Roberta E. Sonnino, M.D., FACS, FAAP, a retired pediatric surgeon, is an Executive and Career Coach and a Certified Assessment Facilitator (360 Feedback tools – Center for Creative Leadership). She is a member of the Institute of Coaching, and a Professor of Pediatric Surgery (Retired) at Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is also a Contributed Service Professor of Health Policy and Ethics at Creighton University.

A native of New York, Dr. Sonnino moved to Venice, Italy with her family as a young child. She completed her secondary schooling in Italy, and received her M.D. at the University of Padova, the oldest medical school in the world. She moved back to the US for her post-graduate training, with internships in Pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and in Surgery at the University of Minnesota. She completed her General Surgery residency at Henry Ford Hospital and her Pediatric Surgery Fellowship at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Sonnino previously served as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs at Wayne State, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and as Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Creighton University School of Medicine. Before becoming a full-time medical school administrator, Dr. Sonnino practiced Pediatric Surgery for many years, serving as Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital at Mercer University School of Medicine, and Professor and Chief of Pediatric Surgery, (and Associate Dean for Special Programs and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs) at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She rose through the early faculty ranks at Case Western Reserve University and the Medical College of Virginia. Her research on intestinal ischemia and intestinal transplant graft preservation was funded by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. Her accomplishments include over 75 peer-reviewed publications and over 100 major presentations.

Dr. Sonnino completed the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) fellowship in 1998, and  served on its faculty for 20 years. She has served as an officer and committee member for more than 15 professional societies, and is a Past Chair of the AAMC Group on Faculty Affairs. In her career, Dr. Sonnino established new offices of faculty affairs, developed numerous successful programs in faculty development, professional career advancement, mentoring, promotion and tenure, and women in medicine. One of her pet projects is helping faculty find creative venues for scholarly activity, such as the use of her own passion for photography as a source of scholarship.

Dr. Sonnino is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), having passed the certification exam and image portfolio review by the Professional Photographers of America. She has published dozens of photographs, and had several solo exhibits. A monograph “Journey to Authenticity: Voices of Chief Residents”, with photography by Dr. Sonnino, published by the ACGME (2007), received the Silver Trumpet Award from the Publicity Club of Chicago (2008), and was Runner Up in the “Ragan Communications Recognition Awards” (2009). She is a volunteer photographer for “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep – Infant Remembrance Photography”, and has made Executive Coaching and Photography her full-time occupations in her “retirement” from academic medicine.



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