Dr. Joseph Dort

Dr. Joseph Dort

BSc, MD, MSc.



Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Surgery | Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Professor Emeritus, Surgery

Ohlson Research Initiative


Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.220.7168


Office: HRIC2A02

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Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications Specialist

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Preferred method of communication

Admin Assistant

Michelle Cavanaugh
Email: cavanaug@ucalgary.ca

Office: 403.220.7168


Educational Background

BSc. Physiology and Pharmacology (Honours), University of Western Ontario, 1976

Doctor of Medicine Medicine, University of Western Ontario, 1980

MSc. Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 2006


Dr. Dort is an Otolaryngologist – Head & Neck Surgeon and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Surgery – Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He completed his undergraduate and medical training at the University of Western Ontario and then a family medicine residency at the University of Ottawa. After practicing as a family doctor, Joe completed residency training in Otolaryngology at the University of Manitoba and then did a fellowship in skull base surgery at the University of Zurich. He holds an MSc degree in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Dort is also a graduate of the advanced training program in healthcare delivery improvement at the Intermountain Healthcare Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Dort formerly served as the founding Executive Director of the Ohlson Research Initiative, a clinical translational research program focused on head and neck cancer and also served as the Senior Medical Director of the Alberta Cancer Strategic Clinical Network. He has authored many peer-reviewed publications and holds provincial, national and international research grants. Joe has been active in leading healthcare quality improvement initiatives in the former Calgary Health Region as well as within Alberta Health Services. He is passionate about working with colleagues to design and implement better ways to deliver patient care.


Areas of Research

Area of Focus
  • Head & Neck Cancer Surgery
    • Clinical Outcomes
    • Care Pathway Design and Implementation
    • Strategies to reduce perioperative opioid consumption
    • Making the operating room more efficient and effective
  • Healthcare Design and Delivery
    • Design and Implementation of Care Pathways to improve surgical outcomes
    • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)
      • Making ERAS more efficient and more effective
  • Health Services Research
    • Impact of COVID on access to surgery
Summary of Research

Our research program focuses on 4 main areas:

1) Designing better and more effective healthcare delivery systems: Using the tools of health services research and process engineering we change healthcare to be better, safer and more cost-effective. Dr. Khara Sauro, Assistant Professor - Community Health Sciences, Surgery and Oncology, plays a leading role in this aspect of our program.

2) Virtual Reality / Surgical Simulation: Our group, using surgical simulation tools, is also developing better ways to train the surgeons of the future. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Calgary, Western University and Stanford University we are designing virtual reality platforms that can be integrated into clinical care, surgical education and surgical planning.

3) Understanding Head & Neck Tumour Biology: Under the leadership of Dr. Pinaki Bose our team is exploring biologic mechanisms that explain head and neck cancer genesis and response to treatment. Using the tools of genome science and bioinformatics we are seeking to define predictors of treatment response, identify high-risk subgroups and discover novel molecular targets. 

4) Improving clinical and functional outcomes after major head and neck surgery: In collaboration with Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed (Kinesiology, University of Calgary) our program is creating practical tools that will enhance recovery. The primary focus is on exercise as a key intervention in helping our patients get better faster. We are defining methods of implementing exercise programs in this challenging patient population and also asking our patients to co-design better methods of understanding meaningful functional recovery. 

Participation in university strategic initiatives


More Information

Rudmik L, Bird C, Dean S, Dort JC, Schorn R, Kukec E: Geographic variation of endoscopic sinus surgery in Canada: An Alberta-based small area variation analysis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2015; 153(5):865-74. PubMed ID 26399718.

Dautremont JF, Rudmik LR, Nakoneshny SC, Chandarana SP, Matthews TW, Schrag C, Fick GH, Dort JC: Understanding the impact of a clinical care pathway for major head and neck cancer resection on postdischarge healthcare utilization. Head Neck 2015 Sep 18. Doi: 10.1002/hed.24196. PubMed ID 26382252.

Bose P, Brockton NT, Guggisberg K, Nakoneshny SC, Kornaga E, Klimowicz AC, Tambasco M, Dort JC: Fractal analysis of nuclear histology integrates tumor and stromal features into a single prognostic factor of the oral cancer microenvironment. BMC Cancer 2015; 15:409, PubMed ID 25976920.

Liu CC, Dort J: Re: Early versus late tracheostomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2015; 152(4):768-9, PubMed ID 25833933.

Liu CC, Livingstone D, Dixon E, Dort JC: Early versus late tracheostomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2015; 152(2):219-227, PubMed ID 25505259.

Dang M, Lysack JT, Wu T, Matthews TW, Chandarana SP, Brockton NT, Bose P, Bansal G, Cheng H, Mitchell JR, Dort JC: MRI texture analysis predicts p53 status in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2015; 36(1):166-70, PubMed ID 25258367.

Randall DR, Lysack JT, Hudon ME, Guggisberg K, Nakoneshny SC, Matthews TW, Dort JC, Chandarana SP: Diagnostic utility of central node necrosis in predicting extracapsular spread among oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Head Neck 2015; 31(1):92-6, PubMed ID 24327459.

Deutschmann MW, Chin-Lenn L, Au J, Brilz A, Nakoneshny S, Dort JC, Pasieka JL, Chandarana SP: Extent of central neck dissection among thyroid cancer surgeons: A cross-sectional analysis. Head Neck 2014 Dec 24. PubMed ID 25546489.

Harris JR, Lau H, Surgeoner BV, Chua N, Dobrovolsky W, Dort JC, Kalaydjian E, Nesbitt M, Scrimger RA, Seikaly H, Skarsgard D, Webster MA: Health care delivery for head-and-neck cancer patients in Alberta: a practice guideline. Curr Oncol 2014; 21(5):e704-14, PubMed ID 25302041.

Smith KA, Dort JC, Hall SF, Rudmik L: Cost-effectiveness of positron emission tomography-CT in the evaluation of cancer of unknown primary of the head and neck. Head Neck 2014 Jul 2. PubMed ID 24989937.

Smith KA, Matthews TW, Dubé M, Spence G, Dort JC: Changing practice and improving care using a low-risk tracheotomy clinical pathway. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2014; 140(7):630-4, PubMed ID 24921407.

Bose P, Thakur SS, Brockton NT, Klimowicz AC, Kornaga E, Nakoneshny SC, Riabowol KT, Dort JC: Tumor cell apoptosis mediated by cytoplasmic ING1 is associated with improved survival in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients. Oncotarget 2014; 5(10):3210-9, PubMed ID 24912621.

Yeung JK, Dautremont JF, Harrop AR, Asante T, Hirani N, Nakoneshny SC, de Haas V, McKenzie D, Matthews TW, Chandarana SP, Schrag C, Dort JC: Reduction of pulmonary complications and hospital length of stay with a clinical care pathway after head and neck reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg 2014; 133(6):1477-84, PubMed ID 24867729.

Badenduck LA, Matthews TW, McDonough A, Dort JC, Wiens K, Kettner R, Crawford S, Kaplan BJ: Fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing to assess swallowing outcomes as a function of head position in a normal population. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2014; 43(1):9, PubMed ID 24755159.

Dautremont JF, Rudmik LR, Yeung JK, Asante T, Nakoneshny SC, Hoy M, Lui A, Chandarana SP, Matthews TW, Schrag C, Dort JC: Cost-effectiveness analysis of a postoperative clinical care pathway in head and neck surgery with microvascular reconstruction. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2013; 42:59. PubMed ID 24351020.

Klimowicz AC, Bose P, Petrillo SK, Magliocco AM, Dort JC, Brockton NT: The prognostic impact of a combined carbonic anhydrase IX and Ki67 signature in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Br J Cancer 2013; 109(7):1859-66, PubMed ID 24008660.

Bose P, Dort JC, Brockton NT: Identifying the stromal cell type that contributes to tumor aggressiveness associated with carbonic anhydrase IX. Cell Cycle 2013; 12(16):2535-6, PubMed ID 23907133.

Lysack JT, Hoy M, Hudon ME, Nakoneshny SC, Chandarana SP, Matthews TW, Dort JC: Impact of neuroradiologist second opinion on staging and management of head and neck cancer. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2013; 42:39, PubMed ID 23739037.

Bose P, Brockton NT, Dort JC: Head and neck cancer: From anatomy to biology. Int J Cancer 2013; 133(9):2013-23, PubMed ID 23417723.

Yeung JK, Harrop R, McCreary O, Leung LT, Hirani N, McKenzie D, de Haas V, Matthews TW, Nakoneshny S, Dort JC, Schrag C: Delayed mobilization after microsurgical reconstruction: An independent risk factor for pneumonia. Laryngoscope 2013; 123(12):2996-3000, PubMed ID 23754486.

Deutschmann MW, McDonough A, Dort JC, Dort E, Nakoneshny S, Matthews TW: Fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES): Predictor of swallowing-related complications in the head and neck cancer population. Head Neck 2013; 35(7):974-9, PubMed ID 22730220.

Li Y, Bai S, Carroll W, Dayan D, Dort JC, Heller K, Jour G, Lau H, Penner C, Prystowsky M, Rosenthal E, Schlecht NF, Smith RV, Urken M, Vered M, Wang B, Wenig B, Negassa A, Brandwein-Gensler M: Validation of the risk model: High-risk classification and tumor pattern of invasion predict outcome for patients with low-stage oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Head Neck Pathol 2013; 7(3):211-23, PubMed ID 23250819.

Bose P, Klimowicz AC, Kornaga E, Petrillo SK, Matthews TW, Chandarana S, Magliocco AM, Brockton NT, Dort JC: Bax expression measured by AQUAnalysis is an independent prognostic marker in oral squamous cell carcinoma. BMC Cancer 2012; 12:332, PubMed ID 22852863.

Klimowicz AC, Bose P, Nakoneshny SC, Dean M, Huang L, Chandarana S, Magliocco AM, Matthews TW, Brockton NT, Dort JC: Basal Ki67 expression measured by digital image analysis is optimal for prognostication in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Eur J Cancer 2012; 48(14):2166-74, PubMed ID 22892062.

Doherty C, Nakoneshny SC, Harrop AR, Matthews TW, Schrag C, McKenzie DC, De Haas W, Davis RB, Dort JC: A standardized operative team for major head and neck cancer ablation and reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg 2012; 130(1):82-8, PubMed ID 22743875.

Brockton NT, Klimowicz AC, Bose P, Petrillo SK, Konno M, Rudmik L, Dean M, Nakoneshny SC, Matthews TW, Chandarana S, Lau HY, Magliocco AM, Dort JC: High stromal carbonic anhydrase IX expression is associated with nodal metastasis and decreased survival in patients with surgically-treated oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Oral Oncol 2012; 48(7):615-22, PubMed ID 22366443.

McIntyre JB, Bose P, Klimowicz AC, Brockton NT, Petrillo S, Matthews W, Easaw J, Magliocco A, Dort JC: Specific and sensitive hydrolysis probe-based real-time PCR detection of epidermal growth factor receptor variant III in oral squamous cell carcinoma. PLoS One 2012; 7(2):e31723, PubMed ID 22359620.

Walen SG, Rudmik LR, Dixon E, Matthews TW, Nakoneshny SC, Dort JC: The utility of the harmonic scalpel in selective neck dissection: A prospective, randomized trial. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011; 144(6):894-9. Cited in Faculty of 1000 Post-publication Peer Review, PubMed ID 21493266.

Cho JJ, Anand V, Rudmik L, Lysack JT, Dort JC: Impact of newer generation multidetector computed tomography on the diagnosis of abscesses in the head and neck. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011; 40(4):337-342, PubMed ID 21777553.

Brockton N, Dort J, Lau H, Hao D, Brar S, Klimowicz A, Petrillo S, Diaz R, Doll C, Magliocco A: High stromal carbonic anhydrase IX expression is associated with decreased survival in p16-negative head & neck tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2011; 80(1):249-57, PubMed ID 21300470.

Everett JB, Falck VG, Dort JC, Matthews TW: Mandibular pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia following treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011; 40(1):E1-4, PubMed ID 21303592.

Rudmik L, Lau HY, Matthews TW, Bosch JD, Kloiber R, Molnar CP, Dort JC: Clinical utility of PET-CT in the evaluation of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with an unknown primary: A prospective clinical trial. Head Neck 2011; 33(7):935-940, PubMed ID 21674668.