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Fiemu Nwariaku, M.D., appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Utah Health

Fiemu Nwariaku, M.D., will serve as chair of the Department of Surgery at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah, effective July 1, 2022. Nwariaku comes to U of U Health from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas, Texas, where he currently serves as the Malcom O. Perry Professor of Surgery and executive vice chair in the Department of Surgery, as well as associate dean for Global Health at the UTSW medical school. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a past president of the Association of Academic Surgery.

Nwariaku cares for patients with a focus on endocrine surgery, is at the forefront of breakthroughs in treating endocrine system disorders, and is known for building clinical programs at UTSW across surgical specialties, hospital systems, and affiliates including the Texas Heart Resources Dallas. As an educator, he has established many academic programs locally, nationally, and internationally, including a global health curriculum for medical students and an Endocrine Surgery Fellowship. An accomplished surgeon scientist, Nwariaku has broad research interests and achievements spanning from inflammation to cancer to the use of technology to improving surgical outcomes.

"Dr. Nwariaku excels as a leader, surgeon, educator, and scientist," said Michael L. Good, CEO of University of Utah Health, executive dean of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine, and senior vice president of Health Sciences. "He is nationally and globally recognized for his work, and we are pleased to welcome him to University of Utah Health. All his leadership experience will help bring an already exceptional department and faculty to even greater heights of national recognition as we achieve excellence in our missions here at the University of Utah."

As chair, Nwariaku will oversee all surgical clinical care, research, training programs, faculty, and staff at U of U Health. The department provides surgery care to adults and children in one of the largest services areas in the country, an area that includes Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming, and comprises 10 percent of the landmass of the continental United States. It is a nationally ranked academic surgical program that in addition to providing expert, compassionate clinical care, engages in scientific inquiry across a broad range of areas, including ground-breaking laboratory research, advanced surgical technology, and health care system innovations designed to guarantee that all our patients have ready access to personalized, compassionate, high-quality surgical care that consistently responds to their individual needs, preferences, and values.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Nwariaku to University of Utah Health," said Dan Lundergan, CEO of U of U Health Hospitals & Clinics. "Faculty are the lifeblood of medical school and the department of surgery, and Dr. Nwariaku focuses intensely on faculty success and development initiatives. This approach fits so well with who we are in the U of U health system, where our people make us all we are."

Nwariaku’s background and training includes the University of Ibadan, University College Hospital in Nigeria, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he trained and has served as a faculty member since 1998, and the University of Tennessee.

"I have known of University of Utah’s reputation and people for some time," said Nwariaku. "What drew me to Utah was the people who are genuine, motivated, hard-working, and want to do the right thing. I am looking forward to helping to grow the department and organization to serve a quickly growing and diversifying community in Utah and the Mountain West, and to continue to expand the national impact of its rich tradition of care, research, and training."

Nwariaku begins his service on July 1, 2022. He succeeds Robert Glasgow, M.D., who has served as interim chair since December 2020 when then chair Sam Finlayson, M.D., became associate vice president for Clinical Affairs and chief clinical officer for University of Utah Health. "We are extremely grateful for Dr. Glasgow’s service to both the department and the institution," said Good. "He skillfully guided the department and its faculty to grow and advance significantly during this period notable for the coronavirus pandemic."