Joseph Chang, M.D.
What attracted you to gastroenterology?
During residency, I soon realized that the GI system seems to be the proverbial "eye into the soul of the human body." It seemed that almost every clinical disease or syndrome has GI manifestations. I found this to be very appealing and, in conjunction with the opportunity to have a balance with procedures such as endoscopy, found the field to be irresistible.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
Mayo Clinic has established itself as a leader in medicine and particularly in the field of Gastroenterology and Hepatology with a clear commitment to excellence in the areas of research, education and clinical practice. It was clear to me early on that the mission of "placing the interests of the patient first" has been accomplished in multiple avenues including an effective and efficient multidisciplinary approach to patient care; advanced and innovative facilities; and a dedication to a scholarly environment for advancing research and education. I knew that all of these factors would not only ensure that I provide the best patient care possible, but also maximize my personal development and education.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology Fellowship unique?
The program is specifically designed to not only provide excellent clinical training but, more importantly, has established itself as a center that fosters the development and success of academic gastroenterologists. Clinical training is both through direct interactions and teachings with many of the leaders in the field, as well as through daily didactic conferences that cover topics that range from the basic sciences to recent clinical developments. Academic development is fostered and developed with a dedicated 12-month period of time in which fellows focus on research projects from development to publication. This is truly a rarity in terms of training and, as many of these projects result in publications in prominent journals, is really an indication of the dedication to the development of academic gastroenterologists.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
To be quite honest, I have been surprised by the level of support that is provided to fellows. I did residency at Mayo and had an idea about the level of support and opportunities provided to trainees, but really never expected the level I receive now as a fellow. There seems to be an emphasis on maximizing my time and opportunities for education, research, and patient care. It is clear to me that the goal is for my development as an excellent gastroenterologist, and not just for me to "get work done."
What is living in Rochester like for you?
Rochester has been truly a fantastic place to live both during residency and now for fellowship. As someone who grew up in Southern California and did medical training in a major metropolitan city, I believe Rochester provides the benefits of city life without the headaches. Affordable living and great outdoor activities, combined with the near absence of traffic or crime, makes it ideal for anyone. For those who want a change of pace, the Twin Cities is nearby, and the Rochester International Airport connects to the major hubs of Minneapolis and Chicago.
What does your future look like right now?
I believe that my future could not look brighter right now. I am well on my path in becoming an excellent gastroenterologist, both as a clinician as well as academician. It certainly would be nice to stay with the Mayo family, but I know that wherever I may go in the future, my training here will help to ensure my success.