Jones came to UNCG as a graduate student in the master’s program in Biology after completing his bachelor’s degree at Guilford College. At UNCG, he worked with Dr. Robert Cannon and did his master’s thesis research under the direction of Dr. Steve Anderson, who was a molecular geneticist on UNCG’s faculty at that time. Jones was then accepted to the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill where he completed his M.D.
Jones did his residency training in General Surgery at the UNC School of Medicine and at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., and served in the Medical Corps as a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. From 2002-2006, he was on active duty with the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in the Medical Corps. During part of his time in the Navy, Sam was deployed to the Persian Gulf, and served as a general surgeon caring for 5,000 sailors on an aircraft carrier. He also served as a clinical instructor in trauma surgery at the UC San Francisco Medical Center in Fresno, California.
Jones returned to the UNC School of Medicine in 2006 to complete two fellowships in Surgical/Critical Care and Trauma/Burn Surgery. In 2008, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery/ Trauma/Critical Care/Burns and he became the Associate Director of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, a position he continues to hold. In 2012, he became Director of the Burn Intensive Care Unit. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Surgery in 2014.
Jones’ service as a physician to the State and to the nation has been extraordinary. In addition to his work as a trauma/critical care/burn surgeon, Jones has developed an NIH funded research program investigating the mechanism of increased susceptibility to bacterial infections in patients with inhalation injuries.
He has been an important mentor for medical students, residents, and fellows at the UNC-School of Medicine. In addition, he has actively mentored undergraduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill who are interested in medicine as a Faculty Preceptor for the UNC Carolina Covenant Program (Director of the Carolina Covenant Pre-Health Program), and for the Alpha Epsilon Delta Physician Shadowing Program. He has served (and continues to serve) on many national and regional organizations as well on UNC campus committees, including the American Burn Association, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, The North Carolina Committee on Trauma, The Nathan Womack Surgical Society, and the Carolina Black Caucus. At UNC, he has served on the UNC School of Medicine Professional Task Force Subcommittee on Admissions, the UNC School of Medicine Academy of Educators, the Student Promotions Committee, and the MD/PhD Advisory Committee.
Jones has returned to UNCG on a number of occasions to speak with students who want to become doctors. He tells of his personal journey to become a physician, and gives students a realistic view of what it takes to be a surgeon. He is also a triathlete who emphasizes to medical students and residents that it is essential to pay attention to themselves, their health, and their families if they want to be successful as physicians.