Raymond Dunn, BS

Shrewsbury, MA

Degree earned at WPI:
BS, Chemistry

Degrees earned from other institutions:
MD, Albany Medical College
General surgical training, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Plastic surgery training, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
In high school, I was into math and science; therefore, medicine and engineering were two possibilities, especially biomedical engineering. WPI had an excellent reputation in this area and relatively close to my home, so I was happy to choose it. By my junior year, my interest in medicine was cemented, but I chose to major in chemistry because at that time, WPI only offered an interdisciplinary program in biomedical engineering.

I’m pleased to say that my two daughters attend currently, as well.

How did your studies and experiences at WPI prepare you for graduate school?
During my surgical training, also known as graduate medical school, is when my WPI training really kicked in; you are out there faced with problems on an everyday basis that you have to manage effectively. WPI’s problem-solving and self-study orientation has been an incredible value in that sense.

In addition to the IQP and MQP, I was required to pass the week-long competency exam in order to graduate. It prepared me tremendously for the very similar challenges presented in the medical board examinations, which I took in surgery and plastics. Both have extremely rigorous written and oral components that ask you to apply real world solutions.

What is your present job title and employer?
I am the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at UMass Medical Center and am board certified in both plastic surgery and hand surgery. For the Division of Plastic Surgery, I have focused my reconstructive surgical skill on patients with chronic wounds of the lower legs and on patients with traumatic injuries requiring microsurgical reconstruction.

I also have a significant interest in medical device development and am the CEO of 5G Medical, a small biotech started with a fellow WPI graduate; we’re trying to commercialize some of my intellectual property, namely the ten patents I hold, which some of my students at WPI have actually made project contributions towards.

Additionally, I have been an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at WPI for the past 20 years. It’s the way that I can give back right now, and it means a lot to me to be able to do it.

How do you feel your experiences at WPI have prepared you for working in your field?

I genuinely believe that WPI’s focus on problem-solving has made me a much better plastic surgeon than I would have been without such an orientation.

Also, surgery, and plastic surgery in particular, is a very engineering-oriented discipline. You have a set of principles, you are faced with problems in terms of reconstruction and function, and you have to apply the principles to solve the problem on a day-to-day basis. Surgery is very much like that, especially plastics. Essentially, I am doing bioengineering every day of my life.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepared you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace.
Medicine is only now catching up with the team approach that WPI has been emphasizing more and more over recent years, especially in team management of patient care.

In terms of theory and practice, WPI is making significant inroads in the biologic sciences. Engineering is going to be a very critical area in medicine in the next 20 years because we have all the basic science developed but haven’t actually applied it effectively in all cases. In order to apply it, we need to engineer it. Translational medicine translates pure science from the lab to clinical application; it requires a bridge of engineering to be applied between the science and the application. WPI gets that.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Co-captain of PGD swimming
  • Member of Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Honor Society
  • Member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
  • Member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Named consistently to the list of Best Doctors in the nation.
  • Elected treasurer of North Eastern Society of Plastic Surgeons.
  • Elected president of the New England Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons in 2005.
  • Named in “America’s Top Surgeons” in 2002.
  • Listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002.
  • Awarded the Godina Fellowship from the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery in 2002
  • Received the first Place Research Award in the American Veneous Forum in 1994.
  • Received the Ichabod Washburn Award from WPI in 1993.
  • Awarded the Maimomides Fellowship in Norfolk, VA in 1990.
  • Recognized with the PSEF Senior Resident Presentation Award for the best paper in 1990.
  • Awarded the AMA Resident leadership Award in 1988.
  • Named NSF Senior Seminar Associate in 1978.
  • Won the Phi Gamma Delta Educational Award in 1977.

Additional comments:
I believe that WPI is “innovation-oriented,” and my education as well as my current association with WPI has helped my own “inventorship.” I also believe that the problem-solving skills and perspectives I gained at WPI have made me a much better surgeon today.

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