Letter from the Chair

Dr. Jeffrey B. Matthews

Jeffrey B. Matthews, MD
Dallas B. Phemister Professor of Surgery
Chair, Department of Surgery
Surgeon-in-Chief, The University of Chicago Medicine
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The Department of Surgery at UChicago Medicine stands at the leading edge of surgical innovation and discovery. We’re part of a rapidly growing system extending from our main Hyde Park campus to network hospitals, affiliates, and satellite facilities across Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Our providers are integral to the success of UChicago Medicine’s clinical service lines in Cancer, Heart and Vascular, Transplantation, Digestive Diseases, and Pediatrics. Moreover, our adult and pediatric trauma teams provide compassionate care for Southside victims and their families, as we actively engage in research to prevent and accelerate recovery from violence.

Our top-ranked training programs attract the very best and the brightest learners who will grow to be the surgical leaders of tomorrow. Together with a team of dedicated nurses, advanced practice providers, and administrative staff we provide extraordinary, patient-centered surgical care. We have emerged stronger from the turbulence of these past few years, as committed to our mission, and as inspired as ever.

But who are we, behind the surgical masks?

This year’s annual report is unlike anything the Department of Surgery has ever done, and I’m thrilled to share it with you. We spoke with members of our team to gain an up-close, personal look at the “souls behind the masks”. In the video profiles, you’ll hear details about their lives inside and outside of the operating room, what inspires them to give this profession their all, and what makes them complete. You’ll get a front-row seat from which to learn about the types of remarkable procedures they routinely perform, and, perhaps more importantly, see the profound compassion and tenderness they bring to their work and share with their patients.

We believe it’s essential to bring our authentic selves with us every day; to be who we are, and to share who we are with each other within our work environment not only to build camaraderie and teamwork but also to create a truly inclusive culture. Fulfillment in a surgical career, resilience in the face of adversity, and trust between a patient and their surgeon all depend on authenticity. To thrive and reach maximal potential, we must feel included and supported. To be effective advocates and activists for equitable access and the elimination of disparities, we must “be the change we want to see”. Cultural humility is a principle we see as essential to optimal surgical care that allows us to forge meaningful human connections with our patients and with each other.

This report is a labor of love, a project that not only displays our core values of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice, but one that also reflects our unwavering commitment to the unique community that we humbly serve.

I present to you the Department of Surgery’s 2022-2023 Annual Report, The Souls of Surgery: Behind the Mask.