Theodore Wun, M.D, F.A.C.P.
Who is Dr. Wun?
Dr. Theodore Wun is the Associate Dean for Research at UC Davis. He is a first-generation citizen of a Chinese immigrant parents. Although, he was born in Stockton, he grew in the bay area. He specializes in gastroenterology and is also a hematologist oncologist with his research specialty being in population research. As a part of UC Davis, he acted as a member of the of its admissions committee until he obtained his current position as a dean.
What is the number one burnout specialty in the medical field?
Being an emergency medical physician is the number one burnout specialty in medicine. Although Dr. Wun is still active at UC Davis in his dean’s position, his wife is retired after practicing 25 years as an emergency medical physician at Kaiser.
What training does a person need to receive before they become a doctor?
Becoming a doctor starts with 3-4 years of medical school. Though this typically starts with schoolwork, as of recently, potential doctors are now seeing patients frequently as a part of their introductory medical curriculum. After the first two years of med school, a potential doctor goes into what is referred to as a clinical clerkship. During a person’s third year, they decide which route of medicine they want to take. During their fourth year is when they choose a broad field of medicine that they wish to pursue.
After medical school comes a residency. Which residency program a doctor end up in is determined by “The Match” where doctors rank the top programs they wish to attend and where the programs rank which students they want to attend their program. If a match is hit, then that student attends that specific program. Most residency programs last three years with their first year of residency being referred to as their post-graduate/PG-1 year or their intern year and it is during your residency where you receive they receive their core training. It is when they want to specialize even further where they apply for a fellowship. Certain sub-specialties will also require doctors to take a qualification exam every ten years.
How is a nurse practitioner different from a nurse?
A nurse practitioner is essentially the hybrid of a nurse and a physician. Unlike nurses, nurse practitioners can legally diagnose someone with a specific illness. They can also do other things that a regular physician can, but they still need to be loosely overlooked by a physician. This practice seems to be changing, however, with some nurse practitioners now able to do certain things that a normal physician would do without being overlooked by one. Though some of the things that a nurse practitioner does is the same as a regular physician, becoming a nurse practitioner does not take as long as a becoming physician.
How has the field of cancer treatment changed since Dr. Wun started practicing medicine?
Since Dr. Wun started practicing medicine, the field of cancer treatment has changed remarkably. To quickly define what cancer is, it is an accumulation of tumor cells that can invade the immune system. A number of different therapies have originated in medicine that didn’t exist when Dr. Wun started practicing medicine which includes Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy. Targeted Therapy is the process of understanding the biological pathways that cancers take to cause damage and drugs are then used to target these pathways. Immunotherapy, however, is the process of using a patient’s immune system to fight off cancer. Immunotherapy seems to be one of the big things in cancer right now, but it may soon be overtaken by Cellular Therapy which is manipulating human genes to allow the human body to fight cancer off on its own. Dr. Wun’s hope is that all three of these therapy types will be used to treat future cases of cancers in patients.
Have Cancer survival rates increased since Dr. Wun started practicing medicine?
The overall survival rates of people with cancer has been on the rise. Leukemia, for example, is becoming more of a chronic disease instead of a potential killer as it has been. Nowadays, even though leukemia is a still a types of cancer that can kill people, people with it are now expected to live for decades despite it. In the past, a child diagnosed with leukemia only had a 50% survival rate; now, their survival rate has risen to 90%.
How has the cultural diversity of doctors changed in California over the years?
The cultural diversity amongst doctors in California has gradually been changing. This has partially been the result of outreach programs, such as COMPADRE, that are encouraging minorities to learn medicine so that they can help fight medical diseases in their communities. Another thing to look at is the gender gap amongst doctors. Today, 60% of the doctors at UC Davis are women.
How a person does in medical school will greatly affect how they do in their residency. Some schools will handout grades to their students while others will give out a simple “pass” or “fail.” The better a person does in medical school, the better off they will be when they apply for a competitive residency like orthopedic surgery. What also affects a person’s chance of getting into a good residency is also dependent on how well they do on two test: The USMLE, which is considered to be the SAT of medical school, and the MCAT. Why doing well on these tests is considered important is because if a person does well on these tests, they’ll do well on other types of tests in the future.
What is a “Multiple Mini-Exam/Interview (MMI)?”
This is essentially a role-play used by multiple schools, including UC Davis (UCD), to see how potential doctors do in a number of different medical scenarios. You are overseen by a “rater,” who may or may not be a medical personal, and they will determine how you do in each scenario. Why the MMI is considered important is because it is a better indicator of how well a person will perform as a doctor compared to the MCAT and similar test.
How hard is it for someone to get into medical school at UC Davis?
Dr. Wun indicated that it can be really difficult to get into medical school at UC Davis with only about 2.3-2.4% of applicants actually getting into the school. However, Dr. Wun also stated that a prospective medical school student still has a 40% chance of getting into a medical school if they apply to a good amount of schools.
How does UCD accepts its applicants?
UCD accepts its applicant be looking on a student’s prior school experience to see if they can keep up with a high course load. Two big indicators of this are GPA scores and the MCAT. This isn’t all, however; UCD also checks to see if a student has done volunteer work during their school career; not only does this indicate if a student can juggle multiple things at the same time, it also provides evidence that an applicant has the communal qualities that is essential to become an effective doctor.
Something that UCD definitely looks out for is leadership experience and how Dr. Wun defined leadership experience is as how well a person has done interacting with other in group activities. How a person describes these experiences in an interview also makes a difference. For example, UCD are less interested in hearing about the specifics made in a certain project compared to what the applicant did when the mistake arose.
As a researcher, how much time is put into patients as opposed to research
It varies from doctor to doctor. There are some doctors that don’t even see patients; they act more like a PhD than an MD. However, there are other doctors that see patients on a regular basis. On average, however, a research doctor will spend 20-30% of their time seeing patients and will spend the rest of their time performing research.
How does the resarch path verge from the typcial patient path.
The research path typically takes more time than the average medical path and is more competitive. Dr. Wun hinted that some programs could take an additional nine years not counting the clinical stuff.
What is the general advice would you give to general pre-med students?
Dr. Wun advised the club members to get a holistic school experience. More specifically, he advised students to get acquainted in multiple fields of interest, that may or not be related to medicine, while spending more time getting experience in one of them.
What is your average day like?
An average day for Dr. Wun, as stated by him, is “very highly variable” with a typical week having 50-60 hour of it dedicated to work. Surgeons, however, spend 60-70 hours at work.
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