Stephen L. Noble, MD, FACS
Thoracic Surgeon, Chesapeake Regional Surgical Specialists; U.S. Navy Medical Corps (Ret.)
No matter where the Navy took Dr. Stephen Noble as a surgeon, including a wartime hospital in Afghanistan with regular mass casualty events, he embraced being part of a team with a common mission.
After seven years of military service, Dr. Noble carries that same mentality into his work as an innovative cardiothoracic surgeon and a dedicated mentor to students interested in medicine, particularly those of color.
“If everyone focuses together on what’s best for the health and welfare of patients, it’s amazing what can be accomplished,” he says. “That’s true in any setting.”
Now Medical Director for the Lung Nodule Program at Chesapeake Regional Surgical Specialists, Dr. Noble specializes in minimally-invasive surgery – specifically, robotic thoracic surgery – lung cancer screening and prevention, and reducing health outcome disparities.
In his previous position as Staff Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Assistant Professor at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), Dr. Noble helped establish the Adult Robotic Thoracic Surgery program and performed the center’s first such procedures.
“I was proud to do it,” he relates. “Veterans always deserve our appreciation, and that includes access to the latest medical technology.”
An Oregon native, Dr. Noble was fascinated by human body systems by age 5, often staring at encyclopedia images at his grandparents’ home. He chose Xavier University of Louisiana for his pre-medical studies due to its strong reputation for getting Black students into medical school.
Dr. Noble was a first-year student at Indiana University School of Medicine on Sept. 11, 2001. Watching coverage of the terrorist attacks in a school auditorium, he felt an immediate urge to serve and soon joined the Navy (Top Gun was a favorite movie).
After completing an internship and residency in General Surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Noble spent two years as a Staff Physician and Surgeon at Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms in California, serving a large Marine live-fire military training installation.
Dr. Noble did a Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship at The Ohio State University before deploying in October 2016 for six months to a NATO Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
As a General and Cardiothoracic Surgeon on a multi-disciplinary team, Dr. Noble operated on 80-plus critically injured patients – including five complex lung resections – with a 99 percent patient survival rate. The team faced everything from severe kidney damage and ocular enucleation to burn and blast injuries and a blood vessel graft procedure for a 12-year-old Afghan boy shot in the arm.
Between patients, physicians helped clean operating rooms and sterilize equipment. “Everyone pitched in, from all walks of life,” Dr. Noble says. “Nothing can really prepare you, but you get the chance to perform at the very top of your medical training.”
Back in America, Dr. Noble practiced at NMCP until separating from the Navy in 2018. He spent time as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in Washington and California before joining his current practice in 2022.
Dr. Noble also recently authored a children’s book, “The Heart of a Hero: The Dr. Daniel Hale Williams Story.” Dr. Williams performed the country’s first successful open-heart surgery and opened its first non-segregated hospital in Chicago.
“It goes back to the importance of the team,” Dr. Noble says. “For society to succeed, there has to be equity. And kids from all backgrounds should feel they can pursue a career in medicine.”
A married father of five, Dr. Noble enjoys playing video games in his free time, noting that they help hone hand-eye coordination. He is the founder and Executive Director of Dalano Gaming Initiative, a nonprofit that uses electronic gaming (Esports) to encourage minority representation in STEAM fields.
Landing in the military-heavy Hampton Roads community has been a perfect fit, he adds: “It’s like my time in the Navy, which I loved, is still going.”