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Dr. Dai Chung heads pediatric surgery for UTSW, Children’s Health


This story was originally posted on Center Times Plus on Dec. 7, 2018.

Dr. Dai Chung, one of the country’s most highly acclaimed pediatric surgeons, has been selected to serve as Executive Vice Chair of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery and Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern. His appointment includes the roles of Surgeon-in-Chief and Senior Vice President of Surgical Services at Children’s Health. He began Nov. 1.

Dr. Chung, whose clinical expertise includes pediatric solid tumors, burns, and minimally invasive surgery, served as Chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, Director of the Center of Excellence in Neuroblastoma Research, Medical Director of Pediatric Trauma, and the Carolyn Perot Rathjen Endowed Chair of Pediatric Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Hospital for Children.

“It is not hyperbole to say that Dr. Chung is one of the pre-eminent pediatric surgeons in the country today, and we are very fortunate that he is bringing his considerable talents, experience, and enthusiasm to UT Southwestern and Children’s Health,” said Dr. Herbert J. Zeh, III, Chairman of Surgery. “Dr. Chung exemplifies the paradigm of the academic surgeon. He is a world-class clinical surgeon renowned for his operative skills and patient care; he is an accomplished researcher, having continuous NIH funding for his work exploring new treatments for neuroblastoma for more than a decade; and he is the consummate educator, leading the academic surgery world on the American Board of Surgery.”

“I consider it an honor and privilege to join the world-class medical community at UTSW. I look forward to working closely with the exceptional team at UT Southwestern and Children’s Health to build and develop academic programs that are second to none,” Dr. Chung said. “The goal is to become one of the premier academic pediatric surgical divisions in the country. I personally see my role in promoting all three important pillar strategies of delivering the highest quality clinical care, conducting and leading innovative scientific discoveries that translate into impactful patient care, and educating the next generation of outstanding surgeons.”

A native Texan and UT Austin alumnus, Dr. Chung earned his medical degree (1988) and completed residency at UT Medical Branch at Galveston. Fellowships include training at Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston (1992), and Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati (1996). He led the Pediatric ICU Burn Unit at the University of Alabama-Birmingham from 1996 to 1998. Dr. Chung spent more than a decade at UT Medical Branch at Galveston, where he was the James C. Thompson, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Surgery, before joining the Vanderbilt faculty leadership in 2009. Additionally, Dr. Chung has served as President of the Society of University Surgeons and Society of University Surgeons Foundation. Continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2003 for his work in pediatric oncology, which includes research involving neuroblastomas in children, Dr. Chung has been an author or editor of 33 book chapters and 130 journal articles and has been awarded research grants from the NIH, American Cancer Society, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, and Shriners Burn Hospital. He directs a laboratory where researchers are investigating novel therapies to treat neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor found in children.

Joining the UT Southwestern faculty and returning to Texas, Dr. Chung said, presented an exciting and fortuitous opportunity.

“UT Southwestern is truly one of the country’s leading medical institutions and I am honored to be part of it,” he said. “The mission, values, and history of UT Southwestern medical center are an ideal fit for my own academic programs. I strive to provide excellent clinical care to patients, conduct innovative research, and educate outstanding surgeons and surgical investigators.

“Both my wife, Kimberleye, and I grew up in Texas so this feels really good,” Dr. Chung said. “I feel that my career is coming full circle. I started my medical career in Texas, gained vast knowledge and experience at some remarkable places, and now return to help promote the UTSW Department of Surgery and Division of Pediatric Surgery to one of the top-tier programs in the country, giving the community access to the very best care.”

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