First Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean finalist highlights importance of teams

The first VP of Medical Affairs and Carver College of Medicine Dean candidate finalist Sandra Wong discussed the power of teams and collaboration during an open forum.

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Ryan Adams

The Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine is seen on Monday, November 18, 2019.

Virginia Russell, News Reporter


Sandra Wong, the first candidate finalist for the University of Iowa Vice President of Medical Affairs and the Carver College of Medicine Dean, credited a team model as a main success point for her throughout her career during a forum on Monday afternoon. 

“Broadly we are better together,” Wong said at the forum. “We do our best work in teams.”

University faculty, staff, and students gathered at the Prem Sahai Auditorium in the Medical Education Research Facility to hear Wong discuss her plans and ask her questions on how she would better the Carver College of Medicine. 

Four finalists were selected for the position to visit campus from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1. Wong was the first candidate announced on Sunday. Brooks Jackson, the former vice president, announced he would step after the his successor is hired in February after leading UI’s health care system for five years. He will be returning to faculty to continue his research

The rest of the finalists will be announced prior to the day of their forum. 

Wong is a professor of surgery and chair of the department of surgery at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Dartmouth Health, where she also serves as a surgical oncologist, professor of surgery, and medical researcher. Wong has been at Dartmouth since 2015.

During the forum, Wong voiced her experience and affinity for using teams, which she introduced in her presentation through the phrase “better together.” 

Wong said at the forum that working collectively and allowing everyone to communicate is where the medical profession thrives. She added that working collectively in a team requires checking egos at the door which is important for leaders.

“My leadership technique is to communicate, and communicate again,” Wong said.

Leading as a servant, according to Wong, keeps the importance of patient care paramount. At Dartmouth, Wong said her previous success in making dermatology its own department came about because of her ability to bring together a team.

Wong said getting many different types of students involved to create teams of diverse thinking, but ultimately one that could work together is important to success.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to collaborate,” Wong answered. “It takes a bigger system thinking across campus.”


Editor’s Note: In  a previously published article, the DI referred to the position as the Vice President of UI Hospital and Clinics. The position has been corrected to the Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean for Carver College of Medicine. The DI also previously reported that Brooks Jackson has stepped down and will take a job in the UI’s Office of Strategic Communication. The article has been corrected that he will step down after his successor is hired and will continue on faculty for research. The DI regrets these errors. 

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