Residency training program: General surgery, Los Angeles County USC Medical Center; Otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, Loma Linda University/ White Memorial Medical Center; Plastic and reconstructive surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital /Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary Program.
Specialty: Plastic and reconstructive surgery, aesthetic Surgery, otolaryngology, and head and neck surgery.
Host: The Emmy-winning TV show, “The Doctors”.
Private practice: In private practice in Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage, California; Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery and Plastic Surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine, and the Dartmouth Medical School.
What lead to your interest in the career in medicine? Who or what inspired you?
It was in my genes I guess. Madame Curie, Nobel Prize winner and world famous scientist, was my great aunt. I had great parental support and came from a family of physicians, psychologists, and scientists.
How did you prepare for the application process?
I was a biological sciences premed major at the University of California at Irvine. The UCI pre-medical staff and advisors were all great in guiding me in my curriculum, recommendations, and application process. As now, it was very competitive. Stay the course. Once in medical school , it gets a lot more interesting
If you participated in a special program such as research please describe your experience.
As an undergraduate I was involved in psychobiology research, specifically the neural substrate of classical conditioning. As a result I was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Grant.
Please describe related volunteer work or military experience that relates to your career.
My experience on "The Doctors," the Emmy-winning television show, over the past three years has opened many doors. One of the biggest doors it has opened is my opportunity to travel the world as a volunteer with charitable organizations. I traveled to India with Smile Train in 2010 performing cleft lip and palate procedures for a population that is in dire need of these services. The group of plastic surgeons I worked with in Beverly Hills have come together to form our own foundation, Surgical Friends Foundation. We have done a number of charitable cases both here and abroad going to such places as Haiti and Cambodia and performing reconstructive surgery on deserving patients domestically.
What obstacles or hurdles did you overcome in your medical journey?
To use an often used phrase, "It is not as much about where you are going, but more about the journey" and that is especially true when it comes to your medical school experience. Each day, each bit of knowledge, every patient contact all make up that journey.
Having finished medical school over 30 years ago, I now can appreciate that it truly is about the journey and the overall day-to-day experiences, which contribute to your medical education. Your education isn’t over when you get your diploma.
What makes your story unique?
It is the fact that I have a “combination career” of surgeon/informational talk show host. I feel blessed that my experience and background have had an impact on so many people here and abroad. But the two people in my life that I most wanted to influence are my son and daughter. And I am proud to say that they are both pursuing a career in medicine and surgery through American Medical Colleges.
I am in a unique position now. I wear several hats as both a TV talk show host and a plastic reconstructive surgeon. After 25 years of practice improving the quality of life of my patients, I am now impacting with my role as a physician to millions both here in the United States and in 22 countries abroad with our daily TV show.
What advice do you have for new applicants considering a career in medicine?
Be flexible. All U.S. medical schools are great and will prepare you well for your career. In the case of medical school at USC, I stayed relatively close to home. But for residency, I then moved to the East Coast where I practiced for 15 years after my training there. My advice is that changing environments for your training allows you a different perspective and a more well-rounded experience.
Do you have additional information or thoughts that would be helpful to prospective students?
Medicine may have changed and it is still changing, but in spite of that, it is the most rewarding career that somebody can pursue. Although it has been some 30 years since I went to medical school, I enjoy preparing for daily TV shows as I prepared for exams. The constant stimulation to learn and improve is one that lasts for a lifetime as a physician.