To celebrate our providers and the amazing work they do in our community, we are showcasing their spectacular lives inside and outside of the office.
We are honored to announce that David Hong, MD is our May 2019 Provider of the Month! Dr. Hong has been with Southeast Radiation Oncology Group since January of this year and sees patients at Lancaster Radiation Therapy Center in Lancaster, South Carolina. We’re so glad to have you as part of our team, Dr. Hong!
Tell us about your family.
My mother was a nurse, which gave my parents the opportunity to emigrate from South Korea in the late 70s. I was born and raised in Orange County, California. My father owned and operated a diverse array of small businesses over the years. My older brother Justin is a physician at Penn State Health specialized in traumatic brain injury and rehabilitation. I attended medical school at UCLA and residency training at New York-Presbyterian. I met my wife Jini while she was doing an internship abroad in fabric design, far from her home in Seoul. Her brother, an old friend of mine, asked me to show her around the city, and we ended up married instead. We don’t have human children yet—we share our apartment with a cockapoo pup named BingBong (after our favorite character in Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out) and a cat we adopted named Smitty.
Are there any other interesting facts about you that you would like to share?
My dad Jason is quite the Renaissance man who was always working on something so I was blessed to have had a somewhat unorthodox childhood. My parents rarely looked at my grades and encouraged me to do anything I was interested in. My dad had me become a licensed ham radio operator when I was young and I remember slowly talking to random strangers via Morse code and repeater stations. He wouldn’t let me drive until I had explained the inner workings of our Toyota from the cylinder to the wheels to his satisfaction. Over the years, together with my father I’ve helped build and/or restore a composite aircraft (a Rutan Long-EZ), a gyrocopter, as well as my beloved 1961 Volkswagen Transporter, which I’d love to bring out to the Carolinas.
What inspired you to choose your specialty?
There is a finite list of medical specialties, so I read about every single one of them during my first few months of medical school. It took me a while, but when I made my way to the “R” section, I immediately sensed that radiation oncology was an ideal match for my skillset and personality. I have always enjoyed technical discussions and complex analysis and had a significant scholarly background and developed interest in ecology and evolutionary biology which is fairly relatable to oncologic concepts. I spent the rest of medical school trying to find another specialty I would prefer to do more, but ultimately chose radiation oncology because I enjoy being an expert and developing the variety of relationships you’re able to have in cancer care, both with patients and other health care professionals. I feel blessed to so thoroughly enjoy what I do for a living.
What was your first job?
Growing up I spent a lot of time stocking shelves, price tagging and tearing down cardboard boxes at a convenience store we owned. In junior high I invested in a CD copier and started making mixes for other kids and was the first to market in my school and neighborhood. I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school delivering furniture in South Central Los Angeles for my dad. The year after I did an internship with Boeing doing database programming as at the time I wanted to be a computer scientist. My first real job was in college where I worked for my university fixing computers in exchange for room and board.
Do you have a favorite movie, TV series or book series?
I’m an avid reader and don’t watch much television. My favorite novel is Dune, an old science fiction novel/series published in the 60s. It’s basically sci-fi Hamlet, but it touches on themes of humanity, power and ecology in a way that is entertaining and universal. I spent this past weekend thumbing through The Essential Calvin and Hobbes which is a collection of my all-time favorite comic strip, and the most recent book I read is a cookbook called Run Fast. East Slow. by Olympian Shalane Flanagan in an attempt to up my cooking game.