Meet Our Physicians

40 Years of Experience

Together, the surgeons in the Stanford Hospital & Clinics' Bariatric Surgery Program bring 40 years of experience to our patients. More importantly, they bring a collective 40 years of successful surgeries with few, if any, complications.

John Morton, MD, MPH, FACS

John Morton

Director of Bariatric Surgery

Dr. John Morton is Director of both Bariatric Surgery and Surgical Quality at Stanford. He is also Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University, serving as Section Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery. He heads the Minimally Invasive Surgery fellowship and the Stanford Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SCORE), and is Co-Director of the Stanford Digestive Health Center.

With more than 1,500 bariatric surgeries performed, he has been recognized as a bariatric surgery leader by RAND, the American College of Surgeons, Who’s Who and America’s Top Surgeons and is serving as President of the California chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in 2010. 

His research efforts – focused on quality improvement and bariatric surgery – have been recognized by the Society for Advanced Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), receiving the Golden Laparoscope as 2008 Young Investigator of the Year. He also led two FDA Pivotal Trials and has received funding from National Institutes of Health and American College of Surgeons.

As Director of Surgical Quality at Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Morton led efforts to improve the University Health Consortium’s annual ranking of the Department of Surgery from 24th in the nation to 1st, and their Annual NSQIP mortality ranking from Average to Exemplary.

Among all NSQIP Surgical Champions, he was chosen to chair the monthly Surgical Champions forum for the American College of Surgeons. He has been an invited speaker on surgical quality by the American College of Surgeons, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Patient Safety Foundation, and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

As a teacher, Dr. Morton has received three teaching awards at Stanford University, including the 2008 Arthur Bloomfield Clinical Teacher of the Year. He also serves as editor of two books and on the editorial boards of Obesity Surgery, Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases and World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Professional Highlights

  • Undergraduate, Masters in Public Health and Medical Doctor degrees from Tulane University
  • Masters in Health Administration from University of Washington
  • First surgical resident to receive a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship in the program’s history at University of Washington
  • Completed an advanced laparoscopic fellowship at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Served on Capitol Hill as Senator Bill Frist’s Health Policy Intern
  • Published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and 10 book chapters with over 100 national and international oral presentations

Dr. Morton in the Media

Dr. Morton is a regular guest on TV, and is frequently quoted in newspaper and magazine articles. Click here to view some of his TV appearances.

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Dr. James Lau, MD, FACS

James Lau

Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery

In October 2009, following five years on the faculty at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Dr. Lau returned to Stanford as a faculty member. He was previously a fellow in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery.

Dr. Lau was recruited by Bariatric Surgery department head Dr. John Morton for the position of Associate Director of the Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at Stanford. Since his return, he’s become an integral part of the team at the Goodman Surgical Skills and Simulation Center, where he is Director of Curriculum. He is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery.

He has performed laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric band surgeries for morbid obesity since July 2007. In addition, he performs a wide variety of advanced, minimally invasive surgical procedures, including:

  • hernia repairs
  • surgery for reflux disease
  • splenectomies
  • adrenalectomies
  • cholecystectomies

Dr. Lau also performs cholecystectomies, appendectomies and other more complex laparoscopic procedures through one incision via the belly button. He teaches other surgeons throughout the country these single-incision laparoscopic techniques.


  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS)
  • Association of Academic Surgeons (AAS)
  • Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS).

Professional Highlights

  • Medical degree and surgery internship, the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University, Chicago
  • Surgery residency at Indiana University
  • Fellowship in Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery under the direction of Dr. John Morton, Stanford
  • Faculty member, the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) for over five years
  • Served as Assistant Program Director of the Surgical Residency Program, Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program, Director of the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program and the Director of the Surgical Skills and Simulation Laboratory at UNSOM.
  • Created the UNSOM Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, the adult and adolescent bariatric surgery programs, as well as the Surgical Skills and Simulation Laboratory

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Homero Rivas, MD

Homero Rivas

Director of Innovative Surgery

The Department’s newest member, Dr. Rivas joined Stanford in March 2010. He was recruited by Bariatric Surgery department head Dr. John Morton to become Stanford’s Director of Innovative Surgery after serving as an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and Co-Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship Program at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

Dr. Rivas is a pioneer and leader in single-incision laparoscopic surgery and in other novel surgical techniques, including natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery. Presently he has one of the largest series of single-incision laparoscopic surgery cases

Following Medical School at the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango (UJED) – where he graduated with honors and top of his class – and a five-year Residency in General Surgery at the University of North Dakota, Dr. Rivas earned a pair of one-year fellowships. The second took him to Barcelona, Spain for a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Digestive Surgery at the Hospital Clinic affiliated to the Universitat de Barcelona. During his time in Europe, he also trained extensively with Laparoscopic pioneers from Scotland, Germany and France.

Upon completion of his training, he moved back to his home town of Durango, Mexico, where he practiced with his father, a General Surgeon, and a brother, a Gynecologist. He was also Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Hospital de la Paz, and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology of the UJED. He returned to the United States to accept the position at Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. 

One of his goals at Stanford is to be an advocate of the large Latino population in Northern California. Also, he maintains an extensive academic network built during his international travels, and often welcomes invited visiting surgeons and students to his practice.

Professional Highlights

  • Medical Degree, the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango; graduated with honors and top of his class
  • Residency in General Surgery, the University of North Dakota
  • Fellowship in Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery with emphasis in Bariatric Surgery, University of Louisville (Kentucky)
  • Fellowship for Minimally Invasive Digestive Surgery at the Hospital Clinic affiliated with the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Hospital de la Paz, and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Co-Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship Program, University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Masters in Business Administration (MBA), the Southern Methodist University, Edwin Cox School of Business

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