Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 8 - Page 30

AUTHOR Kathryn Vance



AUTHOR Kathryn Vance

The American Dream : we ’ re all familiar with the belief that everyone , regardless of where they were born or very humble beginnings , can achieve success in our country . Dr . Alexander Ding is the epitome of just that . Born in Germany , his parents brought him and his younger brother into the world while working in a family Chinese restaurant . They all immigrated to the U . S . when Dr . Ding was in grade school , first to Los Angeles and then settling in the San Francisco Bay Area . “ The place I consider my hometown is Cupertino , California ,” he said . “ At the time , no one knew where that place was . Now , it ’ s the default time zone on the new iPhone .”

Throughout school age years , Dr . Ding always had a curious nature . When it came time to enter college , medicine was an option but not a final decision . He attended the University of California , Berkeley and got his undergraduate degree in economics in 2002 .
“ I was pre-med , but I was so interested in economics because I thought it was an interesting way and framework in which you can look at all the things that are happening in the news and have it as a scaffolding to try and understand these things that are happening .”
After undergrad , he had a variety of jobs in the economic industry , most notably work with The Economist and a role as an analyst at Goldman Sachs . Staying busy , shortly after graduation he decided to go back to school to complete a combined five-year degree in public health at Berkeley and medicine at the University of California , San Francisco .
“ The work was hard , but I thought it was an interesting way to look at health from two different frameworks . Medicine , you ’ re basically looking at everyone as an individual , and everything you ’ re doing is for that person and that family . Public health has a very different lens and perspective , looking at populations and groups of people and how you best keep them healthy or address their health from this other perspective ,” he said . “ There are very different strategies and tools that you ’ d use to do one versus the other , but it all boils down to keeping people healthy .”
While he was in medical school , he did rotations at the VA in San Francisco where he met a young oncology nurse named Kimberly . The two hit it off and soon were inseparable . He finished his master ’ s in public health and his degree in medicine in 2007 and went on to do a one-year transitional medical and surgical internship at Stanford University ’ s teaching hospital , Santa Clara Valley Medical Center .
Next up was the Match and it would soon take both him and Kimberly away from their families , all the way across the country to Boston . Although he had every intention to stay in the Bay Area where he was comfortable , matching at Harvard ’ s Massachusetts General Hospital turned out to be a good thing . “ It ’ s the best forced thing that has ever happened to me . It really was a fantastic place , and a great experience and training .”
While he was a resident there , he joined the Navy Reserve as a medical officer , saying he felt it was his duty to give back to the country that gave his family so much .
“ I feel very blessed and successful here , so I feel like I owe a lot to this country . I ’ ve always looked for opportunities for service and to give back to this country and my community .”
For the next four years , he trained in diagnostic radiology before completing a fellowship , also at Mass Gen , in abdominal imaging and interventional radiology , rising quickly to the Chief Fellow role . Among them all , radiology stuck out to him due to interactions with almost every other specialty .