For December, we actually received a nomination! A fellow Resident of Dr. Ian Tin Yue Wong, PGY-1 Dermatology Resident, contacted us about Dr. Wong, nominating him for Humans of Residency. We were happy to accept it! The new Humans of Residency posters will be premiering in the new year—so keep your eye out!—and in the mean time, we were also happy to chat with Dr. Wong, known as “Chef Wongy” to some, for our December Resident Spotlight feature. Dr. Wong is a Resident, a trained pharmacist, and a chef—so be sure you’re not hungry as you start in on this read, because that last question sure has a delicious looking photo with it!
In 2016, you served as the Co-Chair of the UBC Students for Skin Cancer Awareness Network (SCAN), alongside your dermatologist mentor, Dr. Sunil Kalia. The club has presented to over 1,300 members of the community, through attending events such as the Nisga’a First Nation’s New Year Hobiyee Celebration in 2015, and setting up booths across community centres and presenting at secondary schools. Could you tell us about some of your experiences with the club, and the impressive public outreach that has been achieved?
The UBC Students for Skin Cancer Awareness Network (SCAN) Club is a team of committed UBC medical students and undergraduate student volunteers with a simple goal of making a significant presence within our community spreading sun safety and skin health awareness across all demographics in British Columbia.
Together with Paulina Piesik, club co-chair and UBC MD-PhD candidate, we brought our sun safety and skin health advocacy campaigns to a wide audience, from secondary school students in their Planning 10 classrooms, to young and senior community members at community recreational centers. The health education presentations equip the community members with a basic understanding of how to protect their skin from harmful UV rays through sun safety practices, knowledge of skin cancer, how to monitor their moles and promote the development of a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of their skin health. From 2015 to 2016, our incredible team presented to 10 secondary schools across the Lower Mainland in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and the North Shore to 35 classes of grade 10 secondary school students totaling approximately 1000 students. In addition, our team was invited to share with the Nisga’a community about skin health and skin cancer awareness at the Nisga’a First Nation’s New Year Hobiyee Celebration in February 2015 for which our team was grateful for the opportunity. Ultimately, our lasting success across the lower mainland is a testament to the dedication and hard work put forth by the club members working together towards a common goal.
Today, I know UBC SCAN is in very capable hands under the guidance of strong advocate leaders that also share the vision of the club’s founding members for a sun safe British Columbia. The club continues to grow and spread sun safety and skin health awareness across the lower mainland. My dermatologist mentor, Dr. Sunil Kalia, provided me valuable mentorship and was pivotal in supporting my journey towards my development as a pro-active advocate for skin health in my community. In the future, I hope to continue to nurture the next generation of young leaders in BC, as Dr. Kalia did for me, and provide mentorship and instill enthusiasm from the grassroots level and up.
Your outreach includes rural communities, as well as writing for articles addressing commonly asked questions from patients and the public. You’ve given a presentation in the district of Chetwynd on “Managing Atopic Dermatitis” for health care professionals, and have had your work published in Canadian Skin, a publication of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance. That is quite a wide audience! What inspired you to be so involved with communities; from local ones during your time with the UBC Skin Cancer Awareness Network, to rural districts such as Chetwynd, as well as the online world?
I am firm believer that there should be no barriers to skin education. I believe that readily available skin education is paramount in equipping patients with the personal tools needed to be responsible and active participants in their skin health. For example, as mentioned, I developed and successfully piloted an education session for health professionals in the rural community of Chetwynd, B.C with Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis. This session evolved into a model through which the Eczema Society of Canada can provide rural communities across Canada with access to skin expertise. The lasting positive impact of skin education on a community from generation to generation is what inspires me to continue to engage in skin health promotion. Leading by example and action, I am committed towards skin health literacy and advocacy for Canadians impacted by skin diseases in our local community and across the country as a community health ambassador during residency and practice.
In addition to being a dermatology resident, you are also a trained pharmacist, and have published the Canadian Guidelines on Eczema treatment for pharmacists. What has your experience been like training to be a pharmacist and a doctor?
I have found my background as a pharmacist and my current training as a dermatology resident doctor to be synergistic and key for me to help my patients and the skin patient community at large to achieve optimal health outcomes. Through the UBC Pharmacy program, I developed an expertise in drug therapy. Through UBC Medicine and residency, I continue to grow as a diagnostician. By integrating my understanding of disease pathology and pharmacotherapy, I have been able to help my patients understand their disease and their medications empowering them to be knowledgeable advocates for their own health. As a physician with pharmacy training, I have a profound appreciation for the immense positive impact that collaborative interdisciplinary care can have for patient care. Through the Canadian Guidelines on Eczema treatment for pharmacists (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5582672/), I aim to lead by example and demonstrate that a collaborative relationship between physicians, pharmacists and other allied health can help our patients achieve the best care possible. From pharmacy to medical residency and into my future dermatology practice, my career goal remains unchanged. I will continue to work towards making positive change in the lives of my patients and the skin patient community across Canada.
We’ve been told that you are known as “Chef Wongy” amongst your graduating class due to your love of cooking. You run your own cooking website (http://www.chefwongy.com/main/), and host dinners with fellow residents to enjoy a home cooked meal and make them feel welcome within the West Coast resident family. When did your passion for cooking start, and what are your plans for it for the future?
Growing up, I was allowed to purchase either the Food Network TV channel or the Discovery Channel. I chose the Food Network. Back then, the Food Network featured shows that taught the audience the basics of cooking from knife skills, a variety of culinary techniques, and principles of protein selection to the art of plating. As a child, my heroes were TV chefs, like Emeril Lagasse, because they created meals that brought people from all walks of life together at a single dinner table as a family. Fast forward to today, I continue to hone my craft in the kitchen building upon my own training through the School of Food Network TV. My love for cooking has complemented my love for teaching. Through my website, I teach culinary principles and terminology to my viewers, and prepare visual step-by-step cooking guides. Perhaps one day, I will take my hobby to the next level and start a YouTube cooking channel inviting my co-resident colleagues to star as guest chefs.
And lastly, following the previous question… what is your personal favourite dish to prepare?
My all-time favourite dish to cook is crispy pork belly kimchi fried rice (Recipe found here). The sizzling sound of pork belly crackling over the stove and the aromas of onion, garlic and fried kimchi steaming through the kitchen air will undoubtedly awaken your senses. Finally, I top off the dish with a perfectly golden sunny-side up egg. Taking a bite with all the components together, the rich, velvety egg yolk will balance the spicy kimchi and pork belly. I cannot think of another dish that personifies umami better for me.
Connect with Dr. Ian Tin Yue Wong on: