Welcome from the Chair

Dr. John Sweeney

Dr. John Sweeney

I believe one of the great privileges is working to improve the surgical and medical treatment of disease, illness, and injury. The pursuit of accolades and praise has nothing to do with why we dedicate ourselves to this mission. Instead, we love the work, and that love fuels our efforts to make a difference in our patients' lives.

My time as a fullback for the Fighting Irish while an undergrad at the University of Notre Dame fortuitously prepared me for becoming an academic surgeon. I came to realize that sustained and deliberate practice was necessary to execute properly on game day, which is the same formula our profession requires to build a foundation from which important work can be done. I also learned that no amount of training can guarantee every game will be won, though it will gift you with the quiet glory that comes from knowing you have done your best, no matter the outcome.

In research, we must enjoy striving with our colleagues in isolation from the public eye to achieve a greater good. In clinical settings, we must love getting to know the person within the patient and trying to help that person in any way we can. In teaching, we have to be grateful for every interaction with every student and for the lessons that reveal how to best reach and inspire them.

Building personal legacies and elevating our names is absent from our motivations in the Department of Surgery. Instead, we are enriched by making lasting contributions to Emory as an institution and to the futures of our patients and trainees.


John F. Sweeney, MD
Joseph Brown Whitehead Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Sweeney's Faculty Profile