About Agnes

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I came to North America at 18.  Professionally, I am a physician-scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children and a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada. I have worked in the healthcare system and academia for over three decades. I have also held many leadership positions, with all their joys, trials, & tribulations.

Several years ago, I decided to do something different by becoming a Zen chaplain. This path leads me to realize spirituality’s importance in actualizing our full potential. Spirituality pertains to meaning, purpose, and our connectedness to the moment, ourselves, others, nature, and the significant or sacred. I now focus on training healthcare professionals in cultivating compassion, moral resilience, contemplative practice, and systems thinking. I hope to share what I have learned so we can all serve others more skillfully while living a flourishing life.

Encountering Zen also leads me to explore and express my creativity through poetry, photography, painting, writing, and translating. They have helped me experience balance, new perspectives, and harmony in my life.


I graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in Biology and Psychology. I then immigrated to Canada and received a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from McGill University in Montreal. Subsequently, I underwent residency training in Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto. I then completed a fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, where I also earned a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Neuroscience. This was followed by a combined research and clinical fellowship in Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Doctor Agnes Wong - Leaves

Professional and Academic Experience

I am currently Professor of Ophthal-mology, Neurology, and Psychology at the University of Toronto, and an active staff Ophthalmologist and Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children. I am the former Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at The Hospital for Sick Children and the former Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, where I held the inaugural John & Melinda Thompson Chair in Vision Neuroscience for a decade. In my career as a physician-scientist, I have published over 120 academic peer-reviewed papers in Ophthalmology and vision sciences and have held many prestigious research grants. I have travelled widely as a visiting professor and invited speaker, and have won many research and teaching awards.

Experience Outside Medicine

I received lay ordination as a chaplain, empowerment to teach as a Hoshi/dharma holder, and later ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage from Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Abbott of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. I am a lead faculty of the Mindfulness & Compassion Training for Health and End-of-Life Care Professionals program at the Sarana Institute in Toronto. I give talks and run workshops for many professional organizations, universities, and hospitals worldwide to enhance the skills of healthcare professionals in mindfulness, compassion, and systems thinking. In addition, I serve as a mentor for the students in the Upaya chaplaincy training program. 

Doctor Agnes Wong - Sitting on the Dock
Literary and Artistic Work

I learned that in Zen, there is a deep appreciation of conveying what is inexpressible through art. To this end, my literary and artistic work includes haiku poetry, photography, and translating ancient Chinese philosophical classics (e.g., the Tao Te Ching). My work speaks to love, loss, vulnerability, healing, femininity, and spirituality—important dimensions of human existence that are often unacknowledged in our modern busy lives.

Personal Life

I am married to Bill Webb, President and Co-Founder of the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club. We have two sons, James and Stephen, who are avid rugby players. For recreation, I enjoy hiking, travelling, and Tai Chi.

My Academic CV

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