Resident Spotlights

Thuan Diep – Categorical Pediatric 3nd Year

  • Brief overview of your life: I was born in San Diego, CA as the firstborn to two Vietnamese refugees who fled from Vietnam following the Fall of Saigon. My family lived in a single-bedroom apartment in City Heights for much of my school-age years, and it wasn't until high school that I moved to the North County, ultimately graduating from Scripps Ranch HS. I attended college at UC San Diego, where I majored in Biochemistry & Cell Biology (and also where I met my wife!). I finally "left" home to attend medical school at UCLA, but I couldn't wait to get back to my roots in San Diego!
  • An interesting factoid about yourself: (or your past self): I was born right next door to Rady's at Sharp Mary Birch. And intern year is my first year not being in school since I was 4 years old.
  • Why you chose pediatrics: The people. It's not hard to want to help a child at any hour of the day, regardless of how many hours of sleep you got, as those buggers are the cutest, most innocent, and some of the most brilliant people I've ever been around. Kids aren't afraid to tell you like it is, and that's what makes every day in pediatrics fun and rewarding. Likewise, I found that pediatricians were hands-down the friendliest people I got to work with in medical school, so given the oftentimes long hours of our days as residents, why would anyone else not choose pediatrics??
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for you: Coming from a program with a pediatrics floor-within-a-hospital, I knew that I wanted to be at a large freestanding children's hospital, where ALL of the resources and attention are dedicated to kids 24/7. Likewise, I wanted to train at a place where I would be guaranteed to see and learn everything during residency, from the bread-and-butter, to the bizarre, medically-complex zebras. As the only standalone children's hospital in San Diego County and within a 75-mile radius, UCSD/Rady Children's offers just that. We not only take care of all of the children in San Diego, the 8th largest city in the US, but also many referral cases from the surrounding region. I know that when I graduate from the program, I'll be ready for any type of career, be it as a general pediatrician or a subspecialist, inpatient or outpatient, academic or private/community-based, locally or abroad. I also did a sub-I here during my 4th year of medical school and saw how happy everyone was, so that only helped to solidify my decision.
  • What you like doing in San Diego outside the hospital: I love how San Diego offers a little bit of everything that anyone could be looking for. Beach? Check. Mountains and snow? Check. Desert? Check. Want to get away? LA is close and can be done in a day (but get ready for much more traffic), and Vegas can be done in a weekend. As for San Diego, there are museums for the artsy, ballgames for the sports fans (go Chargers!), and amusement parks like the Zoo, Sea World, and Legoland for families. For me, one of the biggest draws has to be the food; from fine dining or hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop shops, there's an endless supply of great restaurants in the area. And NOWHERE does Mexican food quite like San Diego (other than Mexico, of course, which also isn't far away).
  • Your career plans: Coming into medicine, I envisioned myself as a primary care physician, as that was my only experience with doctors growing up. But throughout medical school (and thus far during residency), the exposure to hospital medicine and subspecialization has definitely opened my eyes to different avenues in medicine and pediatrics. So while I am still interested in primary care, I certainly won't close the door on subspecializing. As far as what subspecialty I might choose, only time will tell…

Solomon Greenberg – Combined Medicine-Pediatrics 3nd Year

  • Solomon Greenberg.jpgBrief overview of your life: I was born and raised in New York City--specifically in Queens, birthplace of such luminaries as 50 Cent and the New York Mets. I went to a tiny high school in Harlem, where I was part of the second-ever graduating class. I took my first big step west at 17, when I enrolled in the University of Chicago as a wee ickle pre-med German major. After graduating with a degree in cell and molecular biology (oops), I stayed at UChicago for med school and got involved with the Student National Medical Association. Now I've taken another giant step west, and here I am.
  • An interesting factoid about yourself (or your past self): I didn't have a driver's license until after I took Step 1; growing up in NYC and living in Chicago, it would actually have been a hindrance to own a car. So if you see someone in a blue Civic swerving around like a 16-year-old who's literally been driving for less than three months...that's me. Sorry.
  • Why you chose pediatrics: I'm actually med-peds. Couldn't decide by the AMCAS deadline so I just split the difference. No, just kidding (mostly). Honestly, I would feel incomplete as a physician if I couldn't take care of kids. I'm a firm believer in "the child is the father of the man"--what happens to us when we're young has lasting ramifications throughout our lives, and I want my training to reflect that.
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for you: As part of my med-peds training, I thought it was very important to see as many challenging pediatric cases as possible. I wanted to work at a tertiary care center without a safety net--the sickest kids in the region come here, and it's our job to fix them. How else will I get good at it? Maybe it's my inner New Yorker talking, but since I've been here I've been very pleasantly surprised by how friendly and down-to-earth everyone is. Everyone I've met, from tenured faculty members to stressed-out med students, is willing to teach and learn whenever the opportunity comes up.
  • What you like doing in San Diego outside the hospital: Sorry...there's an outside the hospital? Is it nice there? Do they have graham crackers in the call rooms? Just kidding again. (Again, only mostly.) Whatever you do here, do it outside. I've been spending my free time hiking, running, and just walking around exploring. It's super rewarding--the houses are beautiful, the weather is absurd, and every single storefront is either a craft brewery or a cool hipster tattoo parlor. I've also expanded my cooking game a little, mostly because of all the awesome farmers markets and nifty little produce stores.
  • Your career plans: I'm very interested in transitional care, which is just about the med-pedsiest thing in the world. I describe my favorite patient population as "sick kids who turn into sick adults," particularly specialty patients like kids with IBD, CF, and childhood cancer survivors. I'd really like my career to involve transitioning them from their pediatric specialists to their adult specialists, although I'm not sure what specific role I would have in that transition. I know that for the next four years my job is to learn as much as possible about taking care of them, and I can definitely see myself using that knowledge to teach my colleagues as a major part of my work. Stay tuned, I guess.         

Crystal Doan - Categorical Pediatric 2nd Year

  • Brief overview of your life: Born and raised in San Diego. Cookie cutter pre-med Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Went straight to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Saw the error of my ways and need for more sunshine during winters and happily matched at UCSD after during a Peds Neuro rotation at Rady's.
  • An interesting factoid about yourself (or your past self): My Spanish is much much better than my Vietnamese and Mandarin (sorry Mom and Dad).
  • Why you chose pediatrics (or med/peds): Are there any other specialties that expect you to dress up for Halloween? Pediatrics is overall a happy field, there is interesting complexity in giving simple anticipatory guidance (like all the brands of formula and breastfeeding tips) or managing kids with genetic syndromes with cardiac repairs and trach dependence. 
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for you: High volume of patients but the residents are not too exhausted to be interested in participating in conferences and learning on the wards. There are a lot of Spanish-speaking patients. People help out! My seniors are always offering to help with discharge summaries and the attendings are dedicated to teaching and innovation. I love the beautiful Southern California weather and beach without the LA county traffic. Living near my family and friends was a huge plus.
  • What you like doing in San Diego outside the hospital: Running along the beach, hiking in the Poway hills, downhill skiing (not much in San Diego but Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and flights to Salt Lake City are all very accessible), Restaurant Week, Cultural Festivals, Salsa and Swing Dancing, Comic-Con
  • Your career plans: General Pediatrics Primary Care with interested in complex care patients, perhaps a Masters in Medical Education in the future 

Jennifer Yang - Combined Pediatric Neurology 2nd Year

  • Brief overview of your life: I was born in a small town in Zhejiang, China. My family moved to Shanghai when I was two years old, then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was 7 years old where I experienced the meaning of real winter. My parents must have prophetically understood the term “winter is coming” because we moved to San Diego when I was 10 and my family has not left since. I did my undergrad at UC Berkeley (go Bears!) where I majored in molecular & cell biology (neurobiology concentration), and minored in English Lit. I studied abroad for a summer in England where I climbed chapel roofs at Cambridge and stood on the real Platform 9 3/4. After graduation, I worked in a clinical neuroscience lab at UCSD studying Alzheimer’s disease. I spent the last 4 years at UAB school of medicine in Birmingham, AL which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. However, I’m glad I’m back to California for residency because ultimately this is my home.
  • Interesting factoid about yourself (or past self): I’m a descendant of Confucius on my mom’s side. Crossing my fingers that some of the wisdom genes have not diluted in the last… 2000 years. 
  • Why you chose Peds Neuro: I never guessed that I would do pediatrics prior to med school, but I soon learned that taking care of children is a true privilege. There are few fields out there even in medicine where preventative medicine, working with families and advocating for their well-being can have lasting impacts on a patient’s life. Neuro is both the science of how our bodies work as a cohesive unit and an exploration of the various facets of the human experience. Combining the two was a no brainer… ;)
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for you: I loved my training at a free standing hospital at UAB, and wanted to be in a similar environment during residency. I also wanted to be somewhere that would be open to new ideas and willing to support resident endeavors without instilling a rigid hierarchal structure of learning. It was important to me that my co-residents, the faculty, and any potential future mentors had mutual respect and could discuss medicine and life in general as they are without any pretension.
  • What you like doing in San Diego and outside the hospital: On most days, I try to spend quality time with my family and friends in and outside of medicine. When I have more time, I mix music and try to stay active via running, yoga, swimming and not wasting my gym membership as well as attend local concerts/shows, and eating my way through SD which can take a while.
  • Your career plans: Pediatric neurology (not sure if I will do an additional fellowship) with special interests in advocacy, education and writing.

Iris (Pei-Shan) Lee - Categorical Pediatric 2nd Year

  • Brief Overview of your life: I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to the US when I was 7. I graduated from the University of Maryland with degrees in IT and Finance. I worked as a management consultant for a few years before heading to London for my MBA. I worked with pharmaceutical companies after business school for a few more years and had a change of heart. I completed my pre-med courses at Bryn Mawr. And here I am. Who knew!
  • An interesting factoid about yourself (or past self): I wanted to be an astronaut when I was in third grade. I went to space camp in middle school and it was awesome! Not sure how I strayed from that path (probably because math and science wasn't my forte in high school). Maybe it's not too late?  Another career change after residency possibly?
  • Why you chose Pediatrics: Babies, babies, babies! Do I need to say more?
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for you: I had always wanted to move to California having always lived on the East coast. Never made it out for college or business school for personal reasons and decided it is now time. I have been to San Diego before for work and really like the weather and city. In addition, I was looking for a medium size program that provided a supportive environment, patient diversity, and access to bread and butter as well as interesting cases. UCSD fits the bill!
  • What you like doing in San Diego and outside the hospital: Enjoying the weather and food with friends and co-residents! Reading sci-fi/fantasy, traveling, and cooking!
  • Your career plans: Must involve babies! Newborn or Neonatology. I am also hoping at one point to merge my previous career with the current one!

Jenny Koo – Recent Graduate

  • Jenny Koo.jpgBrief overview of your life: I was born in Hong Kong and came to the US at the age of 5.  My parents were always very supportive in terms of education but overall I come from a modest family background with no doctors in the extended family.  I grew up in Arcadia, CA and went to UCLA for undergrad studying Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, and I practically lived in a lab for the last two years of my college days doing bench research.  I came to UCSD for medical school!
  • An interesting factoid about yourself: I used to dance, a lot. I loved and still love dancing, but I'm super out of practice and I probably suck now (bugger). I did ballet first, then did a lot of contemporary, jazz, was in a hip hop team, and dabbled in some Latin ballroom dancing for a while.  Fun times :).
  • Why you chose pediatrics: Kids are so resilient and I truly feel like I am making a huge impact when I help and treat children.  Both acute care and preventative care mean so much to me with the pediatric population because of how many years they have ahead of them.  Moreover, I actually love working with families, even though I used to be scared of "dealing with parents."  I've learned to love working together with parents as a whole treatment team, as we are on the same side and wish the best for the child.
  • Why you chose UCSD and why it was the right choice for youI came here for med school and part of why I chose to pursue Pediatrics is because of how much I enjoyed my peds rotation as a third year medical student.  I didn't do great during that rotation (because I scheduled it as my very first rotation) but for the remainder of the year I didn't find myself quite as passionate about the other rotations as I had felt about peds.  Ironically, the runner up to pediatrics in my career planning was surgery.
  • What you like doing in San Diego outside the hospital: Be with my significant other, eating lots of food, trying to exercise, watching animated films and bawling because Pixar/Disney like to mess with my emotions.  I love to try anything and everything so I also dabble in various sports/activities! 
  • Your career plans: Neonatology.  I like higher acuity settings and I love procedures.