Many Faces of UTHealth: Wong develops OMS certification standards worldwide

Published: September 12, 2016 by Hannah Rhodes

The largest Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) program in the country is at UTHealth School of Dentistry. Mark E. Wong, D.D.S., and his colleagues have enjoyed accomplishments in a number of areas, but there is always more to endeavor.

“We believe that past success lives in the past, nothing should be taken for granted,” said Wong. “A sense of insecurity breeds hard work and greater commitment.”

Mark E. Wong, D.D.S.
Chairman and Program Director
Bernard & Gloria Katz Endowed Chair
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry
John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School, a part of UTHealth

What is it about the UTHealth culture that attracts you the most?

Lack of pretention despite an abundance of talent.

Why have you spent so much of your professional career at UTHealth?

  1. UTHealth is situated in the largest medical center in the world and the opportunities for virtually any professional enterprise (clinical practice, research collaborations or educational experimentation) can be conducted here.
  2. Houston is a cosmopolitan city. Our family is of mixed ethnicity and being surrounded by cultural diversity allows us to feel at home.
  3. As I learned my way around the institution and formed professional relationships, I realized that every move to another institution would require “starting over,” which would be a waste of time.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

I actually have two accomplishments I’m most proud of:

  1. Maintaining the stature of the department as a clinically active and innovative entity while expanding our role in research and collaborations throughout the Texas Medical Center.
  2. My roles in professional certification activities; nationally with the American Board of OMS and internationally by creating an international board for the certification of oral and maxillofacial surgeons worldwide (the International Board for the Certification of Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery).

What is it about your department that excites you?

We have recruited a diverse group of faculty with different and complimentary clinical and research skill sets whom are embarking upon collaborations that I believe will help shape the specialty.

What personally inspires you?

People who make sacrifices for the betterment of others and are humble about it.

What is something very few people know about you?

That I helped a friend put Truman Capote to bed.

What has been your greatest adventure?

Raising a family with my best friend and wife.

What is one thing that is still on your bucket list?

Hiking the Milford Track on South Island, New Zealand.

Describe your perfect Saturday.

No call, cooking breakfast with my son, going for a walk in the Houston Arboretum with our dog, enjoying dinner and a movie together at the iPic.

Describe your perfect vacation.

Historic venue, great scenery, attendance with the whole family.