2020 Keynote Speaker Profile: Vernon K. Sondak, MD
Computers in Medicine; 40 Years On
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute – Tampa, Florida
Chair, Department of Cutaneous Oncology
Director of Surgical Education
Dr. Sondak is a surgical oncologist and Chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. He holds the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Distinguished Endowed Chair in Cutaneous Oncology there, and is also a Professor in the Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.
Since 2004, when he came to Tampa, the Cutaneous Oncology Clinic at Moffitt has grown into one of the largest multidisciplinary treatment centers for melanoma and other skin cancers in the world, now seeing well over 2000 new patients each year.
Dr. Sondak serves as Principal Investigator of the Moffitt Skin SPORE, a major NCI-funded “team science” grant conducting translational research in melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies. His medical research interests include surgical treatment of melanoma in adults and children; surgical treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma and other rare cutaneous tumors, and evaluation of new therapies for patients with localized or disseminated melanoma.
Dr. Sondak has been a leader in studies of surgical treatment of melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies, particularly in the application of sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymph node dissection to the staging and treatment of melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma, and has been instrumental in training many surgical oncologists over the years.
The son of a pioneer in computer science education, Dr. Sondak has been a lifelong advocate for the use of computers and computer-assisted decision-making in medical care. He is the author or editor of two books on computers, including “Computers in Medicine” – a compilation of the state-of-the-art literature on medical computing published in 1979 while he was a medical student at Boston University School of Medicine.
In addition, he is author or coauthor of over 420 medical articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, as well as 6 books (5 on cancer and one on the ships of the Great Lakes) and 82 medical textbook chapters. Dr. Sondak did his surgical training at the University of California Los Angeles.
Prior to joining Moffitt in 2004, Dr. Sondak was a Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Sondak has received numerous awards, including the Golden Scalpel Award (Outstanding Chief Resident) from the UCLA Division of General Surgery, a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston University School of Medicine, the William W. Coon Award for Outstanding Faculty Teaching from the University of Michigan Section of General Surgery, and the Rays of Hope Leadership Award from the Shade Foundation of America, devoted to skin cancer education and prevention for children.
He is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Counselors for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology, the group responsible for peer review and oversight of the NCI’s intramural research program.
He is also an avid ice hockey goaltender, now having played competitively in six different decades since the 1970s.