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Shanda H. Blackmon ’87 MD, MPH, FACS Announced as the 2024 Commencement Speaker

The Hockaday School is pleased to announce Shanda H. Blackmon ’87 MD, MPH, FACS, as the 2024 Commencement Speaker. Dr. Blackmon is a minimally invasive thoracic surgeon and the Executive Director of the Baylor College of Medicine Lung Institute and Olga Keith Weiss Endowed Professor in Surgery for Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She was the 2023 recipient of the Ela Hockaday Distinguished Alumna Award.
Dr. Blackmon completed Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Baylor College of Medicine and was awarded the Clinical Instructorship position in thoracic surgical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center until she was recruited to build and lead the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, where she was Chief of Thoracic Surgery and served as the Director of the Thoracic Tumor Board and Founder/Director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program. She was then recruited to become Professor of Thoracic Surgery within the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 
A trailblazer and champion for women in her field, Dr. Blackmon became the first female trainee in the history of the Baylor College of Medicine's 50-year-old program and also the first cardiothoracic surgery resident to give birth while in the program. She was the first woman on staff in her field at the Mayo Clinic, is the Past-President of Women in Thoracic Surgery, and an awardee of the Extraordinary Woman in Cardiothoracic Surgery. She is also committed to allyship among colleagues and patients and recently authored “The Support Group,” a book that shares stories of the patients Dr. Blackmon has treated over the years and the healthcare professionals with whom she has worked. After she saw the difference a committed ally could make in a patient’s long-term survivorship, Dr. Blackmon sought to extend the principles of support to her colleagues. She takes a candid look at the role of support in our healthcare practices and offers a workable model for patients, caregivers, and providers alike.
Dr. Blackmon led the development of Mayo Clinic’s first completely virtual longitudinal disease-specific integrated survivorship program. She holds several patents including a novel esophageal anastomotic device. She was the founder/Director of the Mayo Clinic Esophageal Tumor Board, Lung Ablation Tumor Board and developed the UDD App, a patient management platform for foregut surgery and post-esophageal reconstruction patients.
Dr. Blackmon is married to Matt Blackmon. Their twin sons are Jake and Sam, who are college freshmen, and their daughter is Grace, who is in Fifth Grade.
Eugene McDermott Head of School Dr. Laura Leathers remarked, “I am thrilled to welcome Shanda back to Hockaday as our 2024 Commencement speaker. Her passion for patient care, supporting women in a male-dominated field, and her desire to innovate inspire us all. She truly exemplifies Hockaday’s commitment to educating girls to lead lives of purpose and impact.”
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