. Faculty from MD Anderson Houston visit every month providing a robust support and training network, allowing Vivian to continue to tap into their world-class resources. An added benefit, the Health Care System is a hybrid approach to health care and Vivian will serve on the faculty at Cooper University Medical School, where she plans to engage in resident and medical student education, and continue her disparities in breast cancer research. 

She feels fortunate for her MD Anderson training and attributes much of her success during her fellowship year to her surgical residency at MUSC. "Towards the end of my fellowship year, I was continually recognized for my excellent patient care. It was then, I realized a strong foundation is equally important to advanced intensive training,” comments Vivian.

“Residents learn from what they see from daily interactions in the clinic, with team members, and with the health care system. For me, my mentors at MUSC, like Nancy DeMore, M.D., were top notch. Dr. DeMore really set the bar for me -- just watching her interact with patients was remarkable." 

"This year at MD Anderson, I quickly realized the first few years of surgical education is so important. One of the lessons I learned very early on was from Dr. Othersen's Bee Hive Session. He would ask us "When you go into a patient’s room, what do you do?" He would then instruct us: "You introduce yourself, you wash your hands, and you sit and listen to your patient."

According to Vivian, the sitting part is so important. To the patient, you are telling them that the time you have right now is exclusively theirs. To the physician, you are connecting with the patient in a different way -- you are more present. "This simple act that Dr. Othersen teaches during his Bee Hive sessions instills compassion in his trainees," comments Vivian. "It is the foundation of the excellent patient care I was recognized for during my fellowship, and continues with me every day in my surgical practice." 

Dr. Bea has received numerous awards and recognition, including the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation URM RT Award, the AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award.  Most recently, she was named to the National Minority Quality Forum Top 40 under 40 in Leaders Health. 

Her recent medical publications include: 

  • Vivian J. Bea, MD; Joan E. Cunningham, PhD; Dana R. Burshell, MPH; Marvella Ford, PhD. Evaluating Alcohol & Tobacco Use in an Ethnically Diverse Sampe of Breast Cancer Patients, Including Sea Island African Americans: Implications for Survivorship. Frontiers in Oncology, September 2018
  • Benjamin Rober, MD., Vivian J. Bea, MD, Isabelle Bedrosian, MD, FACS. How does MR Imaging help care for my breast cancer patients? Perspective of a surgical oncologist. MRI Clinics of North America, January 2018
  • Anna Weiss MD, Elizabeth A Mittendorf MD PhD, Sarah M DeSnyder MD, Rosa F, Hwang MD, Isabelle Bedrosian MD, Karen Hoffman MD, Beatriz E Adrada MD, Vivian Bea MD, Aysegul A Sahin MD, Henry M Kuerer MD PhD, Kelly K Hunt MD, Abigail S Caudle MD MS. Expanding Implementation of ACOSOG Z0011 in Surgeon Practice. Clin Breast Cancer, Aug 2018
  • Vivian J. Bea, Dalliah M. Black, Kelly K. Hunt. Percutaneous Ablation in the Treatment of Breast Cancer, Changing Paradigms in the Management of Breast Cancer. Springer Textbook, Sept 2017

A busy surgical oncologist, Dr. Bea is also a published author of a new children's book. In 2018, Dr. Bea co-wrote her first children's book with her son, Charles Bea, Jr. "Please Don't Touch My Magical Hair." The book is part of a series The Chocolate Kid Chronicles, which shares stories that are unique to children of color while celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of their experiences.

To learn more about Dr. Bea, visit her website at