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Dan Wood, PhD, CU Department of Surgery

Dan Wood, PhD, Named Associate Vice Chair of Transitional Care for the CU Department of Surgery

Wood's new role will build on collaborative surgical programs for teens and young adults across the Anschutz Medical Campus.

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Written by Mara Kalinoski on August 22, 2023

Dan Wood, PhD, MBBS, FRCS, is an adolescent and reconstructive urologist bringing his expertise, compassion, and leadership experience to his new role as associate vice chair of transitional care for the University of Colorado Department of Surgery. His work with older adolescent patients transitioning into adult care is an important and steadily developing space in the surgical field. 

Wood explains that the most rewarding part of his work as a surgeon, professor, and emerging leader is “the privilege of working with a group of patients who are extremely courageous in the way that they confront some of the medical complexities they have to deal with.”

Helping patients achieve goals that don’t seem possible due to their medical history is one aspect of his work that Wood finds particularly important. “There are all sorts of myths telling them that they won’t be able to do things. Well, we’ve taken lots of patients through and very successfully helped them have families and go on to have very happy, healthy lives with great relationships, great jobs. Being a little part of that and supporting them in any way that we can is really satisfying.”

The road to the University of Colorado

Wood completed his surgical neurological training in the UK, qualifying at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and receiving a PhD from the University College London, followed by fellowships at North Thames Urology Training Scheme and the Royal College of Surgeons. His research throughout the years has focused on bladder function and physiology, adolescent congenital and adult reconstructive urology, and patient outcomes, in those with complex and rare conditions.

After settling in Colorado in 2021 as professor of urology in the CU Department of Surgery, he began his role as chair of adult congenital surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

“The main remit at that point was to start establishing care for older children or older pediatric patients who are going to go on to need adult care related to their condition or their prior surgery,” explains Wood.

His new role as associate vice chair for pediatric to adult transitional care will build on the interconnected and collaborative program he’s helped build on the Anschutz Medical Campus, including UCHealth and Children’s Colorado. “The vision is that it will have a similar role to that which I have at Children’s Hospital Colorado, but across the campus,” he says, “and also working closely with partners such as the ImPACT team to look at the development of a wider strategy around transition and transitional care for pediatric to adult health, so that we can support all specialties in giving patients the best care they possibly can.”

Working toward worthwhile goals

Wood’s appointment as associate vice chair of transitional care is just the latest noteworthy contribution in a lifetime of influential work in the field. He describes how his passion for his vocation and his patients continues to guide him.

“I enjoy the challenges of working with teenagers,” he says. “They are going through an enormously challenging period in their life, which we’ve all been through, we’ve all struggled with. But added to that, they’re trying to manage health care — they may be having to change providers from somebody they’ve known and trusted for 16, 18, 20 years. I really enjoy working through some of those challenges with them.”

Wood is thrilled to see the growth of opportunities in transitional care and encourages everyone from trainees to fellow surgeons to take advantage of the ongoing development and increased interest in the field.

“Rather than worrying over something that’s complex, where you’re not quite sure what to do, pick up the phone and call one of us,” he says. “We’re always happy to try and talk it through and see what we can do to support.”