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Professor of Surgery
Vice-chair for Educational Affairs
Southern Illinois University
Dr. Sanfey was previously a Professor of Surgery in the Transplant Division of the Department of Surgery at the University of Virginia (UVA), where she was a member of the university Senate, and of the UVA Academy of Distinguished Educators.
Originally from Ireland, Dr. Sanfey is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. She completed her surgery residency at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and underwent research training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Sanfey completed hepatobiliary and transplant fellowships at UVA and in Barcelona, prior to an appointment as Consultant Surgeon in the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. Dr. Sanfey was part of the surgical team that established the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit and performed the first liver transplant in Scotland (1992).
While in Edinburgh, Dr. Sanfey was the Scottish representative to Women in Surgical Training (WIST) and was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in recognition of her commitment to women in surgical training. She became a member of AWS after moving to the USA in the late nineties. Dr. Sanfey founded the first local Chapter of the AWS, in Virginia, and served as the Chapter’s first President. She subsequently served as President of the AWS national organization. As a Past President, Dr. Sanfey raised funds to endow the AWS Past President’s Honorary Member Award, and the AWS Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Award. She also served as the AWS Governor to the American College of Surgeons, and as chair of the ACS Women in Surgery Committee led the campaign to fully endow the Olga Jonasson Lectureship at the ACS Clinical Congress.
Dr. Sanfey’s interest in the issues facing women surgeons has extended to research efforts, and she has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications addressing the training needs of male and female surgeons, gender differences, part-time training, perceptions of work-life balance, and mentorship. Having trained in an era and environment that did not have women surgeons, Dr. Sanfey chose to become an AWS member and work to ensure that young women today could achieve their personal and professional goals without the sacrifices that were necessary thirty years ago.