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Emory University names Sandra Wong as next dean for School of Medicine
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Brian Katzowitz
Sandra L. Wong

Sandra L. Wong has been appointed the next dean of Emory University School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare. An accomplished surgical oncologist and researcher, she will join Emory in March 2024.

Sandra L. Wong, MD, MS, an accomplished surgical oncologist and researcher, has been selected as the next dean of Emory University School of Medicine. She will also serve as the chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare when she joins Emory in March 2024.

Wong is a surgical oncologist specializing in the management of soft tissue sarcomas, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. She is currently chair in the Department of Surgery at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where she is responsible for all aspects of research, education and clinical operations. She also serves as professor of surgery in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

“Dr. Sandra Wong brings tremendous experience and expertise with her to Emory,” says Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves. “As a surgeon and academic leader, Dr. Wong has saved lives, mentored generations of doctors and worked to eliminate health disparities in underserved populations. She will inspire and empower Emory’s community of talented physicians, scientists and trainees as the School of Medicine reaches new heights of eminence.”  

Wong’s selection was announced following an extensive national search. She will succeed Carlos del Rio, who was named interim dean in January 2023.

“I want to thank Dr. del Rio for his outstanding leadership and commitment to our medical school over the past year,” says Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH, Emory’s executive vice president for health affairs, executive director for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and vice chair of the Emory Healthcare Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Wong to our community. Not only is she an exceptional leader, physician and clinical investigator, she is a champion for those underrepresented in medicine, which will be vital for instilling the values of health equity and innovation into our next generation of clinicians.”

Wong is among the most widely recognized health services researchers in academic surgery, with an extensive record of research funding and more than 250 peer-reviewed studies to her credit. She has held leadership positions in several prominent professional organizations including the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Society of University Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Chairs. She also is an editorial board member of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Journal of Surgical Oncology, a deputy editor for Annals of Surgical Oncology, and an associate editor for Annals of Surgery. Wong has been honored with numerous medical student and resident teaching awards.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the dean at Emory University School of Medicine and am excited to work with the immensely talented and dedicated team at Emory University and Emory Healthcare to continue to build world-class patient care, research and education,” says Wong.  

A native of Stockton, California, Wong completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of California Berkeley. After receiving an MD from Northwestern University Medical School in 1997, she completed a surgical residency at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Wong spent a decade at the University of Michigan as an attending physician and professor. She was an instrumental leader as a vice chair of academic affairs and acquired an administrative skill set as an associate chief of staff.

In 2015, she joined the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth where she was able to leverage her collaborative skills to develop cross-disciplinary mentorship and research programs. During her tenure at Dartmouth, she developed an interest in studying and eliminating rural health disparities. Her efforts helped spur the creation of the federally-funded Center for Rural Health Care Delivery Science, which provides infrastructure to train junior investigators who focus on understanding and solving challenges associated with the provision of equitable health care.

Wong will serve as the first female dean of the School of Medicine in university history. Her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will carry over to her role at Emory School of Medicine where she will foster a culture of inclusion for the more than 3,400 faculty, nearly 1,400 residents and 1,000 students. As academic medical centers across the country experience unprecedented challenges, nurturing a vibrant educational mission that aligns with the needs of an evolving health care system and diverse patient population is critically important. Emory leadership is confident that Wong is up to the task.       

“Emory’s medical school pursues three critically important missions: supporting our biomedical research, our health education and ultimately our patient care. I am excited that Dr. Sandra Wong will bring her thoughtful, confident leadership style to move all three of these missions forward, building on the foundations laid by Vikas Sukhatme and then Carlos Del Rio,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Emory’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Given the vital ties between Emory’s academic institution and clinical partners, it’s wonderful to have an accomplished surgical oncologist who easily speaks both languages in this important role. We are delighted to welcome Sandra to the Emory decanal leadership team and look forward to working with her closely.”

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