School of Medicine Names New Chair of Surgery

School of Medicine Names New Chair of Surgery

May 17, 2013 4:06 PM

Samuel R. G. Finlayson, M.D., MPH(SALT LAKE CITY)—A Harvard University gastrointestinal surgeon who has distinguished himself as an expert in minimally invasive surgery and focuses his research on issues of surgical access, quality, and outcomes, has been selected as the new chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Samuel R. G. Finlayson, M.D., MPH, will join the University on June 24. He was selected as surgery department chairman after a highly competitive nationwide search, according to Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, U of U senior vice president for health sciences. His appointment is pending approval by the University of Utah Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Finlayson is an outstanding surgeon and scholar, and I couldn’t be happier that he has accepted the job as chair of our surgery department,” says Lee, who’s also dean of the U medical school and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. “He has a proven record of leadership and vision and I look forward to his accomplishments as he guides our talented surgery department through the fast-changing atmosphere of health care.”

Finlayson brings outstanding academic, clinical, and research credentials to his new position. Currently, he serves on the Harvard Medical School surgery faculty and is the Kessler Director at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. His clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery, with specific interests in benign and malignant diseases of the colon, abdominal wall, hernias and biliary disease. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles as well as book chapters, editorials and reviews.

Finlayson also has served nationally on education, professional, and service committees, including currently on the Advisory Council for the American College of Surgeon’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, and chair of the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Research Committee that advises the World Health Organization, roles that fit well with his research focus on issues of surgical access, quality and outcome relating to rural versus urban settings in the United States and developing nations.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College, graduated from the Harvard Medical School, and completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is part of the Harvard medical system. Before joining the Harvard medical faculty, Finlayson was on the Dartmouth Medical School faculty.

“University of Utah’s leadership team has an outstanding vision for improving health care delivery through innovation, patient-centered care, and a total commitment to excellence,” Finlayson says. “I am thrilled to join the team, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make surgery at the U the best possible experience for patients and their families.”

Finlayson succeeds Sean J. Mulvihill, M.D., who joined the School of Medicine as professor and chair of surgery and senior director for clinical affairs at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in November 2000. Mulvihill vacated those two positions after assuming the roles of U of U Health Sciences associate vice president for clinical affairs and CEO of the University of Utah Medical Group in 2012.

Patrick C. Cartwright, M.D., professor of pediatric urology, has served as interim chair while the search for a permanent chair was under way.  

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