It's hard to know where to start the story of Yoonseo (pronounced yoon-say-oh) "Ted" Choi who joined the LIFE program in 2017. A bright, ambitious young man from Los Osos High School, Ted never turns down an opportunity to learn, and enthusiastically shadowed Dr. Stanley Kim, M.D., an oncologist and hematologist in private practice, for two weeks during his LIFE opportunity. The experience of watching Dr. Kim work with chemo patients, providing high-level care and compassion, proved to be the planting of a seed that Ted continues to water. Medicine was calling his name. After graduation, Ted was accepted to Duke University where he got certified as a researcher and assisted in a study at the Duke Research Center for children with autism and ADHD. The study, as part of the National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence, looks at how to develop treatment options for kids with both autism and ADHD. He found the research "a lot of fun" and hopes to stay involved in research projects throughout his schooling.
If that weren't already impressive for a college Freshman, Ted then found an opportunity to do some medical missionary work with the Korean American Youth Adventist Missionary Movement (KAYAMM) over the summer break. Despite his fear of leaving the relative safety of the USA to work in an earth-quake-ridden, third world country, he took off to Dapcha, Nepal where he would work alongside doctors, nurses, dentists, and optometrists. Medical care in Dapcha is almost non-existent, giving Ted the rare chance to do some meaningful work.
Ted credits LIFE and his mission work in Nepal for cementing his decision to pursue medicine. For LIFE, shadowing an oncologist/hematologist was a great introduction to how a doctor works every day. Though the doctor he shadowed was semi-retired and had a large patient roster, he still tended to each person with diligence and care. It was through Dr. Kim, a private practice physician, that he was able to understand the dynamic between patient and doctor (and the importance of patient privacy)! Then, when he stood by the various doctors as they made their rounds in Nepal, the setting was less strange and unfamiliar.
Well said, young man! We know that one day we'll be calling him "Doctor Choi" and can't wait to see what he will do with the gifts of knowledge and compassion. We wish him success as he continues to find ways to serve and are glad that LIFE could be part of his journey.