Chapter 19: Stepping Down as Chair; Accomplishments in Perspective; A Sunday School Teacher

Title

Chapter 19: Stepping Down as Chair; Accomplishments in Perspective; A Sunday School Teacher

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Dr. Yung begins this chapter by sketching the activities he will focus on after stepping down as chair. He next says that he is gratified to see how the Department has grown under his leadership, particularly in the areas of research and psychiatry. He talks about initiatives that have not advanced sufficiently, notable training of physician-scientists and providing a culture for their success. He shares what he would like the department to achieve in the next ten years, notably advances in brain metastasis. Finally, Dr. Yung talks about teaching adult "Sunday school" classes at his church, where he trains the next generation of church leaders. Dr. Yung says that his own faith enters into his work with patients, whom he encourages to have hope.

Identifier

YungWKA_04_20140707_C19

Publication Date

7-7-2014

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - View on Career and Accomplishments; Career and Accomplishments; MD Anderson in the Future; Faith, Values, Beliefs; Faith; Critical Perspectives; Leadership; Mentoring; On Research and Researchers; Personal Background

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interesting. Well I have just you know a few tidying up kinds of questions and then I’ll be done and I’ll you know want to ask you if you have anything to add. But I wanted to kind of get you to reflect a little bit on --- First of all, you’re stepping down as Chair. What are you going to be really focusing your attention on when that administrative piece is off your desk?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

:0Well, I mean I started a couple --- you know a couple of national projects, NBTS, ______ () projects externally. Internally, I will continue to promote the --- the --- the brain tumor research effort in the umbrella facet of the Brain Tumor Center and the --- the Moon Shot program. Before that though so --- that I will work with the new chair to help support the new chair to work on the --- to internally work on the brain Moon Shot, to support him and make sure that we are on the right track.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And when you kind of look back at your administrative role, what --- what are you very gratified to have set in place during that time?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Well, I --- I’m gratified to see how the department grew and how we maintain our you know different groups, are able to really grow in the area of brain tumor research, the area of cancer neurology and psychology. You know I think I’m gratified to see that the groups grow and work together well. I’m gratified to see that we work well with our neurosurgeons to strengthen our Brain Tumor Center. You know we grow and get these programs to be an example of a successful program among --- within the institution. I mean, on the other hand I think you know I could have done better in the --- especially in the level of mentorship and --- and helped in grooming the next level. I think we have not trained enough physician scientists which is one thing that I know.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

:2What do you think are --- How do you see the challenges to doing that? I mean I’ve --- I’ve heard a number of people mention how difficult it is to do that.

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

It’s difficult. You know we also need a mindset --- mindset change within the institution because it --- it needs some culture shift in allowing the concept of physician scientists. How to support and how do we utilize institution support to foster physicians to spend time in the research lab? You know and that requires institution policy because --- mainly because where we are in Texas and where are not being a full-fledged medical school, it’s a different environment than institution like Harvard Medical, you know, Johns Hopkins or Stanford or University of California. They have a different --- They already have a well set up mechanism of grooming physician scientists and we don’t. We need to create that.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What are your big hopes for the Department of Neuro-Oncology in the future? You indicated some of it, but you know how would you define where you would like it to be in say 10 years?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

We are in --- the --- the place that you know the brain tumor patients will come to. We are the place that discovered the new treatment for brain tumor patients and the new science. We’re the leader in terms of new thinking for this disease. I think the department also has a lot of room to grow and to attack the issue of brain metastasis not just find new tumor and we should be a participant or leader in conquering the issue of brain metastasis.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So that is an under --- that --- that area has not really been looked at? Is that what you’re suggesting?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

The area is now beginning to look at but it’s just the beginning. It’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s a big --- It’s a big problem.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Really? Why has that been a neglected area?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

:1Well, a neglected area because it’s difficult. It’s very diff --- you know a very halogenous issue. Metastasis from lung cancer, metastasis from brain, from breast cancer are not the same and so we stay in the level --- because they are not the same. So it has been stayed in the level of just radiation therapy with physical force but now with better understanding about it. We are beginning to say, “Gee, we cannot win just by radiation only.” We have to do more than radiation and that’s where the science and treatment are going to meet. It’s ready to be --- to be you know explored and deployed. I think we can play a role here in this institution because of the number of patients that we have.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I want to ask you a kind of odd question, which is what do you do in your free time?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Oh! I don’t know yet. My wife asks me a lot. I’m going to see my grandchildren. Or I may not have that much free time.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I kind of thought you might say that.

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

But as much as I have, I will continue to teach Sunday School and go to see my grandchildren.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So you teach Sunday School? That’s very nice. How long have you done that?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Oh, for years.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Really? And why have you done that? Why s --- Why teaching Sunday School? Of all the things you could with your free time?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

I like teaching Sunday School because I mean I sort of like to train the next level of, you know, church leaders.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What is the age group that you teach?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

I teach --- I --- I teach you know the 40s and 50s or 30s --- the --- the --- the middle adult.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interesting! So, leadership training?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Yes.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interesting. I mean what --- what kinds of things do you talk about in that? How do you train that next generation of church leaders?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Well, I --- I have a co-teacher work with me together in the last few years so we you know thought --- the way to make church leader is --- Today, the most important thing for people is to really look at their belief, their faith seriously. And for a church to grow it has to grow solidly in their faith and what they believe. They need to know what they believe. They need to know who that God that they believe. Not just cavalier and say well “I’m a Christian, I’m a Catholic, I’m a Buddhist.” But what does it mean?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So self-knowledge?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Yeah. It’s a real foundation of your belief.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Is that a process that you feel you’ve gone through yourself?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Yeah, I have. I spent a lot of time in reading books and --- and think about the --- the --- the God and the constant. Who is God? Why do you believe in God? What is required where you believe in God? What kind of, you know, behavior or living?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Is there a meeting place between the work you do here at MD Anderson and your faith?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Yeah. I use it. It --- It appears all the time in my interactions with patients.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

How so?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

How I encourage them. You know how we look --- look at the battle that you’re fighting together with conquering the disease or the daily --- daily trepidations up and down that patient goes through.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

A lot of ministering. Absolutely.

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Psychology. Mostly it’s encouragement.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well, is there anything else that you would like to add Dr. Yung at this point?

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

No. I think we had very fruitful sessions so I think if I look at the transcripts and there is anything else comes up I will let you know.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Okay, do! Yeah, sure. That would be great. Well I thank you very much for the time and I’ve really enjoyed talking to you.

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

I’ve enjoyed talking to you, too.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Thanks very much.

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD:

Great. Okay.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I’m turning off the recorder at about 17 minutes after 4.

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Chapter 19: Stepping Down as Chair; Accomplishments in Perspective; A Sunday School Teacher

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