Sandra Wong Named the William N. and Bessie Allyn Professor in Surgery

Sandra L. Wong, MD, MS, has been named the William N. and Bessie Allyn Professor in Surgery at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Wong, chair of surgery at the Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth-Hitchcock since 2015, also serves as senior vice president of the Surgical Service Line at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

“Since joining Dartmouth, Sandra has demonstrated tremendous leadership in the education, research, and patient care missions of our academic medical enterprise,” says Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. “Her work will lead to improved outcomes for patients and better training of medical students and residents.”

The William N. and Bessie Allyn Professorship in Surgery was established through a generous gift from Dartmouth College graduate William G. Allyn D ’32 in honor of his parents. William N. Allyn founded Welch Allyn, a pioneering manufacturer of medical devices, in 1915, after developing the first direct-illuminating, hand-held ophthalmoscope. A strong believer in philanthropy, William G. Allyn provided free eye care to Welch Allyn employees and formed a family foundation to aid community charities. Endowed chairs support distinguished faculty members in their multiple roles of physician, teacher, and researcher, allowing them the time and resources to mentor students and trainees and to collaborate with fellow faculty.

“I couldn’t be any more excited about this appointment,” says Wong. “Knowing a bit about the Allyns, it’s an honor to be able to represent the memory of their family.”

As a surgical oncologist and health sciences researcher, Wong was drawn to Dartmouth by Geisel’s stature as one of the nation’s leading medical schools, the renowned research of The Dartmouth Institute, Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and by Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s patient-centered approach to outstanding clinical care. She oversees the thirteen specialty sections within the Department of Surgery and all aspects of its research, education, and clinical operations. She is also responsible for surgical care delivery across all Dartmouth-Hitchcock practice locations, regional affiliates, and partner Accountable Care Organizations.

Wong is a well-known authority in the management of soft tissue sarcomas, melanoma, and Merkel Cell carcinoma. With over 150 peer-reviewed studies in the scientific literature, she is among the most widely recognized health services researchers in academic surgery. She is currently studying variations in the quality and costs of cancer care and surgical episodes in order to inform the broader picture of health care reform. She also develops and evaluates clinical practice guidelines focused on improving patient outcomes. As an educator, Wong uses her findings to teach clinicians about standards of care that will benefit all patients. “Everything I do,” Wong says, “is meant to improve the value of what’s already in place—to make things better.”

“Sandra’s impressive list of accomplishments as a surgeon, researcher, educator, and quality improvement leader speaks volumes to why she was selected for this honor,” says Joanne M. Conroy, MD, CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock. “But more importantly, her dedication to the patients and families we serve will be a fitting tribute to William and Bessie Allyn’s legacy.”

Wong serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Journal of Surgical Oncology and is an associate editor for Annals of Surgical Oncology and the Journal of Oncology Practice. She holds or has held leadership positions in several national professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the Society of University Surgeons.

Wong received her medical degree from Northwestern University. She completed her general surgery residency at the University of Louisville and a clinical fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she served as the chief administrative fellow. Prior to her appointment at Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Wong served as associate chief of staff for the University of Michigan Health System, as well as associate chair for clinical affairs and the William W. Coon Collegiate Professor of Surgical Oncology in the University of Michigan Department of Surgery.