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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Joseph Kim

January 16, 2020 / in Our people / by UK HealthCare

Dr. Joseph Kim, chief of surgical oncology at the Markey Cancer Center, has practiced medicine all over the country, working and living in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbia, Mo., Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York – and now, we’re thrilled that he has joined us right here in the Bluegrass. 

In addition to living all over the country, Dr. Kim is a life-long travel enthusiast, so we recently caught up with him about some of the favorite places he has visited.

What do you love about traveling? How has it impacted your career as a physician?

Traveling requires an open mind. You see and meet different people and experience different cultures – in very much the same way, this happens during the patient encounter. You never know who you will see in clinic  – like travel – you have to be open and prepared for all the different possibilities. You have to be respectful for the life that each patient has lived and the culture they have come from and experiences they have had. I really believe traveling helps you with that.

Tell us about some of your favorite trips.

One of my all-time favorite trips was backpacking through Europe with my college roommates right after graduating from Northwestern. Prague, in the Czech Republic, is one of the prettiest cities that I visited, and one of my life-lasting memories is sailing through the fjords in Norway. One of my craziest memories from the trip was sleeping on a rooftop on the island of Crete. 

I consider myself a foodie, so that’s important for the places where I travel. For example, it has been quite amazing to have pastries in Paris, handmade pasta in Florence and Rome, and sushi in Tokyo. Every place I go, I love to try the local food.

Another of my memorable trips was going to Nigeria. I was actually robbed by airport security, but since one of my patients in the country had a high profile, my travel party had a security detail of three to four guards with AK-47s. My trip was also part of a medical mission, so our group was able to teach Nigerian physicians about Western surgical techniques. 

How do you fit traveling into your busy schedule now?

Good time management is the key. I perform academic work for the government, so I travel to Washington, D.C., several times a year, and every year I attend cancer meetings in San Francisco, Chicago, and other major cities.  

How does Lexington compare to other places you’ve been?

Lexington offers everything that I need in my life right now. The community, academics and especially the Big Blue Nation, which is something I’ve never experienced before, and it’s fantastic. It’s one of the highlights of working at UK – something that’s in the spirit and soul of everyone here. I’m proud to be part of it.


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