Heath H. Chung, M.D.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
The spectrum of infectious diseases seen in our fellowship is broad as a result of the numerous specialties here. We have a large solid organ transplant program and bone marrow transplant program, which provides a great experience with immunocompromised hosts.
The infectious disease fellowship is structured in sub-specialty blocks where the fellows rotate on the general infectious diseases service, orthopedic infectious diseases, transplant infectious diseases, hematology/oncology, bone marrow transplant infectious diseases, and critical care infectious diseases. This organizational structure allows for focused study, solidifying learning in that particular field as opposed to other programs that use the traditional normal host/immunocompromised host structure.
In addition, the Federal Medical Center's (FMC) HIV clinic provides experience in advanced HIV management in highly treatment experienced patients. Many of our FMC patients are co-infected with viral hepatitis, which gives fellows experience in managing complicated patients.
The research opportunities are remarkable in that trainees have access to experts, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields. My research in infective endocarditis is being mentored by the authors of the American Heart guidelines in infective endocarditis. I have the unique opportunity to work alongside leaders in this field.
Mayo Clinic's clinical research is well supported with educational opportunities for trainees to pursue degrees in clinical research through the CRTP (Clinical Research Training Program). CRTP includes structured classes on clinical epidemiological research methods, biostatistics, medical ethics, and translational research, to name a few. Many fellowship programs offer financial support for the pursuit of these degrees.
Fellows within infectious diseases are encouraged and financially supported to take the Denver TB course at National Jewish in Colorado. Attendance at society meetings are covered when presenting your research as is specialty board review. Mayo Clinic is very supportive of its fellows, providing opportunities for professional networking, research collaboration, and personal educational enrichment.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
My wife and children have grown to love Rochester. It has many of the benefits of a larger city without the crime or congestion. The schools here are excellent and for younger children, there are numerous day care centers that have very flexible hours. We have made many friends with families at the same point in their lives as we are and my wife, who is not in medicine, has found a great social network of other parents to get together with.
The Mayo Fellows' Association provides a great network of families for us to socialize with at its numerous functions. Mayo Clinic really caters to its trainees, providing a strong social network for new people to Rochester. My wife participates in her running/Triathlon group, has chaired the Mayo Families' Christmas Tree Project committee for the Hiawatha Foundation, and has even started her own small business in our short three years here. I can say without a doubt that Rochester was the perfect place for me to move my family while I complete my medical training. Mayo clinic provides excellent support for spouses and children so that the trainee can concentrate on their training and caring for patients.
What does your future look like right now?
I will be moving back to Hawaii to open a practice in infectious diseases. I will continue my connection to academics through the medical school and residency program at the University of Hawaii.