Dr. Pettiford is a native of Tifton, Georgia. He is an honors graduate of Morehouse College where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he continued his general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery training. During surgical residency, Dr. Pettiford was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. In 1998, he was commissioned in the United States Navy Reserve Medical Corps as a Lieutenant and later received an honorable discharge in 2006 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After spending a year in private practice in Massachusetts, Dr. Pettiford served as a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from 2005 to 2009. Prior to joining the Ochsner Health, he was employed by the Wellspan Health System as a cardiothoracic surgeon from 2009 through 2014. Dr. Pettiford is certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds memberships in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Southern Thoracic Surgical Society, and the Eastern Cardiothoracic Surgical Society. He has authored or coauthored over 40 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Pettiford's interests include the use of robotic surgery for the treatment of lung cancer and benign lung disease. He also has extensive experience in malignant mesothelioma and the minimally-invasive treatment of esophageal cancer and benign esophageal conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal achalasia.