One-on-One with Roger Wong

Dr. Roger Wong

As Executive Associate Dean, Education, Dr. Roger Wong offers strategic leadership, while creating and nurturing existing partnerships to help move the vision for the Faculty of Medicine forward. In addition to overseeing the distribution of the Faculty’s educational programs across the province, he ensures that the Faculty’s programs — across the health disciplines and across the continuum of learning — are effectively integrated.

What quality do you most admire in a leader?

I admire a leader who empowers people and supports them to be the best that they can be. My own leadership philosophy is to guide, motivate and inspire the development of learners to become well-rounded, highly-motivated and caring individuals.

What makes you smile?

Many things bring a smile to my face: listening to a beautiful piece of music, watching the vibrant colours of sunrise, seeing my geriatric patients get better in their health conditions, hearing about the success of my students, or catching up with friends over a meal. I am a reflective person, and smiling is an important part of my life.

Who inspires you, and why?

My parents inspire me – they are practical and hard-working individuals. Both of them used to work as teachers at different parts of their careers, and my first aspiration growing up was to become a teacher. I am really glad that I am pursuing the career of an educator. 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? 

In medicine everything is so fast-paced: it’s about saving lives and everything is always on the go. At the same time, I have learned the importance of taking time when necessary and being an active listener. Listening to others and really trying to understand the situation, especially when things get rough, is something that I remind myself all the time. 

As Executive Associate Dean, Education, what is your vision for the Faculty of Medicine’s education programs?

The Faculty of Medicine has a track record of delivering innovative programs in the areas of health and life sciences through a province-wide delivery model. In my role as Executive Associate Dean, Education, I am committed to working with the various teams in the Faculty to develop and deliver excellent educational programs that will positively benefit our learners and society at large. 

In the Faculty’s new strategic plan, Building the Future (2016-2021), we’ve outlined a number of education priorities – including our commitment in educational program renewal and realignment to meet evolving societal and career requirements. We’ll also be exploring opportunities to leverage new technologies and practices to transform the impact and reach of our programs, pursue new program development and expansion, and enhance the clinical placement model and experience to support practical team-based and lifelong learning. 

Movement on some of these priorities is already underway. In the very near future, we will focus on the development of new academic programs that will cover ground-breaking content areas and deploy novel learning channels. We will also embrace innovative approaches that can transform our broad array of educational offerings, with an emphasis on flexible learning opportunities. We are committed to putting British Columbia at the forefront of health education innovation by delivering education that enhances healthcare in our province.  

For you, what makes UBC different?

UBC is special because of its people, whether they are the faculty members, staff, students or residents. I am truly impressed by their energy, friendliness and genuinely caring attitude. 

What’s your favourite song?

I love music, as my students and residents will attest to based on my regular guest performance at the Resident Talent Night, an annual wellness event that celebrates our learners’ many talents outside of medicine. I like Michael Bublé’s music, and my latest favourite is his brand new song “I Believe in You.” 

How do you like to recharge?

I love swimming and head to the pool regularly – about five or six times a week. Swimming offers a good physical work out and gives me the tranquility I need to wind down from my busy work schedule. 

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

I would love the super power to heal holistically, not just people’s physical condition but also their interpersonal relationships and mental wellbeing. To heal means to make whole again.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I would like to be remembered as someone who makes a difference for the faculty members, staff and learners whom I work with. Making a difference for others around us often involves putting others ahead of ourselves and addressing their needs first, and that’s what I hope people will remember me for.

What was your first job?

My very first job was working as a bookkeeper, which I did for a number of years. I have always had a strong interest in business and accounting, to the point that I went back to business school after my medical training to pursue executive management training.

Best piece of advice

Be yourself — it is important to understand what drives you internally and what you aspire for. And remember the motto of fides et opera – the combination of faith and work will empower you to reach for the stars. As you travel along your life trajectory, remember to make a difference in the lives of the people around you as well. 

Published: October 2016